Everybody Loves A Hug, But Not MS Hugs. What Is An MS Hug?

Everybody Loves A Hug, But Not MS Hugs. What Is An MS Hug?

I love hugs. I love giving hugs. I love hugging my husband, my son, my cats, my family and friends. I’ve even been known to hug a dish of homemade chocolate ice cream drenched in hot fudge sauce.

But an MS hug? That is one hug I could easily live without.

After living with MS for 26 years and tolerating a seemingly permanent MS hug, I rarely notice the tight squeeze around my stomach.

Would I like to live without it? In a New York minute.

A common symptom of MS, the MS hug, is like MS itself. It’s different for each person. Yet it continues to be one of the most common questions among patients.

What exactly is an MS hug?

An MS hug feels like a band, or girdle-like, sensation tightening around your waist. People sometimes describe it as annoying. Others say it can become quite painful.

After searching the web, I could not find statistics on the number of people with MS that experience this sensation. If it were classified in the category of pain, up to 75% of people with MS experience some type of pain.

The hug is an abnormal sensation that is caused by a lesion on the spinal cord. This neuropathic pain is called a “paresthesia.”1,2 It is a result of tiny muscles (holding our ribs together) located between each rib that goes into a spasm.

The hug itself is different for everyone, and it can also differ within one person every day, week or month. It may not only occur in the stomach region, but can also occur low in the waist or high in the chest. It can give you trouble on one side of your body or both. Stress and fatigue may trigger it. It can last for minutes or years. The hug can range anywhere between a slight tickle to a stabbing pain.

Some people may experience an MS hug requiring a medical professional. Their breathing becomes painful, and mimics symptoms of a heart attack. Call the doctor immediately, or go to the nearest emergency room if this happens. Make sure to tell them you have Multiple Sclerosis.

An MRI or steroids may be prescribed if your hug is caused by an exacerbation. There are also various medications that may be prescribed. They include antispasticity medications, such as Lioresal, Valium and Xanaflex, and neuropathic pain relief medications, such as Lyrica and Neurontin.

I have heard stories from patients that tried Botox, which has been shown to be effective in the short term to relieve the MS hug. These patients have reported it as being fairly effective, yet it is not a cure.

I know from personal experience that the MS hug doesn’t necessarily mean someone is having an exacerbation. It could also be a pseudoexacerbation. My hug worsens if I’m feeling overly tired or I’m experiencing a lot of stress. What do I do to help manage it?

  1. Meditation and deep breathing.
  2. Rest.
  3. Cool off (sometimes with the help of cooling vests).
  4. De-stress (I read, write, knit, watch old movies).
  5. Take breaks while working.
  6. Stop worrying!

Do you experience MS hugs?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
1. Wikipedia. Neuropathic Pain. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuropathic_pain Accessed August 2013 2. NIH. Paresthesia. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/paresthesia/paresthesia.htm Accessed August 2013

Comments

View Comments (101)
  • Mascha
    8 months ago

    Hello Cathy
    I know this post is a bit older but you have written it so well,sbout the MS hug.
    My first excerbation was an MS hug which lasted 8 months. I didn’t know i had MS at that time and got told by my neurologist that was my first official excerbation. That was 2003/4 and didn’t get diagnosed till 2012. In 2016 my MS specialist told me about the hug and it was my first attack.
    I have had it on and off,especially when stressed.
    Now I’ve had it 3 weeks straight and getting worried. I got the flu and got treatment of antibiotics for my throat infection. After my flu it never left,the hug.
    I am now on steroids but in pill form and it’s taken the edge of at some moments but not entirely (?)
    I don’t know if it’s a excerbation or pseudo excerbation?
    I don’t know??

  • H Parks
    10 months ago

    Looking back over the years, the “MS Hug” was my first MS symptom. The first time it hit me hard in January of 2000, and it put me in the ER followed by months of tests. No doctor could figure out what was wrong, I even had one who suggested I was making in up! It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with MS in August of 2010 that I heard of the “MS Hug” (which was in 2011). Worst pain I’ve ever experienced!! And I’ve experienced a lot of epic pain! Every doctor I’ve ever talked to (except my MS doctor) has never heard of the “MS Hug”!! What are they teaching in medical school?

  • dustydeemk
    12 months ago

    I hate MS hugs. I have had a few that have shaken me to my core they were so bad. The worst thing about them is sometimes moving around helps them pass faster and other times it makes them worse. I will say that I have been dieting and have lost over 25 lbs so far and I have not gotten them as often. I have been told weight has not bearing on these but losing has seemed to help lessen mine. I am all for less of these hugs.

  • nanarides62
    1 year ago

    Sometimes I get a “charley horse” over my ribs that is very painful but lasts only a minute or two. The first time it happened, I had just sat up after tying a shoe. When I get it, it is a constricting feeling but not all the way around my torso, just in a specific area. I thought it odd to get a cramp in such a location. Might this be the “hug”?

    I’m not diagnosed yet. I have had two MRIs of brain 3 years apart that both showed what neurologist said were small-vessel calcifications, no change. Also had MRI of spine (without contrast, ordered by orthopedist due to advancing scoliosis) which my neurologist also looked at and said no lesions (also no stensosis or nerve involvement).

    I first went to neuro for balance and vertigo problems (also tremor in hands and head but it runs in my family). It was my urologist who mentioned MS possibly causing bladder dysfunction (retention) but my neurologist AND neuropsychologist (treating my depression) do not think it’s MS.

    I’m trying to get a referral to Multicare Neuroscience Center in Tacoma because I have a laundry list of symptoms not even listed here (including bouts of debilitating fatigue). Sorry this post is so long, I’m just frustrated and understand most folks have gone through this long journey as well and sometimes it takes a lumbar puncture to finally get a proper diagnosis. Not that I want to have MS, I just want an answer.

    BTW, I self-referred myself for a Lyme disease screening blood test to rule that out. I am being as proactive as possible. I’m 62 and in retrospect have been having symptoms of MS for at least the last 10 years. Thx for listening.
    : )

  • Mascha
    1 year ago

    My first relapse i was told 15 yrs later,it was a MS hug.
    I have had it on and off since years.
    What is the best way to treat it?? Rest?

  • westexer
    1 year ago

    This is one of my primary symptoms and it’s flaring badly in the heat and humidty this summer. I have taken Baclafen during the day and Zanaflex (Tizanadine) at night daily for years now and it helps a lot but there will always be times when it flares and I need to take more. One of my big problems is spasms between my ribs and a right arm and shoulder that seem to have a life of their own with spasming during the stretch of time while trying to fall asleep. During my flares, I usually have to get up every few hours in the night and slowly move and flex my muscles as best as I can. It makes the tightness the next day not as strong. I have also found that elevating my bed swing into and out of it more easily without having to flex my abdominal muscles as much helps me to get going too.

  • shannona56a
    1 year ago

    I have something very similar to what is described but it was always in my right forearm. That has subsided over the years but now having something similar in my right thigh almost every day. Can these hugs be in these areas?

  • DonnaFA moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Shannona56a, generally the MS hug is in the chest/torso region. It is caused by spasms in the intercostal muscles (between the ribs). Some people describe it as feeling like being squeezed by a boa constrictor. The pain you’re having sounds like spasticity, and as the cause is generally the same, I imagine they could feel somewhat similar in terms of the sensations in the muscles. Thanks for being part of the community, we’re glad you’re here. -Warmly, Donna (MultipleSclerosis.net team)

  • Sheila0313
    2 years ago

    I had an experience that I now realize may be this “hug”. I had it twice over about a 6 month period. It was terrible pain in my stomach like a band squeezing all the way around. I could not lay down. I had to go to the ER. I didn’t associate it with MS because I had never had it before. I was diagnosed with diverticulitis although the CT scan did not anything. I was treated with steroids, pain meds and antibiotics and got much better. I thought it was because of the antibiotics. It returned about 6 months later and again I went to the ER, had CT and tests run but nothing showed up so it was again treated as diverticulitis. I just now read about this and I think it describes my symptoms much more that diverticulitis.

  • Geri44
    2 years ago

    I was diagnosed with RRMS in 1993 with all the usual signs and symptoms that can be a part of MS. Then, about 8 months ago, I started having severe pain that was I was told was the “ms hug”. It felt like I had a belt tightening around my chest at T-6 / T-7 area. PT could help for brief periods of time but there has been additional symptoms that I could not find being caused by this. The pain was all centered on my left side to the point that the muscles around my ribs were compressing my left lung. My SO2 levels were dropping from my usual 98-99% down to 84%, even at rest. Also discovered my pulse dropping into the range of 44-48. These two things were both confirmed in my PCP office. Also, the lowered pulse was found on a 48 hr. holter monitor! Next step is my cardiologist to rule out anything there! Has anyone had the “ms hug” get so severe that it has affected O2 as well as pulse levels? Let’s hope I get something figured out soon! Wish me luck and I pray you all are doing well!

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    2 years ago

    I am sorry for the MS hug you are experiencing, Geri44. I know it is uncomfortable and can be painful as yours. Not fun.

    We all have the MS hug differently, as you can see by reading through these comments. I hope your doctor(s) can help you and that you continue to do some research as well to learn more so you are armed with good information. Let’s hope they find an answer for you.

    I hope your cardiologist and MS specialist are in contact with each other to discuss your case. Good luck to you and please keep us posted.

    Best~
    Cathy

  • Cynthia
    2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this. I have had MS for over 30 years and never experienced the hug until about a month ago. It was in my right abdomen around to by right back. I went to my PCP because I had pressure and I thought I had another growth on my kidney that I had many years ago. Then the pressure felt like it was also in my right lung. I had an ultrasound, then a CT scan and then an MRI which just showed scar tissue from past surgery. About a week later I had an already scheduled appt. with my neuro. I started telling her about it and she told me it was probably an MS hug. It was painful and lasted almost a month. It is better now and I hope it never comes back.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    2 years ago

    I hope it never comes back too, Cynthia!

    Good luck and keep us posted~
    Cathy

  • Lori
    2 years ago

    I get them right as I go to bed. Especially if I’ve been doing something like yard work or anything that causes me to have to bend or twist. I’ll have taken my Xanax and then lay back down and boom. It hugs me so tight my body goes ridged and it takes my breath away. I finally have started to try and slow breaths to get oxygen to help. For me it’s an extreme pain and I have a very high pain tolerance level. I make for sure I’m not on the edge of the bed because when I first got them it was either a hug or a full on body spasm because it would literally put me on the floor. My meds have helped with this sooooo much. Hang in there.

  • Brian
    2 years ago

    I had been having this for a over year went to a new doctor and explained the symptoms told him and you went O the MS hug.

  • BABSTURM
    2 years ago

    I am newly diagnosed..but think I have been dealing with MS for a long while. The firt MS Hug…(and I hate that term) was a couple of weeks ago. For me they are awful. I have fireworks going off in my arms…then it radiates through my upper body…my arms become like bricks..heavy as can be. The pressure starts in my chest and quickly goes into paid. I have a hard time breathing. It is very disturbing.

    My question is…do these only happen when you have a relapse? I am praying this slows down.

    It has been very overwhelming.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    2 years ago

    I hate that term too, Babstrum. A hug has a loving connotation. Why don’t we just say the “horrible squeeze”????

    Since I’m not a medical person I can’t offer medical advice on whether the hug happens only when you have relapses. Since we all have MS differently it will occur to us all differently. All I can offer to you is to ask your doctor to comment on your question.

    Best to you always and thanks for sharing your story.

    Cathy

  • Dianna lyn
    3 years ago

    Update..thanks Cathy for your post on this subject. No, nothing I do seems to help especially at night. Maybe, it’s because I am less active at night, that’s probably when I feel the MS Hug the most. Yes, when I eat too much food it does seem to make it worse, so now, I eat 3-5 meals a day and they are tiny healthy foods. I have tried to go vegan but, my iron tests came out way too low for all vegan diet. So, I still eat fish and chicken and pinto beans seem to help with iron. Once a week I still love my cheeseburger..

  • Linda Smith
    3 years ago

    Hi everyone. I haven’t been diagnosed with MS but have symptoms and an MRI scheduled. I have never heard of an MSHug and wondering if the pain and pressure I have in my chest and around my back is this. It has lasted as long as a week and I have gone to the ER and have all kinds of tests done on my heart and my heart is fine. They don’t know what’s wrong.

  • RAZZGRL2000
    3 years ago

    This was one of my first symptoms, Linda. Of course- like most of them, I didn’t know it could possibly be related until AFTER I was diagnosed. My “MS hug” comes on just like what you’d imagine a sort-of “only in the movies” heart attack would look like: pain/squeezing right square around my heart area. Like you, after so many times– I went to my PCP, had tests done– Nothing. Everything came back “normal”. Which, for me, is a word I want to hear– but at the same time, doesn’t help. Ultimately, I’ve chocked it up to MS and I really just wait til it passes. However, like the author says– once you’ve done the necessary work to eliminate any other possible problems, do try to help yourself by cutting down on stress, get lots of rest, cool down if you’ve overheated, etc., whatever works best for YOU

  • Betty
    3 years ago

    Over the years I’ve learned to just ignore the hug. The symptom which finally enables physicians to determine I had MS was parasthesis from the waist down. It never remitted. The numbness and tingling vary during the day in intensity. The only time I’m aware of it is when I don’t know where my feet are. I have to check to be sure my socks are off when I get into the shower.

  • westexer
    1 year ago

    Tegretol (Carbemazapine) is a wonderful, inexpensive medicine that can help damped down the tingling and vibration feelings and give a better sense of touch and connection to the ground.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    3 years ago

    Yes, after awhile you learn to live with it. As long as it’s not causing pain it’s just one of those things that’s our new normal…

  • EAB609
    3 years ago

    Diagnosed RRMS 2002 at age 42 (female, cancer survivor, and proud military mom, too). Disabled from working due to MS Fatigue and Cognitive symptoms in 2010. I have recently found that learning and practicing Tai Chi and Qigong help me feel better on many levels: physically, emotionally, spiritually (non-denominational). Considered as Internal Martial Arts, you can become a martial artist, too!! Both Tai Chi and Qigong have helped relieve balance and gait issues, MS Hug, numbness & tingling, strength, conditioning, memory and other cognitive problems, anxiety, depression, insomnia, mood swings and most of all, MS FATIGUE…a “Moving Meditation” that is amazingly simple to do on both my best and worst days. You can even do it in a chair, waiting in line, or even just visualize the moves to relax. The breathing aspect is key. Either 5 minutes or 2 hours at a time…it works, but best if work up to 20 minutes 2x a day, consistently every day. Do Tai Chi and Qigong every day. IT is a blessing in disguise. Find a reputable teacher and class…instant friends! Check your Type A personality at the door and feel the flow of Qi. Placebo? Science? Who cares…it works for me and I hope it will work for you, too! A good resource for beginners is “The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart & Sharp Mind, by Peter M. Wayne, PhD, with Mark L Fuerst.” See Amazon for more books and CDs on the topic. The WWW has so much on video, too. Read, Watch, Listen…Try it today! World Tai Chi and Qigong Day is the last Saturday in April. Join a class and get ready to participate! I popped all the pills you could imagine and they just masked the common symptoms–sure, I was more pleasant on the outside, but miserable within…such a personality conflict I could no longer endure, so I washed out of all those chemicals for now (seek your physician’s advice before any medication change). You will thank me and yourself for giving Tai Chi and Qigong a try, rich with history, culture, and benefits for young and old alike…ENJOY! Sincerely, A Budding Martial Artist and Future Tai Chi & Qigong Teacher. (A fighting MSer, just between you and me!)

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    3 years ago

    Those are such wonderful resources and I’m so glad they are working for you! I’m going to mark them down and look into everything you said. Thank you so much for sharing this important information with us!

  • GritzAndGravy
    3 years ago

    Just wondering if anyone has ever been “hugged” while they were asleep. It’s never happened to me while I’m awake, but every so often it comes on while I’m in bed. Has this happened to anyone else?

  • westexer
    1 year ago

    Yes. The hug is one of my primary issues and I need muscle relaxers both day and night now. If I forget my Zanaflex (Tizanidine) at night, I wake so stiff that it’s hard to move at first and then the first few moves to get me going causes sharp stabbing pains between my ribs. It happens during occassional breakthrough flare-ups too. Do know that it’s been very controlable with the right meds, deep breathing, movement exercises and the right height and positioned furniture.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    3 years ago

    Mine usually happens when I’m awake, but we’re all different so perhaps there are others who experience hugs when they are asleep.

  • Dreamer
    3 years ago

    Thanks so much for the info about the MS. “Hug” yes, I have it very often and yes, for me I notice more when I am overtired or stressed. I have tried all of your solutions and resting or trying to divert my thinking. Often that works. I am still searching for more treatment ideas w/o Rx. Meds. I appreciate your comments!

  • VickiW
    3 years ago

    OMG!!! I have been “hugged” — A LOT — but didn’t know what it was … thank you for sharing!

    I have noticed the hug becomes more intense as the day goes on or when I’ve pushed myself (not having enough rest).

    Now I know to what to do! THANKS 🙂

  • Donna
    3 years ago

    Had appointment this week with my neurologist and did discuss this HUG I’m having. He doesn’t believe it’s an exacerbation because of lack of other signs. My hug seeme to be pretty much constant, but worse from time to time. It’s not painful, although I do regularly have back pain in waist and shoulder blade area. Does anyone have any suggestions for what helps with this uncomfortable feeling?

  • Dreamer
    3 years ago

    Yes. I found a wonderful massage therapist with reasonable prices and now I visit her often to help with shoulder and neck pain. I think mine is related to the desktop p.c . M. S. Is very exhausting and sometimes stressful which adds to the shoulder pain.

  • Donna
    3 years ago

    I have been diagnosed with MS since about 1987, but only in the last few months noticed this squeezing sensation around my waist. When I saw this term I began wondering if this was what I was feeling. Haven’t had an exacerbation in a long time so don’t think I’d call in that. Have a routine appointment soon with my neurologist so I’m making a note to discuss it with him. Thanks so much for the article.

  • Rob
    4 years ago

    Hi Cathy,
    Can you tell me more about the folks that have had Botox for the MS Hug? I’ve searched for info, talked to a Botox rep, a doctors office she recommended, and nothing. The Dr.’s office even called an MS center here in Michigan and they didn’t know about it either.
    I have the Hug 24/7/365. It never goes away but, it can get worse. I take a combo of Baclofen and Zaniflex and it helps. I know this because if I miss a dose or more I pay for it for several days, to a week, or more! Most of the time I can tolerate it though, every movement (especially bending forward)adds to it like a bell curve. The more I do, the worse it gets and the worse it get’s, the longer it takes to settle down. It can hamper my diaphragm from moving freely.
    If you or anyone can point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciated that. I need something more to control this. Of all my symptoms, and I have a few, this is the one that lowers my QOL the most.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    4 years ago

    Unfortunately, Rob, the people I was referring to were patients at my old MS Center and their stories were told to me years ago. So I have no way to follow up with them.

    Since I am a medical person my only advice would be to keep following what you are doing by contacting physicians/MS Centers – and also to contact National MS Society, MS Foundation and MS Association of America to see if they have any suggestions as well.

    Perhaps you could turn to alternative websites (my favorite is drweil.com) too, and maybe acupuncture or some sort of holistic modality would be helpful.

    I wish I could give you some advice to make it go away! I feel for you and will keep you in my good thoughts that you find a way to alleviate this hug that we definitely don’t want!

  • Rainy4566
    4 years ago

    They thought I had firbormyalgia and my neurologist said it’s ms. I am pretty blessed only one lesion. I ride my bike all summer long in the park humidity does slow me down. The cold is horrible on me. We were in florida for two weeks and the one night it went down to 40. I walked outside and the hug came. I couldn’t breathe and the pain is like a squeezing and tighness. Then other times I get just left sided really bad pain like my organis are coming out from under my ribs. After an emg was awful I was in tears and couldn’t breathe until they gave me meds to relax the pain. It has happen on the plane twice. I have done really good for years but this last winter and now this one is bad. I have really bad spasm and spastiscity issues legs, feet, hands back etc. When they first told me I had fibro. I worked my way back to healthy riding a bike for two minutes a day then three etc. I had another baby and didn’t start rowing again after and then it became active. This time I have the shocks and eye issues and now we know. The doctor said if I had a knickel I would be rich for everyone that was told fibro when it’s MS. I am back to rowing on my erg for three minutes a day and I am taking zanaflex to help with the muscles and I will be getting a holder for my bike to ride it indoors. I did it once and I can do it again. The doctor told me I did so good all these years from rowing on the erg and biking. The one bad part for me is I had a biospy done on my neck and the doctor cut three nerves and I have that issue to deal with along with this which causes it’s own issues. I have had buristis in my hip years back etc. Massages help. But the ms hug and the muscles getting stiff, spasms and pulling. these are the hard things to deal with. I have a high pain tolerance. MY husband is a medic and yesterday he ran to get my medicnes because the hug was awful yesterday. Longest one I ever had. even when they stop the muscles are sore like you over worked them.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    4 years ago

    So sorry you had to deal with this, Rainy. It is quite frightening. Thanks for sharing your story and I will keep you in my prayers.

  • vivi
    4 years ago

    I had my first “HUG” about a year ago. I thought I had broken by lower rib on the left side. I had a cramping sensation in that area that just wouldn’t go away. My physician did x-rays and then told me I had (costrocondritis)probably spelled wrong, however, meaning I had inflammation in the muscles between my ribs. He told me it was not that uncommon with MS. Well, it was sure uncommon to me. I still have episodes of this. I never know when it’s going to happen and it sure serves to be a nuisance. I have also had strange sensations that feels like my diaghram is twisting. There are certainly some very strange things that occur that if I didn’t know I had MS it would absolutely scare me to death. Heck, it kinda scares me anyway because even though one knows that they have MS, some of the symptoms are so rapid and leaves one wondering what it is. I don’t think anyone can ever get use to a “New Symptom”. I know I can’t. Thanks you all for sharing your experiences. Praying for all.

  • Dory
    4 years ago

    Recently I have been having this excruciating pain in my back all the way across my back right below my shoulder blades. It isn’t there the whole day but I notice it more in the evenings. The other night it was so bad it literally stole my breath while I had a plate in my hand scraping leftovers into a container while talking with my husband. I have never had it quite so bad and it took about 30 seconds or so before I could breath, speak some, and move. Does this sound like ms hug? My lesions presented on my spine and cause me lherrmities (sp?) sign but never this so not sure if it could be this and meaning new lesions. I just had my mris done in June. Any input would be appreciated. Thank you.

  • Dianna lyn
    4 years ago

    Cathy,
    I know this is an old post, but my question is: how is the Ms hug related to eating too much food, is this related, does it seem to exacerbate the symptoms? Do you know the answer? ..thanks, Dianna

  • Donna
    3 years ago

    Diana, I just saw your old post, and I too wondered about how eating too much relates. I haven’t been able to correlate the hug to eating at all. No change if I eat a lot, a little or nothing. Have you found anything that helps?

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    4 years ago

    I don’t know the answer to that question but it’s a good one, Dianne lyn. Sorry and I hope you find your answer through research – nmss.org. Best, Cathy

  • BonnieB
    5 years ago

    I have had MS since 1999 (after a Hep B vaccination!) And, I have had the MS ‘Hug’ since 2008. Started with a few spasms, tightening around my middle like labor without pain, at first. Then it became an all the time thing. But, with a LOT of pain. I went for every gastrointestinal test possible. Even swallowed a camera.. everything came back negative. Finally, one doctor told me it was the MS Hug. I lived on the West Coast and my neuro understood about the ‘hug’. I moved to the East Coast last year and went to a well known South Florida MS Specialist who told me that abdominal muscle spasms weren’t part of MS. I became stressed in his office so the ‘hug’ became very intense. When it intensifies, my abs get rock hard and expand a few inches – so, I asked him to feel my abdomen – he admitted I was right, it was obviously muscle spasms and said he had never seen or heard of it. It never goes away completely, just gets so bad my navel feels like it will pop out and I can hardly walk – can’t use muscles below the ‘hug’. Has anyone had this type of symptom, or just the rib tightening (I get that, too). Does it ever go away??

  • VickiW
    3 years ago

    Bonnie … I have the same symptoms with my “hug”. My abdomen becomes distended and is rock hard as you describe. It is very painful.

    My chiropractor and primary care doctor have told me it’s costochondritis. I doubted both believing it was MS related.

    I’m so glad Cathy wrote this article. I now know what it is!

  • Mr.Stoneguy
    5 years ago

    Wow, I had almost totally forgotten about the “waistband”, as I used to call it. I used to get that fairly often, for the first 12+ years or so, but I haven’t had one in years now. No explanation either. I try to follow the Wahls diet and do not take any MS drugs.

    I’ve been diagnosed with RRMS for 27 years but I have been in “remission” for a long time now. I say “remission” because I do have invisible symptoms, that I don’t relate to as “MS” symptoms, and I don’t even know the name of the condition. It has to do with muscle tension that disallows my bladder from emptying.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Perhaps you should get that check out, Mr. Stoneguy, in case you want to address that symptom and before the possibility of it getting any worse. I am not a medical person, but I would suggest you seek medical attention.

    I am glad you have not had many issues at all with MS.

  • k8kix80
    5 years ago

    I’ve read through all these comments and found it so interesting. There are so many things that make me question… Is it MS, is it not?? I find it hard to tel! During the past year I’ve had pelvic pain off and on that I’d describe as similar to menstral cramping (but definitely nit) … sometimes dull and other times sharper. Also this past year I’ve had 2 new lesions. I’ve just recently started to question if the pelvic pain is the MS Hug or not. Have not yet discussed with my doc. Has anyone else experienced this in the pelvic region?

  • vivi
    4 years ago

    Hello Kxkix. I had a very strange and somewhat painful discomfort in my right side a few months ago and have had it again from time to time. I thought it was my appendix until I remembered I didn’t have my appendix anymore. I felt like I had a muscle pulled in my right side. It did hurt all the way to my groin area. However, the pain or discomfort would go away and then a couple of days later would come back. I did go to my physician who once again told me it was my abdominal muscles that I was having spasm’s in. Knock me over and call me stupid. Never would have thought it would have been caused by the MS.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    I do have certain issues in that area from time to time, and I actually have an appointment coming up which I will discuss with my doctor.

  • Emily46227
    5 years ago

    Thank you for posting this. I have this occasionally and did not know what is what. All I know s sometimes when it happens I can barely move for days afterwords because I am in so much pain

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    I am so sorry you are experiencing that, Emily, and hope you can speak with your doctor on whether there is anything you can do to alleviate the pain.

  • LdyVeratten
    5 years ago

    I have often wondered what that was. I had these odd pains that felt as if someone was gripping me around the chest hard. It made me just hurt allot. Finding that it is something that happens to allot of people I feel that at least I am not alone.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    I am glad you feel less alone, but I would urge you to speak with your doctor about the pain you are experiencing.

  • Saskia
    5 years ago

    For YEARS I thought (what I now know is an MS hug) that my ribs were going out of joint because my joints are all hyper-extendible and I had had lung surgery when I was 17 with lots of adhesions & scar tissue. So I’d go to my chiropractor to have them adjusted back into place – which relieved the spasms. I would use pain killers and heat to try to take the spasms away when I couldn’t get to see the chiro.

    A few years ago, I had just sat down for a concert, and suddenly I went into such spasms all around my lungs, that I was jerking and couldn’t speak. My husband & friend helped me out of the hall, thinking that I was having an epileptic seizure. After about an hour, the jerking stopped enough that I could finally speak properly.

    After many episodes like this, I also developed severe spasms from my butt to my toes, all muscles moving in different directions, so I couldn’t stretch them out. I remember asking my husband to “just shoot me now”, or “just put me OUT, bang me on the head so I go unconscious!”. I finally got help through taking Baclofen for the spasms. I then noticed that the spasms around my lungs were much reduced. I have stopped going to chiro for adjustments, because I realized it was spasm that was causing my ribs to go ‘out’, not that the out-of-place ribs were causing the spasms. BIG savings for me!!

    I now meditate, take massage, Reiki treatments, use heat packs, pounding showers, and also take marijuana to keep the pain tolerable. Rest, of course, is my first line of defence. It’s amazing how more able to tolerate the MS Hug I am, now that I have the knowledge of it.

    My ongoing mantra is: “It is what it is, and at least my heart and soul are healthy!”

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    That’s a great mantra to have! It should also coincide with regular checkups which, I hope, you are getting.

    Lowering our stress helps a great deal. You should like you are doing many wonderful things for yourself.

  • June White
    5 years ago

    I’m glad someone is finally talking about this. I have had it for years but didn’t have a name for it. Most of the time it is in my upper stomach area and it’s very painful! I’m very sorry that so many other people have this, but I’m relieved to know I’m not alone. I do know that heat really affects me and when I get the least bit hot I start having these “hugs”. I know that stress will also bring them on.
    Good luck to all of you that have MS. I enjoy reading about others and sometimes it makes me realize mine isn’t all that bad! Good luck to all of you. 🙂

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    It’s always nice to know we are not alone in our MS journey, and I am glad our posts help you feel less alone!

  • itasara
    5 years ago

    Like many of you, I had these “hugs” on an off for awhile, but I can’t remember now how long. Often I’d be sitting still when the squeezing occured usually above my waist and lower chest. It was never that painful but I’d think is this a cardiac problem? I’d think about it and said no, probably not, probably muscular. I don’t go to the doctor often but I think I emailed him and he said it was probably a muscular spasm of some kind.
    one of my children was diagnosed with MS three years before I was. She was just under 20. A complete surpise and someone devistating diagnosis not knowing what we do today. I don’t remember her complaining about hugs. I continued to have them but not frequently. Then bingo I got the first real symptom of Transverse myelits. I knew what is was right away b/c my daughter had it also. I eventually saw my internist who said I was okay but should have an MRI which showed two back lesions and confirmed TM. Because of my daughter’s diagnosis I had a brain MRI the next day and was diagnosed. I must have had MS a long time but never knew. No one else in my family had it that I know of. So my neurolgist at my first visit asked me if I had the hugs-using the french term that I can never remember. But I had already looked up TM and MS where I found out what the hugs were. Since I have been on copaxone, I don’t have them very often. Once in awhile i’ll feel one coming on but it goes away quickly.

  • Joan
    5 years ago

    I too have had MS 20+ years. Thought I’d experienced it all till this new thing you call a “hug” came along. My right side has always been the more user friendly to Ms but now I get these awful sharp stabbing pains in my rib cage. Takes my breath away its so stabbing sharp Doesn’t last too long & happens mostly when I sit for more than 1 hr. Length of time is about 15 mins but seems longer very painful.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi Joan,

    I’m not a medical person, but that sounds like a “hug” (boy, I hate that term!)

    Have you ever asked your MS specialist about what you’re feeling? Perhaps you ‘d like to discuss it with him/her to see whether there’s anything that can be done. It’s not fun, but you never know whether you can get even some relief.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Good luck and best of everything,
    Cathy

  • SueZbell
    5 years ago

    I experienced the HUG for over a decade without understanding the cause. With varying frequency each day (more with more physical activity or certain actions involving reaching, lifting and/or twisting), peripheral neuropathy (pins & needles, slightly burning static electricity sensation usually beginning in legs) comes in waves that build in intensity culminating in a painful HUG around the chest of varying duration that, if it lasts long, is then followed by my hands going partially numb.

    Did anyone else have long term (decade) inflammation after an injury that was untreated before their “hugs” began?

  • summer
    5 years ago

    I didn’t even know this… I always thought that maybe my waist band was to tight… then I check.. and it’s loose… I’ve been puzzled :/

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    You’re not alone in that feeling, summer! I did the same thing. It’s sort of nice to know there IS a reason for what we are feeling. Now to get rid of it – that’s another story.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Best~
    Cathy

  • Pops
    5 years ago

    I have been experiencing the hug since the early 80’s. The most frustrating part was that no one could make it any better. I was in the Navy, working as a nuclear engineer on different ships. The hug hit me real hard one day when I was in the engineroom. The pain was so intense that they carried me out on a stretcher, they thought I was having a heart attack. The next few years I spent bouncing around to every Dr the military had. It wasn’t MS I was told, it doesn’t cause any pain. I got some relief from the Pain Clinic. They would put a hole thru my rib cage and feed in a catheter. Then they filled it up with anethesia. It would make my whole side numb but gave me some relief. I had these done once a month for more than 2 years. I was finally diagnosed with MS in 1985 and finished out my 22 year career on shore duty. I did manage to talk my way back to full duty when the first Gulf War broke out. I couldn’t tolerate the heat in the plants and when the hostilities were over I was sent home.
    I have had this wonderful hug for over 30 years. It varies in intensity, it gets very bad if I do too much yard work or just get over stressed. I deal with it with Baclofen, and prescription pain killers. I am 100% disabled with both the VA and Social Security. I try to just ignore it and do as much as I can. Take care…

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your amazing yet heartbreaking story. You had MS in the “dark ages” when the medical community didn’t know very much about it.

    I want you to know I think you are very brave to continue on as you did, despite your symptoms. A weaker type of person might have given up.

    I am sorry you went through such an agonizing procedure to try to erase the hug. (I HATE that term – it is NOT a hug at all.)

    I thank you for your active service from the bottom of my heart. I am glad you were finally diagnosed, and I hope your benefits help in some way with your MS. Though I know they can be paltry at times (not fair or appropriate).

    Your story will stay with me for a long time. Thank you once again for sharing it with me and our audience, Pops.

    Best to you always,
    Cathy

  • April101
    5 years ago

    ScarletOH has prompted me to look up costochrondritis. Many times I’ve had that feeling of bruised ribs, now I can follow the old prescription of “don’t touch it”.

  • uncle_jack
    5 years ago

    I’ve had the hug so bad it’s put me in the hospital. Not only do I get lower abdominal pain, but I get lower back pain to boot. Extremely painful.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Oh, I am so very sorry that you experience a “hug” to that extent, uncle_jack. I hope they can find you some relief. Has any medication or alternative therapies helped in any way? I hope you can find one that can make you feel better.

    Best to you always,
    Cathy

  • Maris
    5 years ago

    I too have suffered with the HUG since my early days of Betaferon, which I was on for 9.5 years. The HUG (bad name, I agree) then came every 2-6 weeks. It was severe for several hours and then stayed residually for days. It left me eshausted to the core for at least several days.

    I’ve been on Tysabri for 1 YR 5 MOS now and have had HUG ATTACKS only about 4 times, for shorter periods of time, though the strength of it and the after effects remain the same.

    I don’t know which I hate more, the HUG or TN that I have 24/7 🙁 .

    Be well and feel good ;-),
    Maris

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Thank you, Maris. I pray you continue you toward better health and wellness that you richly deserve!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Best always,
    Cathy

  • Wendy
    5 years ago

    I have to admit, when I had the exacerbation that led to my diagnosis in early 2010, I didn’t know any of the symptoms of MS. At my first visit to the neurologist I included in my description of how I was feeling, that it felt like someone had a wrapped a tight rubber band around my lower rib cage. It was like one of those elastic exercise bands with a knot in the front. It was on my front side from armpit to armpit, not in the back. At the time, I didn’t realize it was a symptom, but in the days following my visit, I did a lot of research on MS and saw many descriptions of the MS hug syndrome. It was nice to get the validation, even though my doctor hadn’t acknowledged one way or the other that many folks with MS list it as a symptom. It was constant during my first month or so, I remember thinking if I had to live with that pain for the rest of my life, I wasn’t sure I wanted to stick around.

    Fortunately, as the months passed, the agony diminished. I still get it often, but it’s nowhere near as drastic as those first days. When I’m home, if it bothers me, I usually remove my bra which helps. I breathe deep from my lower abdomen when it’s bad, but like some others have mentioned, sometimes it feels like I can’t get a full breath and get kind of panicky. Sometimes it feels like indigestion too, but I’m pretty sure those times it’s actually THE HUG!

    It just amazes me that any neurologist is not aware of this symptom, but it seems they’re out there in abundance! They’d do themselves and their patients a big service if they’d check out sites like this one from time to time to get the “real” scoop! 🙂

    Thanks for posting these topics. It’s not only informative, but comforting to share and read about others’ experiences!

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    I am so glad you found comfort in this article, Wendy. Then it was all worth it. I think, perhaps, we should ALL tell our doctors and everyone who will listen about this website. It is endlessly informative and comforting.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us.
    Cathy

  • Mixy
    5 years ago

    Wow, I’m so glad I’ve finally found something about this. Thank you. My partner has MS and some days, what we now know is the MS hug can near knock him to the ground, or further if he is already down.(it is very very painful for him) We only heard this term about a month ago from a friend who has MS and as we had been to the Drs and had ultra sounds, X-rays and every test possible to find out what was causing it. And yet we bought it up with our neuro and she had not heard of such a thing. Yet again. Thank you

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Be sure to take this post with you when you go to the doctor. Then they can see that this is indeed a very real symptom of MS, one that happens often. Beyond that, I would say to find a doctor who will listen to you, and try to help you as a team.

    I hope your boyfriend feels better after consulting with his doctor and trying some meditation or another modality of his choice.

    Thank you for sharing your story, Mixy.

    All good wishes~
    Cathy

  • nancytngirl
    5 years ago

    I could write a book on this topic. Sadly for me, my very “first” clinically diagnosed attack of MS was a 8 MONTH long ordeal of MS Hug, but this term was never said to me, furthermore, “In 30 medical years of practice I NEVER heard of this before!!” Honey I had it so bad, it started in my left chest, then spread into entire chest, then lastly into my abdomen. I never heard of it being exclusively in the abdominal region before, but since mine did end up going there as it spread, I do now believe it could. For me its mostly chest, heart, lungs, and definitely the back and spinal area as well.

    My elderly Dr who was nearing retirement, told me he never heard of it, I never got any treatment for it, I had to beg for leg spasm medications, but the thought of needing anti-spaz meds for my chest as well, well that was just unheard of. I would sit half coherant in his office with my arm around my chest, trying to soothe the horrible ache.. I remember his comment, “Why are you holding yourself like that? No wonder your chest feels tight.” My answer : Compression. When you stub your toe, what do you immediately do? Grab and squeeze, its the same exact thing I was doing for 8 months. I even ended up buying surgical stockings for my legs, to benefit from the firm compression. Honey that was the only thing that kept me going, compression on my legs to continue to walk, continue to work, yea oddly enough I still worked through all of this!! I was 27 at the time.

    It got so bad toward the last 2 or 3 months I would have severe OMG hyperventilation episodes where I would breathe involuntarily in the deepest most rapid way, it felt like no matter how desperate I was for air, I never got any air, I was suffocating, my body struggling with its life to stay breathing, to stay conscious, to not die during mid attack, to fall unconscious on the floor. If it only happened a time or 2, I could ignore it, but this was FREQUENT and Horrifying. I clearly remember passing out unconscious once before I could make it to dial 911. But you cant even speak in this state.. mostly gasp for air “*gasp* cant *gasp* breathe *gasp* help *gasp* me.” Think I’m exaggerating? NOPE! Every DR I saw thought I was just being some hysterical female, over-reacting. I knew I would die without medical intervention. Last few weeks, I no longer ate food, I survived off ONE pack of cheese crackers from my work’s vending machine per the entire day, if I tried to eat more I would immediately puke. No medication, nothing, he ordered all the standard MS tests, spinal tap, MRI ((had 8 lesions – though spinal scans were never done till 20 years later – by then spinal damage was extensive)) I even had my heart and lungs examined, EKGs and XRays, I had a definite irregular heartbeat, felt often like my heart skipped beats or felt like it would ocassionally beat backward, but still yet no meds were prescribed, I was just some weird anomaly. It wasn’t till I went blind in my left eye did I ever get any speck of help. Solumedrol for 5 days in hospital. But the damage had been done, the neglect has scarred me to this day. I never once got tested for oxygen or given any breathing aides, I just suffered.

    I quit him as a DR after I got diagnosed and on Betaseron, but next DR was exactly the same, just waiting to see how bad bad can get before making any effort to help me, pretty mush ALL Drs where I live are the same, and YES I’ve tried. Always the same answer, “In all my years of practice, I’ve never heard of this before!!”

    My Family DR, general practioner, he was convinced it was “anxiety” and put me on PAXIL, a misdiagnosis that I have never been able to erase from my record to this day, 20 years later.

    OK, now for the big question .. Will this happen to me?? To this day, after 20 years I am the only one I know of to experience this to this devastating extent. This is the worst cast I have, or anyone I know, has ever heard of. I’ve spent my life in fear of this. The 5 day Solumedrol and Betaseron actually put me into remission for I think 7 – 8 years, my body healed like it had never happened, fully functional, worked full time, etc… well until next time… I am Secondary Progressive now. But I’ve had MS most of my life.

    I never even heard the term MG HUG until 2 years ago, from someone on the internet I befriended, I thought they were joking at the time.

    Recap: this is only MY STORY, and am told its a unique one, everyone of us is different. This doesn’t mean it will happen to you, but then again, who knows.

  • nancytngirl
    4 years ago

    UPDATE: Over the past 27 years, I’ve tried a couple of drugs. Requip, ‘restless leg syndrome’ was def not my problem, it didn’t help at all, but that was what my 1st eldery near retirement DR gave me. Took it for 10+ years because I was never given any other alternatives. Baclofen is the most common drug of choice, tho I dont know why, It’s even available in a surgically implanted pump form. As my doses of Baclofen (pill form) increased, so did any tightness or spasms!! It worked the exact opposite for me. I’m writing this as most EVERY MS DR you’ll talk to is gonna go straight for the baclofen every time.. In recent past couple years its made me a lot WORSE. My answer?? VALIUM!!! Who knew? But its a life changer for me. I’m just throwing this info out there in the chance it might help others. I can’t imagine what would have happened if i had allowed them to put the baclofen pump in me. I’m just saying what works for some doesn’t work for others, and can potentially make them worse. I hope you all have had better drs then mine and never have to go what I’ve been thru. Bless you all. And sorry for rambling on. 🙂

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Oh, my goodness! You’ve certainly been on a long and difficult road with this, nancytngirl. My, my. I am so very sorry for all you’ve had to endure and all your pain and suffering. I send you healing prayers and hope that you will have a good doctor that will listen to you and help you the way in which you deserve.

    Thank you so very much for sharing your own unique story with us. I wish you all good things~
    Cathy

  • Sandy
    5 years ago

    Prior to my diagnosis, when they were looking for what could be wrong with me, they gave me a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Well, you know I started researching everything on fibro I could find, & discovered the “fibro hug” which pretty closely resembled what I was feeling. Of course, I now know it’s MS, and the “hug” seems to be one of my most prevalent symptoms. I deal with it most days, at some point, usually in the evening when the fatigue kicks in. Meditation, deep breathing, & stretching, really helps. I love a good hug, but this one, I could do without.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Agreed. I have fibro too, so who knows if the hug is from fibro or MS. Doesn’t matter; it’s still there.

    In the meantime, I give you a real VIRTUAL hug!

    Cathy

  • Jennifer
    5 years ago

    Wow I always thought it was the feeling that I was putting on weight or extremely bloated. But it is not. It feels like my ribs are always wrapped up..

    I am sure glad I found this website. I have learned alot in the 30 minutes I have been on it. 🙂

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    How marvelous, Jennifer! I am so glad you found it too, and that you learned something.

    We are all having this hug that we’d all rather be without! Here’s to more hugs from loved ones, but no hug from MS~

    Best,
    Cathy

  • Bob
    5 years ago

    I have had that wonderful experience. An all-day affair that left my rib cage so soar I could hardly move the next couple of days. That was the first time and the second time was not any better. My third time felt more like my spine was being squeezed and lasted all-day and again the following day my back hurt so bad I had a hard time at work moving around. The pain isn’t so severe that I am not able to do anything it’s just that it lasts so long that the pain lingers after that cramp is over.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Really a lot of fun, isn’t it Bob?

    I am so sorry you are experiencing the so-called “hug” with pain and cramping. It’s lousy, to say the least. I hope you can find a medication or meditation – or something – to give you some relief.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Best to you~
    Cathy

  • betennant
    5 years ago

    For me, it is miserable. I thought for a long time it was something else, because I was a late diagnosis, but it feels like my ribcage is tight and also like I am breathing with effort but the air is doing me no good. It is good to pretend it is ok, not focusing on it, instead focusing on breathing deep into my belly expanding it last and slowly breathing out pulling it in last at the belly last. I have albuterol but mostly that does not work. I try relaxing by hanging my head over the bead. Concentrating on whatever else I can, to take my mind off it is most important for me.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    You are doing fine, betennant! I am sorry you are having such difficulties with the “hug” (boy, do I hate that term, since it’s NOT a hug!)

    Have you spoken to your MS specialist about trying another medication. My hug is not as bad as yours, so I can’t say what medication has worked for me. But if it’s troubling you (and it sure sounds as if it is) you should speak with your physician.

    Good luck with taking good care to getting relief from this ridiculous hug. Please keep us posted.

    Best~
    Cathy

  • betennant
    5 years ago

    ok. sorry about that breathing part, it is backwards. A lot of my thinking is backwards and my talking too!

  • Dee
    5 years ago

    I am so glad I found this link. I have had an MS hug of and on for years. It is the worst symptom of MS that I have. What gives you relief?

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi Dee,

    At the end of my post I list some of the things that give me some relief. I hope some of them will work for you as well.

    Take good care and thanks for leaving a comment~
    Cathy

  • Dalene
    5 years ago

    I have been having this sensation for a few months now, but did not know what it was. I will be sitting in the evening and all of a sudden my waist constricts, almost like whatever I am wearing has suddenly gotten to small at the waist for me. It usually only lasted for an hour or so at first, and it was only once in a while but now it is happening nearly every day and lasting much longer. So far I really only notice it if I am not busy.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Dalene,

    It’s just a guess, but perhaps fatigue or stress trigger it. If it becomes an issue I suggest you speak with your doctor.

    It is annoying, isn’t it? But if you try some of my suggestions perhaps they will help.

    Good luck and take good care of yourself~
    Cathy

  • Sandra Boe
    5 years ago

    One of the most annoying symptoms I had when I was first diagnosed in 1998 was the hug. It was so tight I had trouble breathing comfortably.I felt like I had a fiant rubber band around my chest. I did not receive any medication to alleviate this discomfort. It finally went away and I did not experience it again until I had a relapse about three years ago. It was brief, but intense, and bad enough that the friend I was with called 911 thinking I was having a heart attack. I knew I wasn’t because it was exactly the same hug as I’d had with my initial severe attack that led to my diagnosis. I was very annoyed to have to spend the day in the hospital undergoing all these tests for my heart when I knew it was the MS. NO ONE LISTENED TO ME! I kept telling them — it’s not my heart! I have MS! It was the MS Hug! 14 hours later a cardiologist finally came in and said my heart was fine, there was no sign of any cardiac symptoms whatsoever but she wanted me to get a prescription of nitro just in case. I never got it filled. I haven’t had it happen again until recently I got a slight tightness lower down my waist when I experienced a mild, longer relapse that didn’t have much impact on me except slow me down for a couple of weeks. I have also experienced the same rubber-band tightness around my fingers. My lesions are on my cervical spinal cord. Not a great place if I ever get really bad. But, it is what it is. I feel fortunate to be as well as I am.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Good for you, Sandra, in your conclusion. We have to find the positive in our life amid all of the issues MS brings to our door.

    Sorry you had to go through all of that at the hospital. The medical staff has to check everything out once you are registered in the ER – they can’t release you until they do. So I’m sorry you had to wait so long to find out you were right in the first place.

    Take good care of yourself, and keep that positive attitude. We are always here for you!

    Best~
    Cathy

  • Sonya
    5 years ago

    I agree with ScarlettOH, I love your writing!!
    While I have never experienced the hug,& am now hoping I never do, I was wondering if you ever have flushing sensations? I get these all the time, & have asked my doctor about them, even had some tests done, but no conclusion was ever reached. I just wondered if anyone else experiences this.
    Blessings to you & keep writing ♥
    Sonya

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    I know there are people who complain of flushing, anecdotally. My flushes come from the hot flashes of menopause! So I don’t know whether it’s MS or menopause.

    Perhaps you could research flushing a bit more and find some answers. I would suggest going to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website and type “flushing” in their search box. They can be found at http://www.nmss.org

    Good luck to you, Sonya, and thank you for leaving your comments.

    Best~
    Cathy

  • ScarlettOH
    5 years ago

    Love your writing and your style!

    I think there are some differing opinions on what an MS hug is and what causes it (though none on how unpleasant it is). I’ve seen quite a lot of descriptions, including some that clearly are not the hug, but probably costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the tissue between the ribs. Have had this many times myself. One way to tell the difference is that costochondritis hurts the way a bad bruise hurts; if you touch it, it’s painful. The old-time solution: Don’t touch it!

    Other mimics of the hug include gastric issues, pulled muscles, and of course, a heart problem. This last needs to be dealt with right away, however unsure we are that the heart is to blame. The web has lots of info on this that readers can research.

    For me, the hug has been extreme pressure on my sternum, as if someone is pushing the heel of his hand very hard there. Sometimes it’s more to the right, but it’s never been close to all the way around. Or at least I think that’s the hug. I had this off and on for 3 weeks at one point, but since then it’s a rare occurrence and I’ve just figured it would go away. It has.

    There are differing views in terms of cause. Most say it’s a muscle spasm induced by a spinal lesion. If it is, this is a real pain from a real physical issue, and thus not a paresthesia, which is the result of a misfiring nerve, and there is nothing actually wrong where the discomfort/pain/agony is occurring. I have no clue. I do know that whoever named it the hug had a warped sense of humor.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Scarlett,

    Thank you for the lesson and the information! I did not come across what you are discussing in my research, so I always welcome learning more and finding out some answers.

    Of course the TRUE answer would be getting rid of the hug altogether!

    Thank so much for leaving your comments~
    Cathy

  • cjean66
    5 years ago

    I’m not a fan of the hug…….I have it all the time now…..it shifts between discomfort and pain.

  • Dee
    5 years ago

    I completely understand. I am just like you, I have it all the time and it is the worst symptom I have with MS

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    I am sorry, cjean66. No, it’s not something to be happy about. I do hope you can find some comfort from medications or complementary medicines. I certainly hope you can.

    Take good care~
    Cathy

  • Pammie
    5 years ago

    Thanks for this! I’ve always had this, but never knew why. I feel like there’s an ace bandage wrapped around my middle all of the time!

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Exactly, Pammie. Great description! I am so glad you learned a little something. I always do, too, when I research for articles.

    I send you a virtual hug today!

    Best~
    Cathy

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