Weird Reaction During MRI?

Posted , 38 users are following.

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?

1 like, 61 replies

61 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. 

    • 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!

    • 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. 

    • Posted

      It been over a week and a half since I had a cervical MRI and I also had a constant and severe feeling headache afterwards with confusion and disorientation. I am starting to feel like it will never go away. I also have a really hard time falling asleep at night now too. Did this ever go away for you and if so, how long did it take? I am having daily panic attacks because of this.

  • 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.

    • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Edited

    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. 
    • Posted

      I had a very similar experience. I recently went for a shoulder MRI for a labrum tear. I too would see colors and shapes dependent on the sound. Oddly enough it was also yellow points dissolving into purple blobs. That is pretty interesting that we both saw the same colors and the same shapes and order of the colors. I also had a twitch in my side that would follow the rhythm of the sounds from the MRI.

    • Edited

      YESSS!!! I felt like the same brain pulling thing! Like a fishhook pulling from the center of my brain with an intense pressure. I can't remember taking notice of any colors in particular though.

  • Posted

    Hi everyone,

    Im glad some one else out there has felt weird sensations. I have had a 1.5T MRI for my head neck area and a 3T MRI for a neck spine scan. I went through the first scan ok -no sensation at all. After a bit of research I believe it would be the radio frequency affecting an area of the brain that has nerves leading to another area of the body.

    My second MRI (spine and neck) made my heart rate increase and heart pull outwards away from my chest. Of course not a good feeling - spoke to the doctor and he didnt have an answer - he had not heard of that before so no help there only offered some sedation pills for the next round of MRIs. So next time i think ill be cheeky and ask the radiographer to decrease the radio frequency as last time it wasnt in sync with my heart rate! just glad theres been no deaths from these machines. mmm.

    • Posted

      That's exactly what happened to me last week when I went for an MRI to take a scan of my middle spine. I was quite cool, didn't think too much about it before the process as I am not claustrophobic and I already went for CT a couple of years ago without too much worry. But this time, after only 6-7 minutes of scanning, I started to feel very warm in the body, especially in the back area and my shoulders but still didn't feel uncomfortable at all. Then my heart started beating very fast and so hard that I was able to hear it in the headphones they put on my head. From that moment I began to worry and felt very uncomfortable laying there. I waited for a few minutes more to overcome this feeling, but actually, it started getting worse. I felt a little bit my legs were shaking and my heart had beaten even more. I couldn't resist anymore, so I pushed this panic pump and canceled the whole process. The nurse and the doctor came in and asked why I stopped it, and I tried to explain to them what had just happened to me, but the only answer I got from them was that people sometimes got scared of the machine and narrowed space, referring to what exactly might happen to me. But that's not the case with me. I am 100% sure I wasn't scared until my whole body started shaking and my heart had beaten so hard that I thought like I drank one liter of a black coffee. After that, I was sent into the dressing room, and I noticed in the mirror that my eyes were unusual red, like after a long time swimming and diving into the swimming pool. But that's not all. After I went out on my way to work, I felt some weakness that I am going to collapse into a swoon. I seated on some bench on the way, waited for a couple of minutes and then went straight home. The rest of the day I felt very weak, laying in the bed and surfing on the internet for the answers what brought me to this page.

      Now I am not sure what to do next as my orthopedic needs these scans to start a proper treatment for my painful back and I am not really confident anymore to go for MRI again.

    • Posted

      Hi Rob, I too had some of the same experiences, but left before I had anymore.

      I hurt my hand in a fall last year that hasn't gotten better so, wife made me an X-ray appt that came back normal. Then the MRI was scheduled. I went in to about middle of my back. Not even 5 minutes in, I started sweating full hot. Lots of head pressure and just feeling like this feeling would be of bad results if I stayed the 45 min so, I bolted. I'll deal with the hand pain.

  • Posted

    I had a spinal MRI tonight for a suspected herniated disk that I've been dealing with for about three weeks now. The fist thing I remember thinking was I'm being frazzled inside and am I supposed to feel this? My jaw clenched and I began to feel spasms in my back and abdomen. I felt pin and needles in my calf and foot and I felt a little panicked when the frequency changed too a higher pitch because I knew I was going spasm, I just didn't know where in my body. I actually said to the technicians when it was over, (18 minutes), Don't ever let anyone tell you that electromagnetic waves have no effect on people, or that they cannot be felt or detected, I felt the whole thing. I know that there has been research at John Hopkins concerning MRI and its effects on the inner ear and balance, which is why some people suffer vertigo either during or after having an MRI, but I haven't been able to find much reliable data on having experiences like what I felt and/or what others have described here. It's been about 7 hours since I got home and my facial muscles are still tight and I am having spasms in my leg.

    • Posted

      Hi Tina,

      I'm with you, there's definitely effects on the body after an MRI. It took me nearly 24 hours for the dizziness, headache, and muscle tightness to stop. Mine was a breast MRI and cage they make you lay on, stomach down still hurts! Call it vertigo, call it whatever, I nearly passed out in the closed MRI machine I was in... in pool of sweat because it made me so hot. The tech told me I didn't drink enough water before I came in.... highly doubt it... and if this is a known issue, why not tell patients before hand? Or get me an ice pack so my body temp doesn't get so high.

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.