MS Hug or winceyette whinger?

I have been lucky enough to have never suffered with pain directly caused by my MS. Recently I have developed pain in my back (rib cage level) whilst lying in bed. It can be sufficient to take my breath away but as yet has not prevented sleep. (Therefore only considered a discomfort) It feels like the muscles around the spine have gone into significant spasm. The discomfort is relieved as soon as I get vertical. I am unsure if this is a “hug” or just run of the mill spasm which should go in time. I should be seeing a neuro physio soon but any thoughts/opinions/info welcome. (Even if only to say stop whinging you old git) Mick

still hoping for any info

I have had minor episodes of the hug (not that they felt that minor when they were happening!).

What made it worse in my case was tha,t because I had continual spasms in my intercostal (rib cage) muscles because of the hug, I held myself oddly - often not realising that I was. This eventually caused my whole spine and musculo-skeletal system to be thrown out and all of a sudden the pain EXCRUTIATING.

In my case, a few sessions with a brilliant osteopath sorted out the pain. I needed some (gentle) manipualtion and he gave me some gentle excercises to do which were designed to improve my posture and how I hold myself. These excercises are very much the same as the ones I have been given by neuro-physio in the past.

It is definitely worth keeping up with the neuro-physio’s excercises - I was lazy and just got out of the habit of doing them with the result that I was in horrendous pain over Christmas. The neuro-physiotherapists are very good indeed and don’t - in my view - get as much publicity/praise as they should.

BTW. I like the phrase “wynceyette whinger” . That’s one I will be using to describe myself on miserable duvet days from now on!


Thanks for the info


it is getting silly now, I used to look forward to going to bed as light relief from my little daily symptoms, now I am starting to dread bedtime asno matter how much Baclofen I take I know that by 04:15 I will have my breath taken away by significnt discomfort / borderline pain. What really pi$$es me off is the fact that there is no position I can struggle to get into that gives any relief. I can not manage it with mind games or breathing.or evem by taking more Baclofen. So I get up - have a coffee and start whinging on this forum.

At least sitting here typing takes my mind off it. If I ever had “real” or serious pain I would be such a whiner…

Todays word of the day is going to be “Bother”

For a number of weeks I was having what I think was the ms hug on my rib cage on right hand side and round to spine

It started over night but was worse after getting up over the weekend it was almost unbearable struggled to move between

Rooms so made up mind to visit gp Monday morning so I get up and thankfully no pain did nothing yesterday and today after

The best sleep for ages feeling quire good touch wood it lasts.

I take tramadol pregabilen and paracetamol now and then but they made no noticeable difference to the pain and discomfort

Hope it fades soon george

Hi Wincey :wink: I find that heat can help (though it can cause problems if you get too hot, of course) - have you tried a hot water bottle? It can be a comforting distraction at least, and probably helps the muscles relax a bit more. And you get all sorts of fluffy covers…

I would also say neuro physios have been very helpful to me - they’ve really helped me understand how the problems in my brain are affecting different parts of my body, and have been kindly encouraging when it comes to excercise.

I tend to get ‘hugs’ lower down at the bottom of my rib cage. They come and go - so I hope these pain troubles go for you soon.

All the best


Thanks Rebecca,

I went back to bed because the Baclofen seemed to reduce the level os spasm and therefore reduce the discomfort sufficiently for me to be able to sleep. Woke up 11:30 with discomfort again, but I am less whiney because I have had enough sleep.

We have a mid weight duvet (to avoid over heating) but we also have individually controlled electric underblanket. I have stopped using this just in case the additional heat is an issue. I shall continue to experiment with pillows / hot water bottles / various meds and hassling my neuro physio. Doubtless if anything works or does not I will keep wittering on about it. Cheers Mick

cheers George - lets hope we both move forward. Mick

I wonder why we call it a ‘hug’ as ‘hugs’ are generally pleasant things. (bit like the term ‘benign’ m.s. - ‘benign’ my m.s. aint!)

Yes, have experienced what you describe - a tightening or cramp at the base of the spine and spreading upwards and in my case feeling more pronounced on the right side. I feel better when I lie down.

Neither man nor beast (apart from Val McDermid) gets in my double-bed with me and it helps to be able to stretch out to find the best position.

If things worsened I guess I’d go to a physio or possibly a massage, that would help.

I also get cramps in he back of my thighs - I’m sure if I went to the doc ant told him I’d got ‘hugs’ in the legs he’d think I was bonkers…

…Indeed perhaps “hugs” should be replaced with “jagged bony or iron fist grabbing the back muscles” , I also find that Spasm can lead to painful cramp and I am sad that I can no longer get Crampex to help when my legs explode with Cramp.

I have never bothered my GP because I am pretty sure it would be a waste of time and effort.


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I call my ‘hug’ The Vice of DOOM!!! A far more accurate description than hug! Lol!



The "Iron fist"or Claw does it for me.


If that was me it would be bug*er rather than bother.

Or even worse.

Cant help with the pain, but I was awake at the same time as you, just couldn’t get back to sleep. Have you tried just traditional pain relief, like ibuprofen or whisky? Just in case!


It could be worse. In the US they call it the “MS girdle” Is it manufactured by Playtex do you think - and can I return mine to the shop please!

I now have more sympathy for people who wear girdles… wait a minute no I don’t because they have a choice…

Sue, trust me , my choice of non forum based expletive moves into another dimension. I have not tried Ibuprofen or Whiskey, if the “hug” was not at 04:35 I might give it a go. Cheers Mick

My advice would be get it checked out. I had a couple of bouts of excruciating pain around my rib cage a little while ago which I assumed was “the hug”. It was only when I ended up in hospital with pancreatitis I found I it was gallstones

Thanks Noodle , I will keep an open mind whilst hoping that my issue is only an MS hug ! Sorry about your Gallstones which I understand are excruciating, I hope you are better. For my suspected “hug” I have started to develop 2 coping strategies.

1: Not be such a wuss! The “discomfort / pain” whilst unpleasant is not intolerable and if I can employ the #2 technique does mean I can get back to sleep.

2: Before bed or at the time of a hug, do some DEEP breathing which stretches the muscles that are having a spasm. Because the spasm can be triggered by breathing in or out, this is not easy but if I refer myself to point #1 most times I can get through and the spasms will eventually subside enough to get back to sleep.

Using this method I managed to sleep from midnight to 6am today which I am banking as a victory. Woohoo

All the best Mick

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