It’s a Stretch: Yoga Pants Don’t Belong in MRI Machines!
Important bulletin: if you are getting an MRI, don’t wear yoga pants!
Yes, that’s right – wearing certain types of spandex yoga pants into an MRI machine can be hazardous to your health!
As a chiropractor, I frequently order MRIs for my patients. It is a powerful tool because it allows me to examine a patient’s spine in much more detail for injury or other problems than an x-ray is able to reveal. Of course, an MRI machine is much more powerful than x-ray machine. We have an x-ray machine here at the office, and it barely takes it a second for it to do its job. If you need an MRI we will send you to a special imaging lab for a scan that will take 20-30 minutes in a large and very noisy machine.
An MRI machine works by using incredibly powerful magnets. These magnets remain active even when the machine isn’t operating. That’s why technicians require patients to remove all items from their person that may contain metal, such as car keys, cell phones, and belt buckles. But recently it has been discovered that there is a certain article of clothing that may contain metal that you might not expect – yoga pants!
Some yoga pants, and other athletic leisure garments, have strands of metal (usually silver) woven into them. These threads prevent bacteria-causing odor from building up in your yoga pants while you’re working up a good sweat. Unfortunately, they also have electromagnetic properties. There have been reports of these garments heating up during an MRI and causing painful burning. In one case, an eleven-year-old girl received second degree burns.
One brand of yoga pants that some MRI labs are specifically warning against is Lululemon. If you own Lululemon athletic attire that you are planning to wear to an MRI appointment, you can check on the tat to see if the product contains silver microfibers. However, Lululemon is not the only manufacturer that incorporates metal woven into their clothing.
Any clothes that feature ‘anti-bacterial’ or ‘anti-microbial’ technology should be avoided, as it is likely to include metallic microfibers. When in doubt, don’t take the risk – wear something else! Ordinary, everyday clothing such as a t-shirt and a pair of jeans should fare just fine inside an MRI machine. If the lab technicians have concerns about what you are wearing, they can ask you to change into a gown.
In the remote chance that you should ever find yourself inside an MRI machine and in pain or discomfort, you should notify the technician at once. You may need to shout – it’s loud in there! – but the technician will be nearby at all times. All MRI machines have emergency shutoff devices to allow for the swift and safe removal of the patient if necessary.
An MRI of your spine can be a powerful tool to getting on the road to speedy recovery. But think twice before you go into an MRI machine wearing your favorite pair of yoga pants!
Yours in health,
Christopher B. Renne, D.C.
Board Certified Integrative Medicine