??"MS Hug"

Hello there

I wonder if any of you lovely people would be able to give me an idea of the different ways in which the “MS hug” manifests itself, please?

I am not dx, but have had pain in my ribs for a week -10 days now, and it is in a band right around my torso, just under my bra line. This whole area is also very tender to touch, and also feels tingly and itchy on and off. I have also felt on and off as if it is very tight around this band, and feel as if I need to take a really deep breath to be able to fill my lungs with air properly. The back muscles around this band also seem to go into spasm if I stand in one position for too long, or lift my arms up above a certain height for too long (eg: to chop veg at the kitchen counter).

I have also had random pains in my ribs below this band, and in the ribs in my chest, where I also have some areas that are very painful to touch.

These pains can be bad enough to wake me up at night.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

I’d also be interested to know (like Purpledot, not diagnosed). About a year ago I had a slew of odd symptoms, including feeling a tight band around my solar plexus area. It felt like I was wearing a tight belt high up. I also had abdominal pains with constipation and was sent for an ultrasound but I was told at the time that it was clear. The band-like sensation eventually eased and went away. A few months later I had a sudden tightening in my chest which made it hard to breathe - I just could not get a deep breath in. I panicked as I was getting my daughter ready for pre-school at the time. I could hardly bend down to help with her shoes. I hadn’t done anything or moved differently so I don’t know what set this off. Luckily, it gradually eased off so by the time I was walking home again it was much less. That and a persistent yet intermittent tingle/stabbing/buzzing sensation at the back of my ribs under one shoulderblade and shooting pains in my chest. What’s going on?! Purpledot, you have my sympathy!

Hi There,

I can relate to both your post and totally empathise. I too had a terrrible spasm right under by rib cage which spasmed close to my heart, or at least it that’s what it felt like. Next to giving birth that and the one I had in my pelvis has to be the worst two spasms i’ve had by far. It was so bad accross my chest that every spasm that came and went took my breath away and if ibreathed in or out or moved it made it worse, I ended up having tramadol and a relaxent from my G.p for a week until it subsided, the same thing happended in the pelvis area, initially they thought pendicitis, turned out it was an acute spasm both occasions lasted a little over a week. I am glad Igot tablets though I was able to cope well with that kinda pain.

Lets hope they’ll be few and far between! xx

Hi guys

I’m possible MS - had symptoms officially for two years. I’ve had the hug at least 3 times that I can recall so hopefully I can help somewhat as to what it feels like.

Mine has generrally always affected the L side though it can go all the way round. Mine has been around the bra-line but I’ve also experienced the hug all the way up from my abdomen to under bra-line front and back.

It’s like a tight crushing corset belt like sensation or an anaconda squeezing you. I also get the neuropathic pain with it so my clothes hurt and my skin burns in that area. I can’t wear anything tight or belts or even my bra as this just makes it worse. At it’s worse I screamed when my partner touched me there and couldn’t sleep from being in so much pain from the bed touching my body. It can last anywhere from a few mintues to weeks/months. Can be constant or intermittent.

Things that helped are:

  1. hot waterbottle pressed against my back - this seemed to confuse and counteract the burning sensation.
  2. some people find wearing compression bandages useful (I didn’t)
  3. Stretching
  4. Breathing exercises

Mine was made worse by

  1. car journies (all the bumping)
  2. Tight clothing.
  3. Eating very full meals

By all means the above isn’t an exhaustive list - there are probably other things I’ve forgotten or others have tried.




Thank you so much for all the replies. Sounds as if it could be the dreaded hug, so will make sure I mention it to the new Neuro when I see him.

I have also had niggly stomach pains and a tightness in my chest that I have put down to eating too much citrus fruit, but am wondering now if it is all the same thing.

It’s scary when you get all these random pains, especially in the chest, but I suppose it’s all par for the course with this ‘limboland’ in which many of us are living.

Thanks again for all the replies.

MS hug or girdle effect

Hi all,

I just popped on here to check this out - thanks for the info… Just went to GP today with a condensed list of symptoms including really painful intercostal spasms from 2009-2010 and now a constant tingling/weird sensation around the same band, just under the bra line, which isn’t causing any problems apart from feeling odd… He said the pain was nothing to do with MS (he’s sending me to neuro for testing for all the other symptoms) so I thought I’d just made it up…

So thanks for that,


I’ve had gastro issues which I’m sure are related as they started up with my last hug episode. I know some people on here who have experienced the hug have thought they were having a heart attack so what you’re describing as pains in your chest could very well be the hug.

But too be on the cautious side if it gets worse see your GP in case it isn’t related.

Hope you feel better.



Thanks, Gokr. My tummy seems to be more or less back to normal now, but I still have the rib pain/tingling etc on and off, so will make sure I mention it to the Neuro when I see him.

I am not sure if I have had the hug or not. About 18mths ago I had my gall bladder out and ended up staying in 2days as I couldn’t breathe properly 24hrs after the op. I had a really sharp pain in my right side every time I took more than a shallow breath and a tight pain all round that side in between. It got a bit better so I could breathe but it lasted about 2 weeks where I couldn’t put a bra on or fully stand straight due to what felt like really badly pulled muscles on the right and if I walked more than a couple of 100tds I’d be crippled with it. Could never find it as a post op complication but assumed it was that now I wonder otherwise A xx

Thank you for the add. I’ve had many symptoms of ms for yrs and am having difficulty with the hug , I thought it was not related and I was afraid to tell the doctor about it but reading on here helped me so much , I cannot wear a bra ,not for very long Anyways, it just feels like I can’t breath and it so uncomfortable. I had a similar incident were a eat very little and it feels like I could explode . I believe this is what they call the hug ?..? Any co meets would be great. Help