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  • Kris-MSConnection
    The MS Hug, a type of pain that falls under the medical term dysesthesia, feels different for everyone. Some people describe a boa constrictor-type squeezing that is almost constant. Other people describe a band of burning pain that comes and goes. If you’ve experienced the MS hug, please share what it feels like for you. Have you identified any triggers? How long does it last? Have you developed coping strategies? And, lastly, what is the one thing you’d want a person who is newly diagnosed to know about it?
  • april9517
    The Ms hug is one of my main symptoms- however I only get it on my right side. I have found stress is the biggest trigger for it. I realize a situation may be stressing me when I start feeling it come on. It feels like a tightening girdle that is getting so tight my ribs could snap at any minute. It can last me minutes to full days. I use CBD lotions when I get it and it does a good job of alleviating a lot of the discomfort. Breathing exercises and just relaxing help me too. Id want someone newly diagnosed to know that it is important to stay calm and relaxed during an episode of it. It can feel like your lungs are squeezing or like any movement will cause your ribs to snap but it wont. I d also want them to know to not just assume that it is an MS hug, but to make sure to go to your doctor for any new symptoms, sometimes we think everything is our MS and disregard things, but it is important to rule out other factors as well. 
  • maria1
    In the 1950's and early 60s it was common for women to wear brassieres and girdles. If you ate any food when wearing one you felt like you were in a straight jacket like becoming claustrophobic, and of course we ate very little when out with a gentleman because we didnt want them to see us sweat aka freak out. They, the brassieres were fastened in the back with hook and eye closures, Madonna's hooked in the front. These things kept the muscles from moving, throwbacks from the Vicctorian? era tied corsets that women were sealed into, the things that made fainting couches manditory furniture in every home. Girdles were rubber tubes you peeled yourself into and they made your figure smooth from the waist down, some went mid thigh. Both were no fun in the summer but worn nonetheless, because it was expected.

    I once had a brace that had steel bars in it to help keep my spine stiff, after a fall down the stairs, my torso was immobile.

    Taking all the stuff off made one feel much better.

    Deep breathing and relaxation techniques along with not worrying about it makes the ms hug go away. In the beginning it use to scare me, a little bit until I knew what it was.

    When I was a kid I use to have sleep paralysis, I would be awake but could not breathe or could not move, I ignored that too, and I would fall back into a deep sleep.

    Being afraid always makes everything worse than it really is.

     
  • jennifer_m
    I can't say for certain that I've experienced this, but that isn't saying much since my formal diagnosis only occured in December of 2015.  Sometimes I do feel a constricting discomfort around my midsection, but I chalked it up to something more serious.  I actually had scans done of my midsection and nothing out of the ordinary was found.  Once again, an unknown symptom is identified.  Now I won't be so nervous when that happens.
  • bina615
    I'm not sure if the pain I'm experiencing is the MS Hug or not, but I have had a tightening pain behind my right breast.  Sometimes, I will have to cross my right arm over my chest as if to say the pledge, and I have to press on my chest to alleviate the pain.   It usually doesn't last more than a couple of hours to a day, but I have no idea what triggers it.
  • echobird
    For me it felt like a Hart attack and then my blood pressure would spike even from it and my pulse would be raising when I first started showing signs of MS I was in a social security drs office for a review and they thought I was having a stroke actually and called my brother to take me to the hospital that was 13 years ago I think I can't remember just guessing because I've suffered a lot of memorie problems from it. Sorry for the grammar folks I'm not very good with it like most people...!!! But I will try to do better they actually loaded me up with nitro gliserin patches and blood pressure pill at the er each time I would wind up in the hospital and they could never find out why my BP was spiking like it was and my face was going lopsided with no sign of stroke.
  • echobird
    For me it felt like a Hart attack and then my blood pressure would spike even from it and my pulse would be raising when I first started showing signs of MS I was in a social security drs office for a review and they thought I was having a stroke actually and called my brother to take me to the hospital that was 13 years ago I think I can't remember just guessing because I've suffered a lot of memorie problems from it. Sorry for the grammar folks I'm not very good with it like most people...!!! But I will try to do better they actually loaded me up with nitro gliserin patches and blood pressure pill at the er each time I would wind up in the hospital and they could never find out why my BP was spiking like it was and my face was going lopsided with no sign of stroke.
  • BethC
    This post has made my jaw drop. Not sure where to start. I was diagnosed with MS just two days ago. But, the subtle symptoms I have been dealing with over the past two years are now like little pieces to a huge puzzle that is finally put together. For the past 6 weeks I have been dealing with what I now know is the MS Hug. It started one Sunday as a numbness in the front of my left stomach. I found that as odd. Then I woke up the next day and my left abdomen was completely numb from my stomach around to my spine. After multiple Dr appts I was diagnosed with internal shingles as no rash presented itself. By this time my skin although numb was burning and very hypersensitive. After 3-4 weeks of not being able to work and not getting well I decided to see a neurologist. I now had extreme tightness in my left rib cage front to back from below the breast down to my waist. It was getting so tight I was having panic attacks. After more appts and many tests I was diagnosed Tuesday with MS. I see my Neurologist tomorrow afternoon to discuss my recent spinal tap and brain MRI. And start a plan of action. But, my very first experience with MS was a so far 6 week long MS Hug. What a way to open my eyes to this disease. So, yes the Shingles was an incorrect diagnosis. Very scary for my first main flare up of MS. 
  • missjeannie
    BethC wrote: This post has made my jaw drop. Not sure where to start. I was diagnosed with MS just two days ago. But, the subtle symptoms I have been dealing with over the past two years are now like little pieces to a huge puzzle that is finally put together. For the past 6 weeks I have been dealing with what I now know is the MS Hug. It started one Sunday as a numbness in the front of my left stomach. I found that as odd. Then I woke up the next day and my left abdomen was completely numb from my stomach around to my spine. After multiple Dr appts I was diagnosed with internal shingles as no rash presented itself. By this time my skin although numb was burning and very hypersensitive. After 3-4 weeks of not being able to work and not getting well I decided to see a neurologist. I now had extreme tightness in my left rib cage front to back from below the breast down to my waist. It was getting so tight I was having panic attacks. After more appts and many tests I was diagnosed Tuesday with MS. I see my Neurologist tomorrow afternoon to discuss my recent spinal tap and brain MRI. And start a plan of action. But, my very first experience with MS was a so far 6 week long MS Hug. What a way to open my eyes to this disease. So, yes the Shingles was an incorrect diagnosis. Very scary for my first main flare up of MS. 


    Make sure to take Vitamin D! I take B-12 as well.  The hug can sometimes present around your knee, ankle, or thigh area.  So don't worry about it.  Same thing just different location.
  • obstraight
    I was diagnosed with MS in 2008 for eye sight problems and some minor numbness/tingling throughout the body. After being on Copaxone for 10 years and maintaining a relatively symptom free life, I finally had my first MAJOR MS breakdown. I'm still in the midst of it. One of the worst parts of this seemingly unending episode is the MS Hug. The corset or boa constrictor analogies work best as a description of the sensation. It comes in waves of severity and usually hits real hard throughout the night as well as after most meals, but it has not gone away completely at any time in almost two weeks. Sometimes the pain and discomfort can leave my physically exhausted and even out of breath.
    I do not know what has triggered all of this (I have also lost a majority of control of my hands and arms) so I would love to find more information about what causes an attack. I'm just about at the two week mark with no improvements (except for the feeling is starting to return to my toes. YAY!) so it really feels like it is lasting a while. The uncertainty of whether things will go back to normal is what has me most frightened. I am coping with this list of things: Acceptance of the situation, reading, avoiding TV as much as possible, relaxing in the sun (Vitamin D), exercise - I cannot do much but even small stretches help, Gabapentin for nerve pain 4 times a day, eating lots of fruits and veggies, and talking with friends and family.
    If you are newly diagnosed, I would advise you to take it seriously. Mind your diet most of all. If I knew that a breakdown of the body could be this intense, I would have been a lot more proactive. Now my main focus is to get back to some form of normalcy and from there begin a whole new life.
    I wish everyone who reads this the best of luck!!
  • missjeannie
    obstraight wrote: I was diagnosed with MS in 2008 for eye sight problems and some minor numbness/tingling throughout the body. After being on Copaxone for 10 years and maintaining a relatively symptom free life, I finally had my first MAJOR MS breakdown. I'm still in the midst of it. One of the worst parts of this seemingly unending episode is the MS Hug. The corset or boa constrictor analogies work best as a description of the sensation. It comes in waves of severity and usually hits real hard throughout the night as well as after most meals, but it has not gone away completely at any time in almost two weeks. Sometimes the pain and discomfort can leave my physically exhausted and even out of breath.
    I do not know what has triggered all of this (I have also lost a majority of control of my hands and arms) so I would love to find more information about what causes an attack. I'm just about at the two week mark with no improvements (except for the feeling is starting to return to my toes. YAY!) so it really feels like it is lasting a while. The uncertainty of whether things will go back to normal is what has me most frightened. I am coping with this list of things: Acceptance of the situation, reading, avoiding TV as much as possible, relaxing in the sun (Vitamin D), exercise - I cannot do much but even small stretches help, Gabapentin for nerve pain 4 times a day, eating lots of fruits and veggies, and talking with friends and family.
    If you are newly diagnosed, I would advise you to take it seriously. Mind your diet most of all. If I knew that a breakdown of the body could be this intense, I would have been a lot more proactive. Now my main focus is to get back to some form of normalcy and from there begin a whole new life.
    I wish everyone who reads this the best of luck!!


    Even though you are in the sunlight a lot, it may still be a lack of Vitamin D.  I was in the sun everyday yet my body for some reason did not process the Vitamin D! I had to take suppliments. It is very good you eat well! But still eat things that make you happy, don't let MS boss you around :)  An infection, even minor, if it's prolonged can trigger a bad relapse.
    Did your physician give you a steroid shot? To kick start you back?  
    Even if feeling does not return or the pins and needle feeling does not subside. It is ok. I'm serious, it's OK!  You will adapt! I do not notice it anymore and it does not bother me. I can tell one hand is numb and feels different. but I work with them both like I used to.
  • sm17
    So for me, the MS hug is a very reoccurring symptom. It used to happen frequently all throughout the day/week. Recently it has subsided and happens less. However, when it does occur I feel as if Im experiencing a heart attack. The left side of my chest hurts so bad and feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. Other times it feels like someone is continually stabbing me in the heart, which is much worse and unfoortunately the one that happens more often. The episodes vary from lasting a few minutes to a few hours. Ive yet found anything that helps the pain. I tend to push on my chest and that seems to lesson the intensity but it does not go away from doing this. I know it stresses me out and its very hard for me to calm down and relax during. If anyone has any tips to help the pain it would be greatly appreciated!! I hate the MS hug, it deserves a more concerning name in my opinion lol it definitely does not feel like a hug !!
  • AmyGene
    I was diagnosed 4 months ago, but three weeks ago I had my first breakdown or exacerbation.  I believe it was brought on by heat and stress.  It started with my left hand and arm, the following day the left side of my torso and back, then, my entire midsection... the "MS Hug".  My symptoms continued to spread to my legs and even into my toes.  

    The MS Hug, for me, feels like a very tight corset (as described in many of the other posts here); even after I remove all of my clothing.  The tightness, numbness, and tingling is constant only relaxing slightly after a good night's rest, but returns, full force, as soon as I begin to move. 

    The Hug (as well as the numbness and tingling in the rest of my body) has now lasted almost 4 weeks.  I have taken three days of hour-long iv steroid infusions and I'm now stepping up my Neurontin to try to get some relief.

    My advice to newly diagnosed or those that are just new to experiencing the MS Hug is try to relax.  It seems that the MS Hug is a fairly normal symptom of MS patients, so take a deep breath and try to not stress.  Stress, at least in my case, only makes things worse.  Also, make sure you let your doctor now about ANY symptoms that last over 24 hours.

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