Symbiote Wanted

3 Complaints from a Chronic Pain Patient About MRIs

Andria Kennedy
6 min readOct 29, 2021
Venom Cartoon
Image by Abhishek Kashyap from Pixabay

Am I rolling the dice on readers understanding my Venom reference? Of course. I recognize not everyone shares my love for the symbiotic antihero of the MCU. But when you’re staring at the insides of your eyelids and doing everything you can to distract your brain while an MRI clicks, bangs, and shrieks around you, you go with the images that pop into your brain.

(Besides — as you’ll see — the image works)

I understand technology advances to make imaging modalities pleasant experiences for patients. Or as enjoyable as each can get. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) used to involve getting wedged into a claustrophobic tube. Never mind the issue of noise; you wondered if your shoulders or hips would get jammed inside, leaving you trapped for eternity. But engineers went to work and developed an open design reminiscent of the computed tomography (CT) machine.

Now? You get breathing room — literally. Fans circulate air as you lie inside the tube, the diameter’s compressed so you get a glimpse of the ceiling (complete with tropical imagery), and you can move your elbows to either side. Medical tech sorted the worst of the claustrophobia complaints.

However, they’ve failed to address patients with chronic pain issues.



Andria Kennedy

Freelance science writer, meanderer of thoughts, and complete animal nut. A tiny demon governs my life (she may be a flerken — we’re still running tests).