MS hug

This is just a question?

Has anyone suffered with the MS hug yet?

I have, I had this pain in my chest and it felt like somone had hold of me tightly causing me to have problems breathing, and I spoke to my friends mum who has MS, and she called it the MS hug.

I have had it constantly for two years. I feel like a boa constricter is crushing my chest. It is a constant discomfort, but at times it gets so bad I feel Like im about to have a heart attack. My specialist says it wont go away now, im left with it.

Hope yours goes away soon.


Does this make you feel like you cant yawn properly? x


Yes I suffer with the MS hug, it is very painful, uncomfortable, when it happens to me I undo my bra, helps a bit, not a lot though. I find that standing up and stretching also helps.

Janet x

wow, when this happens to me I have to Sit up straight and take a deep breath which is now starting to hurt my chest x

I have had this for 3 weeks now. It feels like a corset pulled really tight or a wide rubber band across my rib cage. I find it worse at night and when I go to bed and lay down. I also find that underwired bras make it worse as it feels like the wire is digging into my diaphram/ribs so I am wearing non-wired now. Horrible feeling. Sometimes feels as though I can’t breath in fully because the tightness won’t allow me to. I felt sdcared at first but now I have read up about it aI am more convinced it is trhe ‘hug’ and that it won’t kill me. It’shard not to panic though as it does sometimes get much tighter for a short while.

I think I have experienced the MS Hug recently - I had to take my bra off because it was so tight for a while. I thought I just needed new bras (well, I do!) but the other day I realised the bras weren’t so tight any more!

I get this Kylie and it made me cry a few months back.The pain comes through my back to my front as is extruciating. Because I nearly called an ambulance the last time it happened my Neuro has prescribed Clonazepam, apparently it takes about an hour to work and the pain so far has only lasted around an hour (feels like 24), I haven’t bothered to get it. I just take my 40ml Amitriptyline and go to bed, luckily I have managed to sleep it off. If I panic when it happens it is much worse, if I stay calm it goes off quicker, easier said! It usually happens when I’ve had a busy day, the last time I had a very enjoyable day out with my daughter.

I also have ‘the hug’ in the muscles which mean I often don’t wear a bra. I have managed to buy a fairly comfy bra (Asda sports bra) which my MS nurse recommended but most of the time I just don’t wear one. This symptom is generally caused by stress and I wear my MP3 player on my head with soothing music, this helps.

Good luck both symptoms are a pain!


I’ve had this for the last couple of years on and off, it’s very scary and painful, I can relate to what others on this thread have said, I’ve thought it was my underwire, bad posture, bad indegestion, a heart attack etc.

Loose clothing helps, as does sitting up straight and making sure I keep my breathing under control, I’m lucky as I don’t get this that often and usually it only lasts for a few hours and I can sleep it off.

I’ve wondered for ages what it was and now I know.

Like the others who have replied, I too have suffered with the ‘hug’ and it has on occasion gone on for several weeks. The feeling of not being able to take a deep breath is a familiar one and it is painful. I have often felt like I have a rod that goes through my chest front to back as well as the band around it. It’s horrible. I don’t wear a bra when I’m like this and when I’m not as the day wears on, if I’m wearing a bra I feel it almost brings the ‘hug’ on so find myself removing it.

With luck yours will pass, I hope so.

Take care


Hi all x

I was told that the ‘hug’ is caused by a lesion in the lower cervical/thoracic spine. Anyone else heard this?? xxxjenxxx


I often get the MS hug. It’s usually very painful across my chest. Loose clothing and relaxing can reduce it but it often spreads down to my stomach area and squeezes until I vomit. I read somewhere that Baclafen, a muscle relaxant, can help. This made sense to me so I phoned the MS nurse helpline and asked if I could try it but was told they don’t prescribe it for MS hug. I was convinced it was worth a try so persisted and eventually my local MS specialist nurse agreed to prescribe it to try taking it as and when I get the hug. It worked! I take it as soon as I start to get the strange feelings which preceded the pain and so far it hasn’t developed. I have left it too late to stop it starting to hurt but found it takes about 15 minutes to take effect but when it does it’s instantly better and such a relief. I know everyone’s MS is different but I’ve found it absolutely worth persisting to get it prescribed, you never know, hopefully it’ll work for you too!

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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


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I put a bath towel in a low oven for ten minutes, then wrap it firmly around me. A hot water bottle front and back also helps. I never wear underwired bras anymore as I find that they trigger an attack and I find that baclofen really helps too.

oh my goodness Jen!
I’m so sorry you’re feeling so rotten.
I have PPMS/ PMS, the neurologist and MS Nurse can’t make their minds up, I don’t really tend to take much notice of their diagnosis anyway at the moment as they never get to see me when I’m/we’re actually suffering and in pain with these symptoms this but at this moment in time I feel you could be my identical twin, you describe my symptoms so perfectly.

My MS started 10 years ago after I had bowel surgery to form a stoma when I started to get those electric shock pains down my arms, together with the crushing feelings around my ribcage and stomach. I’ve been in a panic again, not knowing who to turn to, because 2 nights ago I took a turn for the worse and felt as though my whole stomach was violently turning over and over and my legs started to go into spasm again. At the moment I’m wondering whether to phone for an ambulance cos the pain in my stomach and belly is so intense but I don’t know whether they could help or what they would do. Has anyone else had to go to A&E? What did they do?

Hi Linda

You would do better starting a new thread as this one is very old, Jen hasn’t posted on the forum since 2014.

If you are in that much pain, there’s no reason not to go to A&E, although they might not be able to do much.

Have you tried to get some guidance from your MS nurse about this recent pain? Have you spoken to your GP surgery to see if you can get any help from them?

Do you still have a stoma? Is the pain related to that, or the ‘hug’, or something else entirely? Or do you not really know?

And do you have any drugs that might help? Depending on what’s causing the pain of course. If it’s internal rather than nerve pain, perhaps the hospital might be a good thing. But if it’s the ‘hug’ or other nerve pain, then it might respond to a neuropathic pain drug.