MS hug? Well thats new and really not pleasant!

Hi all just thought I’d share my scary experience,

I was in the bath, relaxing when gradually my chest started to tighten and sharp pains on both sides of my ribs under the arms, the centre front of the chest and behind the shoulder blades. This led to not being able to catch my breath and the pain intensifying, I ended up naked on the cool kitchen floor, in various chest and back stretching positions, sweating with waves of pain growing in intensity for an hour until I panicked and called 111.

They have said it doesn’t sound cardio vascular and I am now waiting for the out of hours doctor to call me back. Its not as intense now but still coming in waves.

Does what I describe sound like the MS hug? Never experienced anything like it, I can only describe it as labour pains in the chest.

I have only just finished a course of steroids for a relapse on Thursday just gone. Is it possible to already be relapsing again so soon?


Going to the GP in the morning… I have noticed a pattern though, every time I drink a mouthful tea I get the sensations searing back to the intensity of when I was in the bath/kitchen floor…the hotter the drink the more intense.

the hug is caused by the intercostal muscles going into spasm.

afraid to say there isn’t anything you can do to stop it.

a lot of people swear by a hot water bottle or by lying in a certain position.

take whatever neuropathic meds you have especially muscle relaxants such as baclofen and (sorry forgot the name of the others).

it is badly named, i prefer to call it the grip of death! hugs are supposed to be soft and cuddly.

you should still see a doctor in case it isn’t ms.

i hope it has gone by now.

i feel like my ribs have been bruised afterwards.

carole x

Thanks Carole,

I eventually fell asleep, I am going to go to the GP today (think I may have my own chair in the waiting room at the moment).

It is still mildly grumbling this morning, my sternum feels tender too.

Now I can reflect back to last night…that was awful, I kind of knew I wasn’t having a heart attack but the pain became so intense that I was sweating, felt like I was going to pass out and I’m glad its virtually gone this morning.

I don’t have any neuropathic meds, I don’t even have ibuprofen in the house at the moment (ran out yesterday morning as I’ve been eating them like smarties for headaches)! Going to stock up today.



my “hug” consists of a iron fist grabbing muscles around my spine, not much fun, but I am getting better at stretching the muscles and using deep breathing to reduce the impact. I understand that heat can also help loosen the stupid spasms.

good luck


I have been experiencing symptoms for at least 3 years now they come and go then something else arrives, sometimes it’s the prob with swallow, others it’s the cognitive memory, then it could be the bladder issues. The neurologist said I don’t fall into a clear category so said RRMS. My latest MRIs show lesions have made no change after 12mths. I do not feel any better. I would appreciate feedback. There doesn’t seem to be much remittance going on. What are personal experiences of RRMS and PPMS? I never experienced a big first event such as an optical neuritis which then went away. What are your experiences?


It is a bummer that you do not seem to go through the “remitting” bit. No two cases are the same but you did ask for experiences. I had RRMS between 1991 and about 2002, during which I could have a relapse that would leave me pretty messed up BUT sometimes very slowly and sometimes quite quickly I would recover to 97-98% of where I was before the relapse. During the slow recoveries I have tried steroids in an attempt to help my body fight back (but I can not say if this did or did not help) I think that there may be a psychological benefit in trying to do something rather than just waiting.

No relapses from 2002 but in about 2006 I moved into SPMS which seems to be a very slow decline.

I have no personal experience of PPMS

There are pros and cons to each flavour but I would rather deal with other day to day “normal” issues rather than those related to MS

Fingers crossed that you have the best support team of family friends and professionals who can make life easier.

All the best Mick