MS Hug/Pain

Morning, I’m new to this forum, Not MS though unfortunately, I was diagnosed in 2005 though I had symptoms for 2 years before that.

I’m just in the middle of a relapse and to be honest I think it’s getting worse before it will start getting better, It’s unlike relapses I have had before, I have limited function in my left arm and what I would describe as the MS hug around my waist/hips, it is so crushing and painful. Does anyone have any tips on easing the pressure/Pain. It’s worse when I wake up in the morning.



Hi Jane,

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

I did read somewhere that; believe it or not; wearing a hat can relieve the pain. It somehow confuses the brain.


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Found it.

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I love it. And I shall be using that link again.

George, you are wonderful. I’ve said it before (many times over quite a lot of years) and will probably be saying it again.


Hi Jane, The hug was one of my first symptoms; it made breathing feel difficult for me. I found myself wearing looser than usual clothes and not taking hot or even warm showers as that made it worse. Around the same time I frequented a blog that deals with depressions and anxiety with what’s now one of my favorite quotes; it really fit the situation: A hug is like a strangle you haven’t finished yet. The MS hug definitely feels like that.