MS hug????

What exactly is the MS Hug??? Have heard it mentioned on here, and wondering if i have been getting symptoms of it. I keep getting a really sore area in my ribs. Its only ever been in a small area but varies from right side to left. Feels realy sore too touch and gets so painful i can’t lie on that side to sleep. Also get a tightening feeling in my chest as if someone or something heavy is lying on me. Tightening feeling doesn’t last long but kind of takes my breath away when it happens.

Is the MS hug classed as a relapse or is it just another symptom that comes and goes that we have to put up with??


My experience of the hug is getting a feeling as if someone is tightening up a corset behind me which causes me to arch my back and freeze in that position until it wears off. It’s very uncomfortable and unnerving.


It does sound like the hug, I’ll give you some useful hints that were given to me by someone helpful person on this board, (please see below)

Sorry I don’t know if it’s considered to be a relapse; I get it most of the time and wear a very baggy bra, mine seems to be more of a cramp type of pain these days, if I’m out when it comes on I take an Amitriptyline tablet, though it’s not something you should take if you drive, they are best taken at night. It’s probably best if you contact your MS nurse, he/she should ask your Neurologist for some treatment.Oh and try not to panic this only makes things worse.

Wendy x

"It’s a spasm of the small muscles between the ribs. Here are some tips that might help:

· Much worse in heat

· Much worse when fatigued or stressed

· Don’t wear a bra (it irritates the muscles)

· Don’t wear tight clothing… the looser the better

· Avoid large meals… little and often is better

· Lie down in/on bed if you can… and lying completely flat often helps

· Take 2 Paracetamol… if you are not on other pain med’s

· Try controlling your breathing… deep in through the nose and slowly blow out of mouth… and try and relax whole body while doing it

· Stay as cool as you can but don’t have cold shower… luke warm is better

· Rest, rest, rest and then get some more rest (if at all possible)

· Gently rub the affected area. It might feel like it’s bruised… don’t worry, that’s normal"

I too get the hug and mine is continuous and never goes away.

Corkie describes it brilliantly.

Rest, rest and rest and stay away from heat and stress if at all possible.

Shazzie xx

Hi Max

I get this too exactly how you have discribed! Then after it happens i feel like iv done 10 rounds with mike tyson. I assume its the hug but i also get it in my back. I know its muscular in my back as you can see and feel its tense xx

Hi Sammiejo

I get it in my back too, then it seems to go through to my chest. I belive it is caused by a spinal lesion.

Wendy x

Im on week 6-7 of it currently damn thing is uncomfortable have tried tramadol to no effect codeine takes the edge off of it as long as i take a diazapam with it but that maybe me being not on the planet thus the pain doesnt feature in my thoughts :slight_smile: i asked the same question and cant find the post a lady on here did an awesome write up of it the post is called “MS Hug Explanation Please” i tried the search but cant find it but well worth a read

respect sheep

I don’t know if this is any use to you sheep, I’ve kept a copy for when I need to try and understand why it happens.

'If you have multiple sclerosis and been through this before, you’ll recognize this as the mysterious MS Hug… the Chest Hug… the Girdle… otherwise known as dysesthesias. According to the Encyclopedia of Neurological Disorders*, dysesthesias is defined as:

Dysesthesias is a symptom of pain or abnormal sensation(s) that typically cause hyperesthesia, paresthesiae, or peripheral sensory neuropathy. Dysesthesias can be due to lesions (an abnormal change) in sensory nerves and sensory pathways in the central nervous system (CNS, consisting of the brain and the spinal cord). The pain or abnormal sensations in dysesthesias is often described as painful feelings of tingling, burning, or numbness.

Although it is an extremely unpleasant neurological event, it is not life-threatening.

As with most symptoms of MS, the MS Hug feels differently to individual patients. Sometimes described as feeling like being squeezed by a boa constrictor, compressed with an ever-tightening rubber band, or wearing a chest high girdle, the MS Hug actually does not interfere with the ability to breathe.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS Hug pain and discomfort are "often treated with the anticonvulsant medication gabapentin (Neurontin®). Dysesthesias may also be treated with an antidepressant such as amitriptyline’

Hi Wendy

Where do you find all this info? X

Corkie your a star thankyou have now kept a copy for my future reference really appreciate it as will the topic starter i am sure x

respect sheep

I put my hug down to feeling even more sh**te than usual like the MS gremlin has come up beside me and given me a hug that took away all thatt was been feeling OK and made all that was hurting hurt even more. It feels great and often I cant even lift my head off the pillow let alone get out of bed.


I found it on the internet; if you google MS hug you get lots of useful information, I’ve saved it on a word document for future use.

Wendy x

You’re welcome


Sorry you are feeling that bad with it Don, I hope it gives you a break soon.

Wendy x

I get it alot …sometimes worse at night and its like a tight rubber band around your rib cage as i have SP its there all the time now i get used to it …

is the underlying mechanism behind ‘the hug’ ever present else where on the body?

luckily (so far) i have not been ‘hugged’, but there have been periods of time where i feel my knees and / or lower thigh have been really tightly bandaged up. I also sometikes acquire a ‘cricket ball’ under my arm pit which digs into the side of my chest muscle.

i’m wondering if this is all the same (but different)?


Yes it does sound like you are having muscle spasms, if you explain these symptoms to your MS nurse or GP you should get some drug treatment to help, it might be worth speaking to your GP anyway, just in case it’s something else. I thought the recent pain in my back and spasms around the tummy were all to do with ms, turns out I have gall stones and now I’m waiting to have gall bladder removed, I have often been told that not everything is ms!

Wendy x