Tips for Managing the MS Hug

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In this newlifeoutlook video, Sebastian talks about a common symptom associated with multiple sclerosis: the MS hug. An MS hug is when a patient feels a tight, constricting pressure around their chest. It can last for a few seconds or as long as several hours.

MORE: Seven strange and unusual multiple sclerosis symptoms

Sebastian notes that there isn’t much you can do to avoid an MS hug, but there are ways that you can make yourself more comfortable. Practicing deep belly breathing will take some of the pressure off your chest and help you relax. Some people find that drinking warm drinks like tea or soup broth can help, while others suggest changing into loose-fitting clothing to alleviate some pressure and make the body more comfortable.

MORE: Explaining 35 of the most commonly used terms in multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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21 comments

  1. Denise Highland says:

    Hi I have had the ms hug for quite a few years nothing makes it go away it came on without me doing anything. Just one of those unexplained ms symptoms. .

    • Dianne Roncal, DMD says:

      We are very sorry to hear that, Denise. Hopefully, someday, something gets developed to get rid of this.

  2. Herb says:

    I have had MS Hug since being diagnosed in 2007. I found that wearing a light elastic band around my midriff dissipates the sensation of tightness. And, it helps to hide my pot belly as well. A win-win solution!

  3. Judi dobson says:

    Hi my last one lasted nine days. It was very intense to point I couldn’t sleep much and would wake crying and couldn’t breath. I’d have to sit up. My dr knew told me to wait it out. Increased my baclifen which helped some. Have had two this year.

  4. Tracey R. Thomas says:

    I have these quite often…my main problem is, I have very large breasts, I need one those industrial looking things to keep them up and off of my stomach and NOT bouncing. Even though it doesn’t feel good to have them ‘everywhere’ at night when I sleep, I’ve found that my bra, which has a very tight band, is misery so I have to take it off a lot and can’t sleep with it on at all any more. I would give anything for a breast reduction. So…until they start giving those surgeries away for free or very, very cheap…I’ll only leave the house when I can stand to wear my bra!Unless someone has a good answer for me.

  5. Marcy says:

    I have the ms hug often and it is horrific. I have been to the ER so many times cause of the chest pain it causes, three times this past week. I HATE the ms hug! Nothing helps relieve it. Any suggestions to help with the ms hug would be greatly appreciated 😊 Thank you!

  6. Dorothee says:

    I suffer from this hug for the last three weeks. Since this afternoon I can hardly bear it. I will try the advises Sebastian gives us and I hope they’ll work out for me.

  7. Tamara Sellman says:

    I’ve had this on and off since I was 9 years old. It truly sucks! I finally started using baclofen recently and found relief. If you have an acute case and can’t access a prescription right away, maximum doses of Advil (my doc prescribed 4) and a big dose magnesium can give a little bit of relief. I was already taking magnesium but tripled it. The pain subsided somewhat in about an hour’s time, I was able to put on some loose clothes and attend a social gathering a little late. By the time the gathering was over, my pain was kicking back in, so I repeated the Advil/magnesium, which helped me sleep. I was able to get my baclofen the very next morning, and it worked like a charm.

    • Debbie Simpson says:

      I have had this since August and some days worse than others. I haven’t worked since and believe that I will not be going back to work. It takes what I have to take care of myself let alone other people.

  8. Lorenzo White says:

    Thank you guys, this information about everyone’s experience with the “Hug” has given me a little peace of mind. I’ve had it off and on for the past two months with it getting worse the past two weeks. I’ve tried the hot liquids but trying to lay motionless is the only thing that kinda helps. I have a Neurology appointment tomorrow. I’ll be able to better explain after reading you guys experiences. Thank again!

  9. Esther Paul says:

    I have had the ms hug twice now and the pain is quite unbearable, it feels like an elastic band inside of me that is going to snap, it is very hard to breath and lasted a couple of hours the first time and then about an hour. I could not do anything apart from walk slowly, trying to concentrate of my breathing, i found it very scary 🙁

  10. Chloe donnison says:

    Hi guys,
    I’m new to MS but I’m having an MS hug right now very uncomfortable 🙁 it come on yesterday feels like something is wrapped around my back to my chest. I start treatment for MS today at the hospital hopefully this helps. I feel your pain guys

  11. Liz says:

    This information is really helpfull, I think I’ve had it recently and I thought it was a heart attack, very scary. Thanks for the info, just another delightful symptom of MS. !! S

  12. Carolyn Bright says:

    I’ve had the MS hug off and on for the last 6 years. It is very painful and I have to lay down when I have it. Thanks everyone for the information cause I wasn’t sure what it was and I thought I was either having a heart attack or panic attack.

  13. Lisa says:

    My doctors believe I have MS. I’m completing my test and waiting for results now. Over a year ago I started having terrible pain that wrapped around my thoracic area like a band. I had a difficult time breathing. It was scary. This went on for 3 months the first time and I am having it again now. I also have abdominal swelling during these episodes. I look like I’m in my second trimester of pregnancy. Does anyone else experience this issue?

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