For an MRI test, the area of the body being studied is placed inside a special machine that contains a strong magnet. The magnetic field is then initiated and radio waves begin to create detailed images of the body on a computer. Scientifically stated, this is one of the most in evasive procedures that could be ordered. For an individual with hypersensitivity or nerve pain it could be a recipe for disaster.
I recently went to an ordered MRI a bit under the weather. I had a sleepless night previously and was uncertain if I should proceed with the test. After informing the specialist of my dilemma, she prompted me to at least try it and said, "We'll see what happens." Famous last words of those who do not understand this syndrome.
I was a bit tired and concerned of falling asleep once I entered the Open MRI. After all, I had these before and experienced no ill effects so there were no anxious feelings of that contraption. That was of course BEFORE I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Once the radio waves kicked in I felt my nerves stand on end. My heart began to beat at an uncomfortable pace, and the top of my spine began shooting those well-known late night spasms. I immediately squeezed the oblong bubble for help. I explained it may be good to reschedule due to lack of sleep. I received the barrage of "maybe your anxious" cliches and was told that this machine could not be possibly producing those side effects. Off I went to attain a better night's sleep in hopes of battling this once more.
Two days later I was in the imaging machine again. I was not anxious, but a bit concerned over what happened previously. The machine started its whooshing effect and I was drawn into its warmth as it began to create a shroud of my neck. I closed my eyes feeling the soft vibrations making note that the previous episode must have been caused due to lack of sleep. The imaging proceeded and shut off intermittently as the radio images were being sent. I did notice some intermittent spasms in various points of my body, but not tremors. By the third wave, my nerves stood up on end. My upper spine hurt enormously and waves of electronic pain shot down my arms. To make matters worse, my heart began doing flip flops as the waves produced deep pain that reached my inner core.
I tried to relax and breathe going deeper into mediation trying to calm down my body from this hypersensitivity. Within seconds, my heart began racing again, and a headache intialized that felt full of rising blood pressure. I beeped the specialist again explaining that I may not be a good candidate for this imaging. For the remainder of the day I felt severe spine pain, elusiveness, dizziness, and various joint pain.
After devouring the Web once again, I came up with the following information:
Electrical Sensitivity as an Emerging Illness
What is electrical sensitivity? Perhaps you are already familiar with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) whereby the patient develops symptoms from exposure to ordinary levels of synthetic chemicals in common use such as perfumes,
pesticides, and household cleaning products. Electrical sensitivity (ES), another environmentally triggered illness, produces symptoms in the patient exposed to common levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF) from electrical
sources in the environment: power lines, motors, computers, etc. ES patients often are also MCS patients. Other at-risk groups for developing ES seem to be chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients and those experiencing mercury toxicity
from dental amalgams.1 Because the nervous system is a primary site impacted by both chemicals and electromagnetic fields, those with nervous system damage from toxic exposures seem more susceptible to becoming ES
too.2,3 Also, overexposure to EMF can singularly bring on ES, independent of other illness. Historically, ES was known as radiowave illness or microwave sickness.
In a recent ES survey, the five most common symptoms experienced when EMF exposed were skin itch/rash/flushing/burning and/or tingling, confusion/poor concentration and/or memory loss, fatigue/weakness,
headache, and chest pain/heart problems. Skin problems and memory difficulties tied for first place among the overall symptoms. Less commonly reported symptoms included nausea, panic attacks, insomnia, seizures,
ear pain/ringing in the ears, feeling a vibration, paralysis, and dizziness. Some ES patients experience only one symptom when EMF exposed, but often more than one symptom is apparent.
The importance of being aware of electrical sensitivity in the health care setting becomes clear when you realize that a patient may be suffering symptoms from electromagnetic exposures similar to the way a cardiac pacemaker may malfunction when exposed to certain EMF exposures. The typical doctor's office is a minefield of EMF exposures such as computers, fluorescent lights (particularly energy-efficient lighting), and medical tests that require exposure to electromagnetic or ultrasound sources. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been especially troublesome for some ES.
Once a patient realizes that proximity to electrical sources is the triggering event that leads to their symptoms, they find EMF avoidance most helpful for reducing reactions. Unfortunately, with the advent of increasing wireless
technology, such as cellular phone service and paging systems, EMF avoidance is becoming very difficult for the ES, creating more suffering and leading to life-threatening consequences for the severely ill. The chemical sensitivity
equivalent of this wireless technology might be aerial pesticide sprayings, a life-threatening event for many MCS patients.
In the past, if daily computer use at work caused, for example, a skin rash and headache, a cause and effect relationship could be determined by noticing that these symptoms abated evenings and weekends and intensified at work. It would become clear that the workplace, at least, was responsible for the development of the symptoms. Whether the computer was the source could be checked by using that computer or other computers in other locations to see if symptoms would then reappear. If not, it may be a "sick building" problem in the workplace instead, due to chemical exposures.
For the newly ES, it will now be more difficult to pinpoint the cause of their symptoms if they are also reacting to the ambient EMF exposure from various wireless services. The new digital cellular is particularly troublesome for
some ES; the prior analog cellular - a lower frequency - was much less of a problem. http://www.tldp.com/issue/179/emf179.htm
This article stuck a cord with me. One thing I remember respectively was the onset of my illness. For the first year I could not be exposed longer then 1-2 hours at a computer. I would experience all the above symptoms once I passed that threshold. I asked my doctor what it could possibly could be, but at that time he had no answer. After this last imaging fiasco, I now wonder if I have had ES as one of my noted symptoms.