MS hug?

Hi everyone

just a question about extreme pain I get at the base of my ribs all the time. I presume it’s the dreaded ms hug but it never goes!

it stops me walking properly and I can’t stand up straight because of it. Does anyone else get it as badly as this and how do you manage it?


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’. Effects 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. Treatments 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 George

Hi George

thank you for this. I am aware of most of this and I have been started on gabapentin. I just wondered if many others msers had it this badly and how they managed it.

Thanks again

Hi Loola, George.

A few years ago i had the ms hug. It brought me to my knees. The feeling was bloody terrible. It happened a few times and then as quick as it came it went away. The same feeling i had in my femoral artery, that went away too. Why do some of us get these conditions? we dont know. I wish you all the very best of health.

Jane x

Hi have you actually had it confirmed its the MS HUG?

It could be Costochondritis(not sure i spelt that right). Costochondritis: Treatment, Symptoms, Causes, Recovery Times

Its very similar.

Never assume its your MS it can be something else. I would see your GP to just check especially as its affecting your walking and standing.

I have had the MS hug, it was like wearing a really really tight bra and for about an hour i could just about breath. I can imagine its like when you have broken a rib and they bind you up. then it just went. Hug doesnt normally last constantly.

like i said i would seek medical advice. x

The first time I got the MS hug it was really scary as I didn’t know what was going on. I was in America for work and was out for a meal. I started feeling really tight around my ribs. I remember the restaurant was near a hospital, as I recall commenting to myself that I wouldn’t have far to travel if I started feeling any worse. Luckily things didn’t get any worse and I “grin and bear’d it”. It took a few hours but started getting better. I’ve had it a few times since then, and find it is much more bearable if I stay calm, try not to panic and it eases. My advice is to stay calm, keep a track of how often it occurs, what you were doing when it happened, how long it lasted, and seek medical advice and take your notes with you.

Thanks everyone for your advice. I’ve had it continuously for the last 2 weeks or longer. Not sure if getting worse. I had breast cancer last year so think I should get it checked out just in case it’s something else. Thanks again

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Hi yes I would probably just a coincidence but best to always check as not everything is down to MS, as one of my friends found out when she thought one of her pains was MS and it was actually a gall stone. xxx

Thanks Crazy Chick. Good advice

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Hi my friend. What have you got on your head?

LOL a tin of ginger beer (non alcoholic), i was having a rare daft moment with my hubby who dared me to do it. it was full and open i used to be that silly person and now and then it would just come out DG. xxx

Hi Loola let us know how you get on. If it does turn out to be the hug honestly buy a heat pad they really help when you get one. xxx

Hi all

i saw the gp yesterday. Yes I know a Saturday but miracles do happen!!

they think it’s muscular and have referred me for an ultrasound. Don’t know what that would show. Also prescribed me naproxen and a week off work. Hoping the naproxen will help but not so far…

Hello All

My MS hug or banding has been a constant for years now.

The pain is bearable although it used to be worse.

I have been prescribed pregabalin by the neurologist, previously been on gabapentin and carbamazepine before that.

Thanks for advice about heat pad.


I know we are all a bit different when it come to MS symptoms and I’m guessing that MS hug might be the same ? I keep getting this feeling of massive bloating, in fact when it happens my stomach is physically extended, and very round, the feeling when it happens is like as if I’m physically pushing and tensing my stomach muscles outwards on purpose, but I’m obviously not. This can happen anytime, before food, after food, anytime actually. Theres no pain or feeling of wanting to go to the toilet, just this huge bloating feeling, and a feeling of my stomach muscles physically pushing my stomach outwards . It can last for a few hours. I’ve had it a long time but its more frequent these days. Its a horrible uncomfortable feeling but not painful as such. Would this be regards as MS hug ?


so I saw my specialist. She said the pain I’m experiencing is NOT the MS hug!!! Hooray for once a symptom not related to ms. She thinks physiotherapy will help to improve the pain which I’m praying will as at present I can’t stand up straight. Anyway just thought I’d let you know!! Thanks for all comments and advice

Good to know loola. It’s easy to attribute everything to MS and forget that sometimes are are other ailments that can affect us too. Hopefully the physio will help.