MS Grip of death.

I have decided the term MS Hug is too nice.

I am changing it.

MS Grip of Death seems more fitting.

Does anybody have any suggestions to help me cope with it.

I’m popping Gabapentine like smarties but I still keep getting intense pain around my chest. Like somebody is trying to break my ribs. The feeling can last a few minutes or a few hours but it seems to come on like a frieght train.

I really need some ideas, because I can’t keep up like this.



sorry you’re feeling the sharp end of this delightful condition. i also had terrible problems with pain, notably ms grip of death (think i’ll be adopting that myself, cheers). i was on a hell of a lot of gabapentin too, which were no help, i told my neuro and he changed me to pregabalin, which is ‘related’, they’ve made all the difference to me, and given back a lot of control over my pain, except for occasional bad patches, i’m much better. you could go and discuss your pain meds, it really is a ‘suck it and see’ type of thing. i had pretty horrible nausea and bad dizziness as i gradually reduced the gabapentin (which you can only do as directed by a doctor!), hopefully you wouldn’t, but i thought i’d mention the poss. if you’re not taking a muscle relaxant, too, they’re also very helpful.

i hope you find a combination that works for you really soon, best of luck,

wendy x


i had the death grip recently and it last for 6 weeks!

before it only lasted a couple of hours but this time i thought it would never end.

it really does feel as though your ribs are breaking.

i ended up talking to it - yeah you’re hurting me but you are not really breaking my ribs… blah…blah etc

when it finally went away it left me feeling bruised.

to add to the delight, the gabapentin really gave me an upset stomach, bloated like a pregnant hippo.

it felt like i’d been beaten up.

hope you feel better soon

carole x

MS hug or girdle effect

Why does MS cause the hug or girdle effect?
This is a spasm-type symptom that is one of the more unusual effects of MS. Between each of our ribs are tiny muscles called intercostal muscles. These hold the ribs in place but provide flexibility at the same time. If these muscles go into spasm, the result can be uncomfortable or painful. This is sometimes referred to as ‘banding’.

People with this symptom of MS describe a burning or tight sensation which spreads around the rib cage, causing a crushing feeling that can range from uncomfortable to very painful. Sometimes it is accompanied by pins and needles. Most commonly felt around the ribs, occasionally the effect is experienced in the hands or feet.

Individuals with MS who experience the hug or girdle effect do not always have the same degree of intensity of pain. For some, it is no more than an uncomfortable feeling, which passes without the need for any treatment. Others, however, need pain relief to deal with the spasm. Analgesic cream, warmth and painkillers are all used to provide relief. Your medical professional will discuss how best to manage your pain and will bear in mind any other drugs you are taking

Costochodritis is similar and peeps with FM get it ( me ) but this is an inflamatory condition so if I get it at the same time as the dreaded “hug” nothing seems to work meds wise.

My gp refused to swap my gabapentin to pregabalon and I suspect it was a cost issue…pregab are way more expensive.

Actually many of the symptoms gp used to casually ignore as FM related are also same symptoms he now says are MS.

I suspect if I complained of being stressed these same symptoms would be put down to stress.

Maybe I am just being grouchy or sceptical but I experienced the same attitude when I had cancer, whatever symptom I had was put down to that and it made me so angry…people with ANY comdition do get other medical problems too !