Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
monster arms around a woman

The Hug

The “MS hug” is a hard-to-explain symptom that affects people with MS who experience a painful tightening around their torso or another part of the body. In her latest comic, Brooke imagines her MS as an invisible person creeping up behind her and squeezing her with the hug, causing her to lose her breath and thwarting an actual hug from a partner or friend.

four panel comic by Brooke Pelczynski

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Durangotan
    7 months ago

    The MS hug is the bane of my existence. Having Primary Progressive MS it is with me all the time. I find keeping active is my best therapy. Heat and humidity intensify it. I’m so glad I own a house in the mountains.

  • msbevo
    8 months ago

    I have had a few small, brief MS Hugs and then I had the “big momma” hug at night where the pain was so sharp and intense that I couldn’t breathe. It would come in waves and I was able to catch my breath between each one. I was crying and my husband was holding me most of the night. I took two Aleve and tried to take deep breaths and exhale slowly. After about two hours of this pain, I was able to relax enough to catch my breath and get some rest. I got a prescription for this the next day.

  • itasara
    8 months ago

    I had MS hugs now and then before diagnosis. Had no idea what they were but it wasn’t as painful and some people describe for themselves. I figured it was a muscle cramp of getting older. At some point I asked my internist and he too thought it was muscle cramping. After I was diagnosed and started looking up articles online about MS, I found out that I had MS hugs. I still get them but not very often since starting Copaxone 12 years ago.

  • potter
    8 months ago

    I had a problem with MS hugs before I was diagnosed, thought I was having heart problems. Potter

  • itasara
    8 months ago

    I questioned if it was a heart problem. It usually hit me when I was sitting on my bed still maybe at night. I don’t know why but I just didn’t think it was.

  • Poll