Weird Reaction During MRI?

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This is going to sound crazy but please, bear with me. I had my first brain MRI yesterday and the experience was something that I have had a hard time explaining. As you know, with each set of pictures taken, there are different pitches of hums and whirs. Well, initially, I noticed that I could almost feel certain areas of my brain being "targeted" by the sounds. As the MRI progressed, certain sounds became almost painful to various areas of my brain. Now, before I continue, I would like to say, I was wearing earplugs. I could hear the sounds (obviously) but they did NOT hurt my ears).

Although I was uncomfortable, I was also intrigued by the way my brain was reacting to the scan. In order to pass the time, I focused on the sounds of the machine and the areas of my brain that seemed to be reacting. Those areas changed with each sound. Toward the end of the MRI, things got a little scary. In the third from last set of pictures, my body started getting very warm, starting at my uterus (oddly enough). I felt almost a flattening and pulling-type feeling around the temples. It also felt like the right side of my face was being dragged downward. When I closed my eyes and tried to breathe through it, I immediately felt like I was turned onto my left side.

That lasted for about 3 minutes. The next set of pictures were ok, reverting back to how the rest of the scan felt, with only a specific area being targeted.

The last set of pictures truly scared me. Almost immediately, it felt like my frontal lobe was rolling, temple to temple: left to right and back again, repeatedly, and with increasing speed. Almost like a kneading motion. My eyes widened and became hyper-focused; I couldn't blink. My jaw tightened, my tongue pressed to the roof of my mouth, my fingers flexed, and my vision alternated between clear and blurry. I was very much aware of what was happening but had no control. This did not last for the entire duration of the last set of pictures. I was able to force myself to blink about 30 seconds before the MRI was completed. Once I blinked, I was able to regain control of everything else fairly quickly.

I'm sure all of this sounds pretty crazy but I have been researching since leaving the MRI yesterday morning and have been unable to find any information on experiences like mine. I had no sedation and am not claustrophobic. Today I have been unnaturally exhausted and have caught myself randomly falling asleep sitting up which is unusual for me. Please, have you heard of reactions like mine?

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Holy crap. I just felt that today, would you mind telling me a little bit more about your situation and if you found out what caused this. Please bear with me, I just wanna give some brief medical details and history to see if there’s some common ground.

    I’m a 24 year old mostly healthy male. About 6 years ago I had a nasty jaw fracture with some nerve damage around the chin. They put a little titanium plate and screws across my chin and also had a concussion from the trauma. It was painful, but the worst part was the indescribable pain and pressure running up my jaws, temple, ears and into my head. Took a few months to recover but ever since I’ve been “fine,” except for occasional migraines and mild to moderate pains whether its a clicking, popping, sharp, or stinging sensation, in my jaws, ears and maxillofacial area. But it’s never been something major. 

    That is until a few weeks ago. It began with pressure, intense migraines and swelling all over my jaws and glands. Now I’m getting this fogbrain and numbness and muscle weakness everywhere it’s crazy. I’m not saying I’m psychologically perfect, but it really feels like somethings going on with my spine/brain more than just headaches and stress. My joints are swollen and popping all over my body. You know the laundry list of “mystery symptoms.” I’ve been getting weird contractions all over my limbs and incredibly fatigued, and doing any simple thing with my hands like using silverware, brushing teeth, inserting an turning a key; simple but coordinated fundamental things, cognitive activities.

    Last few weeks I’ve gone to a few doctors. Did blood and urine test, all normal. Did a temporal jaw bone CT scan, normal. Spine X-rays fine. So two days ago I saw a neurologist and they suggested a spine and brain mri and nerve conduction test next week.

    I was able to schedule an MRI today Friday. I went in for a lumbar and cervical spine MRI. I’ve had mris before I had a knee surgery way back, and just had a CT scan a few days ago, no problems. 

    But today during that MRI I felt almost the exact same thing word for word. The different parts of the brain with each different sound and pop. You’re not crazy I know exactly what you felt. It’s insane. There was no pain just this crazy previously unfelt sensation. Immediately after I felt super foggy not really pain. It’s been about 6 hours now though and I just started feeling an intense constant migraine moving to all parts of the brain.

    I hope you’re in good health. I realize how scary these things can be and it doesn’t do any good when everyone around you, including doctors are you to just relax because you just can’t. I know it’s been 6 months since you posted but please is there anything you can share with me that can help me narrow down if we have anything in common or might help me have some better idea of what’s happenings. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Diego. I want to start by saying that I'm really sorry about everything you are having to deal with. My neurologist originally ordered an MRI because I have migraines and had started having issues with memory, expressive language, and motor coordination. It would seem that the only real symptom we have in common is the migraines. My MRI came back normal so, while my symptoms are still there, there's no apparent cause for them; at least not neurological.

      I did a lot of research after that MRI. My doctor was no help because it was like he didn't believe me. He looked at me as though I was crazy. The only theory I managed to develop was that, perhaps, the iron in the blood within my brain was reacting to the magnetism of the MRI. I was actually beginning to think I was crazy because no one had expressed having a similar experience!

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for the quick response, glad to know you’re ok. And has your situation gotten any better?

      I’m feeling better now. I couldn’t believe or describe what was happening it was such a weird experience. I told my parents they obviously thought I was crazy. Did you have another MRI since then? And any similar experience?

      I’m still waiting on these spine MRI results and next week I’m getting the brain mri/ct which I’m a little scared of I don’t know which it will be. It’s a completely different process mri is much more powerful.  And the nerve conduction study as well and now that you mention these metals I hope they reveal something.

       I’ve been doing so much research, I keep having mystery symptoms and performing easy motor function activities are difficult. Brushing teeth, using silverware, writing, typing, locking and unlocking doors with a key, anything. And all these sorts of clicks, pops, and wavelike sensations. I think I could have two things different  unrelated things affecting me. 

      But if you haven’t found any answers I suggest looking into inner ear can disorder causing vertigo/BPPV or something along those lines. It’s possible we have crystals in our ear and are experiencing some vertigo and dizziness, that’s why we feel off balance. I always feel some ringing and popping, and like a warm rush inside my ears. And certain head positions move the crystals around. One can balance the crystals doing certain movements like the Epley Maneuver, but with a professional. 

      If that doesn’t help, I suggest going to see a neurologist or whoever it is that specializes in neuroplasticity. And if you are a scientific person and believe in the power of science, and that something is “scientifically” wrong, and it’s not just a case of us being “stressed and emotionally damaged,” I recommend you watch a short 50 minute documentary film called The Brain That Changes Itself.

      The night after my neurologist visit just a few days ago, I decided to watch a movie to distract my mind. Searching on Netflix, nothing. I open Amazon Prime app on my tv and the first recommended film is this brain documentary. Life has a funny way of dropping things on your lap. 

      I had no idea what neuroplasticity was up until two days ago. I truly believe there are these neuron highways that are “congested” and we have to train our brain to send these signals using more efficient “routes.” Our brain might just need rewiring that is all. I really hope you watch it I think it could be the key to everything. They show these illustrations of the brain and it’s “road maps,” it really blew my mind. They show people with all these mystery sympots, including these migraine fog brain and poor congnitive fiction, and they’re diagnosed and treated. And it’s all sorts of different treatments, using thought, illusion, tricking your senses and brain, electrical stimulation. I can not recommend this enough. Even if my MRIs or ear or nerve tests reveal something I’m still gonna see a neuroplastician. 

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  • Posted


    This thread really fascinated me as I am trying to get a series of MRI scans to clear up some long-standing issues.

    Came across this

    "If you’ve ever gone for an MRI and been left feeling woozy, new research says you’re not just being a wuss: there’s an actual physical culprit behind that dizziness.

    "According to researchers at John’s Hopkins University, the magnet in MRI machines can stimulate the inner ear’s balance center, causing some patients to feel vertigo while they are inside the machine and in the minute or two after they’ve left it."

    "MRIs Make You Dizzy? Here’s Why"  

    Not exactly the same as your response, but perhaps evidence there can be other, stronger effects.

    Hope this helps.

    Moderator comment: I have removed the link(s) directing to site(s) as it's broken. If users want this information please use the Private Message service to request the details.

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    • Posted

      Not sure what happened with the link, but if you Google "MRIs Make You Dizzy? Here’s Why" (quotation marks included) the piece from Huffington Post should be the first hit.


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  • Posted

    Short answer is it happens. A lot of people may not know this but forcing someone to stay still for longer period of time can alone make a human go crazy.
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  • Posted

    Good to know I'm not nuts. Had an MRI today and felt quite odd during the 45 minutes. Closed MRI, no contrast. I thought I had gone to sleep during, I know that really sounds crazy. But my brain seemed to become very active, many thoughts racing almost faster than I could sort them out. Nothing bad or scary, just a very busy brain. As I dressed after, I felt very tired. I agree with another poster regarding iron in our bodies reacting. I did ask the technician why the machine made organ sounds and honking horns . He explained that very well, however, no way for me to regurgitate that detailed explanation. Good luck and health to all.

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  • Posted

    Wow! That is quite the experience! I thought mine was weird so I came looking as the nurses looked like they didn’t believe how sick I was. I found that with each different sound, I could see “with my eyes closed” different movement patterns in different colours. The first one was similar to a wave moving from right to left inside my head. It was a lot of dark purple and blues. It moved to the pattern of the sound. Another one was like a pinpoint light of yellow that burst into purple with some green. It also repeated the pattern of sounds. Each sound produced a different moving picture. I thought maybe I was creating this on my own so tried to stop it. I couldn’t. I felt a immense pressure and pulling in my brain! I also had a large rhythmic muscle twitch in my back that twitched to the beat of the sound. It was more unbearable as time went on. When it was over, I was disoriented, nauseous, unsteady on my feet and had a massive headache. I sat for about 20 minutes and would have sat longer but my thirst was intense. I also felt like I should drink and walk to get rid of this feeling. About 45 minutes after I had a ringing sound in my head. I hope I never need another. My family history is rampant with AD. 
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