Have I experianced my first hug?

i think I had my first Ms hug the other night

the pain I had lasted for about 6 hours, left hand side of my ribs cage felt like someone took a knife to me, I was driving my car and put it in reverse to go on the drive way and all of a sudden I couldn’t even move my arm to turn the wheel without pain, I did the foot work, the other half did the steering! Allways good fun when he doesn’t drive!

anyway I went in the house and it was every time I exhaled that the pain was there, it slightly let up after 3 hours, but when I went to bed it got worse, if I laid on my right the pain was worse than anything I felt in my life, if I laid on my back it felt like I couldn’t breath, but if I laid on the ribs that hurt it was almost a pain reliever.

All I know is I never want to feel that pain again


“The hug” is not a medically recognized term anyway, and is often described in different ways by different people. People quite often talk about a feeling of pressure, or constriction - as if they couldn’t breath (hence the nickname “hug”). What people mean when they talk about “the hug” is actually a spasm of the tiny muscles between the ribs (intercostal muscles). As these are what let your ribcage expand and contract flexibly to accommodate your breathing, then if they go into spasm, it will make breathing feel more difficult or painful.

It’s not clear from your description whether this is definitely what you experienced. It could have been a spasm of the intercostal muscles, it could have been some other MS-related muscle spasm, or it could have been nerve pain that was not related to a spasm at all. And without wishing to worry you, there’s always an outside chance it might not have been anything to do with MS.

If this is completely new to you, I suggest you mention it to your GP, and not just take bets on it being “the hug”.

I do get an indigestion-like chest pain under my breast-bone, which I think is my personal version of “the hug”. The reason I am fairly confident of this, and that it’s not anything worse, is that it responds to muscle relaxants like baclofen and diazepam. therefore I feel I can be fairly certain it’s a muscle-spasm of some sort, and that’s why muscle relaxants help. It doesn’t sound as painful as you describe, though, and that’s why I would be cautious of assuming its the same thing.

If you happen to be on any muscle-relaxants anyway, did they help, or make no difference? Obviously, if you’re not on any, you will not have been able to try this experiment.



hi samm

i had the hug when first diagnosed. it left me clutching my chest and doing long, slow breathing as if i was in labour!

my husband and sister were here and wanted to phone an ambulance but i was so sure it was the ms.

anyway it only lasted 30 minutes.

then i had my second hug last january and this time it wouldn’t let up.

i had to see my gp because i’d run out of my muscle relaxing meds.

the gp was really worried. he hadn’t heard of the hug and didn’t know much about ms.

he gave me the prescription but rang me later that night to say that it was preying on his mind so he’d booked me in at the hospital as a gp referral for 9.00 the next morning.

i was given a full mot - checked my heart, lungs and anything else they could think of.

towards the end, my fatigue levels were sky high and the pain was still excruciating. one of the doctors asked me what was wrong - i couldn’t be bothered with the long winded explanation.

i would describe it at its worst as my ribs were being broken. it lasted 4 days and my ribs felt bruised afterwards.

hope yours goes away very soon

carole x