Forum

ms hug/girdle

Hi I’m new to this site so not really sure how it works? I was dx with rrms just over 3yrs ago. I have suffered a few relapses but I’ve never had this symptom that my ms nurse has called the ms hug. It is a frightening and painful symptom that has sent me to a&e on 2 occasions. I feel ad though I have a heavy restricting weight around my chest area and even around my back and underarm. It makes me feel as though I can’t take a full breath. I’ve had this for 6 weeks now some days worse than others. I’ve been taking 900mg gaberpentin 3 times a day but it doesn’t seem to help. I’m sorry to be having this moan but would really like to know if anyone has suffered with this symptom and if they have any advice on what helps and how long ir might last for. I’ve always managed to cope with previous symptoms quite well but this I going pain is starting to wear me down. Thanks for any advice. Hazel

hi hazel,

welcome to the forum

i had the hug just before my dx and my sister and my hubby were with me. they both wanted to take me to hospital but i kind of knew i had ms so i refused to go and it went away after 10 minutes.

i’ve had it a few times since and stopped wearing a bra!

6 weeks is a very long time to have something so horrible.

contact your ms nurse for advice

carole x

Thanks Carole I’ll do that x

Hi Hazel, I get it a lot and have copied and pasted a list of tips below.

I was on Gabapentin & was still getting it badly, but it seems to have eased up a bit since I’ve been on Amitriptlyline. Might be worth giving it a try.

It’s a really ghastly symptom and I would say my worst symptom. The word ‘hug’ doesn’t go any where near describing it. Some people now call in ‘binding’.

Anyway hope these help.

Pat x

It’s a spasm of the small muscles between the ribs. Here are some tips that might help:

· It can go all around your rib area, or only in part of rib area… up high on ribs or low down on ribs… or it can be only on one side of ribs

· Sometimes the affected area will be extremely itchy

· Much worse in heat

· Much worse when fatigued or stressed

· Don’t wear a bra (it irritates the muscles)

· Don’t wear tight clothing… the looser the better

· Avoid large meals… little and often is better

· Lie down in/on bed if you can… and lying completely flat often helps

· Take 2 Paracetamol… if you are not on other pain med’s

· Try controlling your breathing… deep in through the nose and slowly blow out of mouth… and try and relax whole body while doing it

· Stay as cool as you can but don’t have cold shower… luke warm is better

· Rest, rest, rest and then get some more rest (if at all possible)

· Gently rub the affected area. It might feel like it’s bruised… don’t worry, that’s normal

The hug was my first symptom seven years ago. Tried most of the prescribed drugs. Some helped a little, but all had awful side effects. My doctor suggested I try Anodyne Therapy. It’s a system of infra red pads that are placed where required. I use it for twenty minutes most mornings. It relaxes the chest (intercostal) muscles. It doesn’t ‘cure’ the hug, but really calms it down. It’s the only thing that works for me. No drugs! No side effects!

Hi Hazel,

Welcome to the forum, you’ll have lots of support here. I also get “the hug”, and it is really painful at times. I have been to A&E a couple of times because I couldn’t be sure I wasn’t having a heart attack and thought I’d better play it safe. I agree that the word hug is a misnomer. Hugs are usually nice, this most certainly is not. I take pregabalin, but it doesn’t always work.

I think all the tips that Pat has given are really good, especially the smaller meals one. I found that eating large amounts just made me feel as if my chest was going to explode!

Maybe a call to your MS nurse to see if there is anymore that can be done?

All the best,

Alison xx

Hi Hazel,

Welcome to the forum, you’ll have lots of support here. I also get “the hug”, and it is really painful at times. I have been to A&E a couple of times because I couldn’t be sure I wasn’t having a heart attack and thought I’d better play it safe. I agree that the word hug is a misnomer. Hugs are usually nice, this most certainly is not. I take pregabalin, but it doesn’t always work.

I think all the tips that Pat has given are really good, especially the smaller meals one. I found that eating large amounts just made me feel as if my chest was going to explode!

Maybe a call to your MS nurse to see if there is anymore that can be done?

All the best,

Alison xx

Hi Hazel,

The dreaded MS hug was one of my first symptoms. When I started anti- spasm meds like Baclofen, Pregabalin and Carbemazepine the hug eased off. If you have an MS nurse you should be able to access help through her.

Best of luck :slight_smile:

Denise

Hiya

I’ve had the hug since diagnosis 8 years ago. Hate to say this but it has never gone away so I have learn’t to live with it. It is not as frightening once you know that you are not having heart problems. It is the most annoying part of my MS but as Pat said you have to go through her helpful list and this helps.

Welcome to the site. My friends have been a massive help to me over the years so just shout if you need a chat at any time and take care

Shazzie xxx

Hiya

I’ve had the hug sine diagnosis 8 years ago. Once you realise that it is not your heart playing up but the MS then it is not as frightening just annoying. But as Pat says if you work through her list you should find this helpful. The deep breathing helps for me

Welcome to thie site. My friends on here have been really helpful over the years. Just shout if you need us and we will be there, if only for a chat.

Take care

Shazzie xxx

Hi, the ms hug was one of my first symptoms. It lasted 4 months or so. It didn’t just suddenly disappear. It Was just gradual. But definitely came on quickly. Didn’t find anything that took pain away. I take pregabalin. I quit bras and anything tight whilst it was at its worst. It is a terrible feeling. I hope it goes soon. Lynn

Hi Hazel and welcome, I too have the dreaded hug - it really is vile and felt like I imagined a heart attack would first time I experienced it so you have my sympathy and understanding. I see a neuro physiotherapist who has given me a series of stretches and moves to do daily (feels a bit like doing yoga) which seem to have helped keep it more under control. I also try to keep control of my stress levels as this definitely seems to make it feel worse. I’m afraid I find it’s more a case of managing it than eradicating it and I’m certainly going to take on some of the other tips on here (any excuse to ditch the bra - in the privacy of my own home of course!) If you haven’t been referred to a neuro physio yet it might be worth talking to your ms nurse.

good luck x

Thank you all so much for all your help and advice. I’m certainly going to try these out and get back in touch with my neuro physiotherapist. It really is good to talk to people who have experienced this symptom as it’s hard to explain to others how much this invisible symptom can be so painful.xx