Before I knew the term ‘MS Hug’, I used to explain that I felt like I was wearing an invisible corset that I couldn’t take off!
One of my best friends often experiences the MS hug when she has a relapse and she said it can be quite painful. She often gets treated with steroids to reduce inflammation. Apparently, it’s quite hard to breathe and the muscles between your ribs feel very tight.
The MS Hug only happens for me during a relapse. If I am experiencing this sensation, it’s an indication that I’m having a relapse and need to contact my neurologist.
If you’ve never felt an MS hug before it can be quite alarming, but it usually comes on quick and lasts only for a short amount of time.
If you experience chest pains, you should report these to your doctor to rule out other conditions and talk about how to best manage it.
The MS hug is caused by spasms in the tiny muscles between the ribs. This happens when nerve damage caused by MS interrupts communication between the brain and the muscles, which can give your chest muscles an incorrect signal to tighten.
Similar symptoms to the MS hug have also been seen in other inflammatory conditions that cause damage to nerves in the spinal cord, so talk to your doctor so other causes can be ruled out.
Ways to ease pain during an MS hug
There are several things you can try to help relieve the feelings of an MS hug when it strikes. Everyone is different, so you may need to experiment to find out which methods work best for you. Examples include:
Ways to help with an MS hug over the long-term
There are also some steps you can take to help manage your MS hug over the long term. These are things you can do over time that can make the feelings of an MS hug less uncomfortable and easier to cope with:
Everybody’s experience of the MS hug is different, so your management plan will need to be tailored to you. Try some of these different approaches and speak to your healthcare team to find what might work best for you.