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Heavy chest rough time breathing
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Heavy chest rough time breathing

I don't come across too many men, on this forum, so far, but maybe this Q? can be answered by anyone.

I KNOW about having the MS hug, I have had it, for several months now.

One of my nagging symptoms is my chest always feels heavy, and I have a difficult time breathing.
I'm not talking about gasping for air, but it does make you labor for it, if you know what I mean.

I have tried using a "puffer", no I do not have asthma, but I did a breathing test a few months back
and my breathing was diminished, so my PCP gave me a "puffer", but it does not help now.

Yes, I have aching ribs, especially my lowest ribs, and it is different than my MS hug.

Is this a typical symptom, and do any of you, have this feeling?

(believe me, I have plenty of MS symptoms, but this one makes the fatigue seem OK)

-- Socrates
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16 Comments Post a Comment
572651 tn?1333939396
Hi there,
we have a handful of men here who faithfully come around and keep all of us women company - or it might be the reverse!  Be on the lookout for PastorDan, SailorSong, and Ufrustrated2 and others - they might be of help to you if you specifically need a male or two to help noodle an answer.  

I'm trying to remember which type of MS they have dx'd you with.  That might factor into the answer as to what is going on now with your ribs and breathing capacity.

I'm sorry you have this problem too to go along with all the other MiSerable stuff.

211940 tn?1267884866

Please forgive me, I didn't mean anything biased about it.

I apologize, if I said it, in the wrong way.

I respect everyone, who helps me to understand, this hard to understand disease.

I only meant, that I didn't know if men are effected differently when it comes to MS.

As far as I know, my Neurologist Nurse told me, it was the "best kind of MS" RRMS.

Again, I sincerely apologize, I didn't mean anything by it.

I respect and welcome answers about MS, from anyone, male or female.

I messed up, said it the wrong way, and I should have watched what I wrote with everyone in mind.

Again, I apologize.

Is breathing problems common?

Once more, I sincerely and deeply apologize

1198091 tn?1267418363
I think she went to bed, just in case you're still up and worried, I'm sure she didn't take it that way... And I can see by what you wrote it didn't come across that way to me!!! Don't worry, I hope you are feeling better soon!!! For me when I had the hug it seemed to be better when I walked around.. Sitting was the worse, especially in a car.. Also, many people said wrapping an ace bandage around would make it feel better, I never tried it though...

I hope it passes sooooon for you, is this the worse it's been?
Avatar m tn
>>I'm not talking about gasping for air, but it does make you labor for it, if you know what I mean.

i have had this symptom on and off. mine is, if i can explain it, is between the upper abdomen and chest. breathing becomes a bit more laborious. the tightness there, in the older days, really ticket my nerves off. it just really irritated me. made me a little claustiphobic. then it would pass.

is this MS related? man i don't know. i saw my local neuro the other day and all these meetings are are he goes on and on about, it could be but it could not be, this, that, could be ms, blah blah. that is the VA rationing system. non-va docs call it ms.

so, i presume this laborious breathing is MS related.

don't feel alone about the female-male ratio. it does seem there are not many of us here, but i assume many are lurking.

1140169 tn?1370188676
Hi Stan,

I can't answer your question, but wanted to let you know there are a few other guys in here, and they'll offer support and answer your questions when they can.

I have been getting a pain in/under my lower ribs lately, usually on one side or the other, but sometimes on both sides. MS hug? Beats me. Could be something to do with my gaining weight over the last year....dunno.

I'm a 53 yo male, possible MS

211940 tn?1267884866
Again, please forgive my poor choice of words, I meant nothing by it, but it appears
I caused conflict, which I never intended.

This community has served me well, both women and men, and I hold you all in
quite high regard.  The support and answers, you have given me, have helped me
so much, to understand MS, and to understand I'm not alone (and neither are any
of you) in dealing with this dreadful disease.

Yes, I should have simply said, "Have ANY of you" (and not mentioned specifically
men, and for this, I have and I do greatly apologize).

I didn't intend to say, that I only wanted to hear from MEN in this forum.
I know that quite a bit more women, than men, suffer from MS, and I
don't know if we suffer, differently or exactly the same, again I apologize.

All of the women (and men), here in this forum, have been nothing but
kind, understanding, and very supportive, of every single Q? I have asked,
and I thank each and every one of you, very very much, for all your help
and support.

Thank you for your time, consideration, and cooperation, I truly appreciate it.

Take care and God bless.


-- Socrates
211940 tn?1267884866
My MS hug, is a "squeezing effect of my entire ribcage, like someone giving you
a huge tight bear hug, but never releasing it.

Now, on top of that, my lower ribs are painful.  Ironically, about the same area
where I give myself my Rebif shots, but just above.  My chest is always heavy,
and it's difficult to breathe, but I don't have to labor to breath.

I will say, that since my accident (last July), I have not been able to breathe
deeply.  Mainly because I had a severe chest contusion.  So, I have not been
able to breathe deeply for about 8 months.  However this heaviness in my chest
has only been for a few months.  And this soreness in my lower ribs, for
about 4-6 weeks.

Ironically, leaning forward (while sitting up) seems to help both the pain
in my ribs, and breathing a little, but takes it's toll on my lower back.
(I have degenerative disc disease, in my lower back and upper neck).

I mean, I can breathe, after all, I wouldn't be here if I couldn't.

If any of you, have this difficulty, what do you do, to relieve it?

Thank you for your time, consideration, and cooperation, I greatly appreciate it.

Take care and God bless.

-- Socrates
279234 tn?1363108849
I'm a limbolander myself, but many of my doctors believe, I have MS. When I felt a squeezing sensation around my rib-cage ( it wrapped around my back to my front), I felt like this must be "The MS Hug" everyone is complaining about. It would hurt to take a deep breathe, and I could not find a comfortable position. I knew it wasn't my asthma, because there was no wheezing involved. It just felt like a huge spasms that would not let go.

My doctors told me to increase my Baclofen dose to help out, and loosen things up. I'm on a low dosage of Baclofen, but my doctors have told me when I am having a rough time with spasticity, then I could up my dosage, but not to exceed 100mg a day. Are you on any muscle relaxants, like Baclofen, Zanaflex, etc..? If you are, maybe you could up your dosage, BUT I would ask your doctor before doing so. If this keeps up, maybe a doctors visit is in order, as well.

Here is some info on the MS Hug:

"How Common is the "MS Hug?"
This is hard to say. Up to 75% of people with MS will experience pain as a symptom, but statistics on the MS hug are difficult to find.

What Causes the "MS Hug?"
It is caused by a lesion on the spinal cord and is technically classified as a neuropathic pain called a “paresthesia,” which refers to any abormal sensation. The sensation itself is the result of tiny muscles between each rib (intercostal muscles) going into spasm. These muscles have the job of holding our ribs together, as well as keeping them flexible and aiding in movement, like forced expiration.

What Does It Feel Like?
Like many MS symptoms, the “MS hug” feels different for different people – it also feels different in the same people on different days or at different times of day. It can be:

As low as the waist or as high as the chest; rarely it can be felt as high as the shoulders and neck

Focused in one small area (usually on one side or in the back) or go all the way around the torso

Worse when fatigued or stressed

Present in “waves” lasting seconds, minutes or hours or can be steady for longer periods of time

Described as sharp pain, dull pain, burning pain, tickling, tingling, a crushing or constricting sensation or intense pressure

How Severe Can It Get?
Some people experience difficulty breathing or painful breathing, so severe that it is often perceived as a heart attack or panic attack.

What Medical Tests Will be Performed?
Your neurologist may want to run an MRI to see if you are having an exacerbation. Often, tests are also done to rule out other things, such as heart problems, gallbladder problems, lung disease, gastrointestinal disorders or inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs. "

I hope you feel better soon
Take Care

211940 tn?1267884866
Wow, that's a mouthful of information, and it all sounds, unfortunately too familiar to me.

The "perceived as a heart attack or panic attack" sounds very familiar.

Mine has been going on, for several weeks.

Unfortunately, since I do NOT have any health insurance (lost my job, therefore insurance), I also have no prescription coverage, so even though I have a prescription for tizanidine (muscle relaxer), I have been unable to take it, for several weeks (after I ran out).

Hmm, I didn't put "two and two" together, this really began getting worse, about the time I ran out of tizanidine.  (Oh well, short term memory zapped again).

I guess, I will have to put up with it, for about 5-6 months, until Social Security Disability gets around to me.

But hey, we all have things we have to learn to live with, these days, huh.

Take care and God bless

-- Socrates
559187 tn?1330786456
Well, let me tell you that you are not alone with this.  I have the following symptoms that you may relate to:  difficulty taking a deep breath and pain when I try; lots of resistence in the ribcage as if they can't expand; feeling pain in the ribs both in the chest and back; shortness of breath when walking; tried inhalers for a few years but they never helped more than  maybe 20% so we discontinued them; and declining lung function test numbers.

I have had 3 pulmonary function tests since the time I've been diagnosed with MS and the tests are showing a steady decline.  I have very mild asthma but everyone, my doctors, agree that the symptoms and declining test numbers are not being caused my lungs - period.

So, I've had a few more tests done and was given the following information.  Hope it is helpful for you - not that this is exactly your situation, but its something to consider:

Pulmonologist said that she sees lower numbers on breathing tests in some of her MS patients who initially come to her thinking they have asthma.  This symptom can be in the beginning stages of MS or in the very end stages, but it is not totally uncommon to have it very frequently if not every day.

The neuromuscular doctore she referred me to said that the root of the problem is the breathing muscle or the diaphragm.  The diaphragm may be weak and and that may be contributing to the breathing problems.

The dcotro gave me an incentive spirometer, a small device they give post-op patients to help them strenghthen their lungs after surgery.  It helps work the muscles in the ribcage so we can expand the ribs more to get more air in.  I need to use it more faithfully to say whether it is helping or not.  But there's no reason that it shouldn't be helping - just got to remember to do it.

I've also been told to lose weight. That is a no brainer. If I were to lose even 10 pounds that could make a difference.

I asked one of the doctors if this is progressive. Will it get worse than it is now, and his only answer was that we don't know. The only thing we know about MS, he said, is that it is unpredictable.  

Hopefully this helped answer your questions. I've brought this question up a few times on the forum, but haven't found but a couple others who had anything remotely similar. So, if you want to discuss it further with someone who is also experiencing it, then please feel free to PM me.

Take good care,

559187 tn?1330786456
Forgot to mention that I have this symptom every single day!!!!  Sleeping at night is also a problem.  Forgot to mention that too.  Are you also having sleeping issues?  

211940 tn?1267884866

Wow, that sounds exactly how it feels, and I too, have it every single day (and night).

Yes, I do have sleeping issues, I find it difficult to sleep for long periods of time.
Once I fall asleep, as soon as I wake up, I get up (good excuse, huh)

After all, the difficulty breathing doesn't go away, just because I try to go to sleep.

Believe me, it's much easier just staying awake.

Well, I guess I get to join your club, the I have a difficult time breathing club.

Take care and God bless,

-- Socrates
987762 tn?1331031553
The other week i posted a question about chest pain, mine also lets out a loud crack sound, since then i find myself hurting on each side of my spine. I find it painful to be straight because the front ribs and sternum hurt, but if i try to relax my frame to take the preasure off, the right side of my rib cage on the back hurts even more, like i've been thumped really really hard. Lying on my back feels like i'm lying on a tennis ball, laying on my side makes my chest feel like its frozen again. I dont hurt to breath as such but when i exhale i feel the rib ache response to being flexed.

I have experience the right posterior ribcage hardness/preasure, on and off since i first had the HUG in 2008. For me the Hug was the entire left side front to back of my ribcage spasming to crush, when it finally stopped a few days later my right posterior ribs felt just like it is now. Back then i thought because of all the left side intercostal muscles being in spasm (which was the dx at the time, no idea to why though), it made sense that i'd hurt the right side at some time during the spasms, now i'm not too sure that could be right. I havent had the hug that bad since, lots of other muscle groups going in to spasm, its not that hard to speculate that i'm still having intercostal muscle spasms which are more localised.

During my endeavour to understand why i could get a crack out of my chest, i happened upon something called costochondritis which apparently isn't that uncommon after trauma, and because of your accident it could be something like this going on too. I dont know if it is of course, just worth finding out if it is still the hug of something else. I dont know about you but my heart is of a normal beat and this pain and preasure is constant without a break for almost a month now, i'm counting down the days when i can once again walk tall, lol pretty hard to do when your only 5ft!

211940 tn?1267884866

I have had my troubles, since July, last year.

I have been blessed not to have the "crack" that you unfortunately have, and my thoughts and my prayers are with you, that you will get relief.

I know, it was explained to me that the spasms can happen in the ribcage muscles, but they never said, they may never stop.

My severe chest contusion was on my sternum (the lower part), and it healed deformed, at least from what I can feel with my own hand.

Are you still having the loud cracking sound?

Take care and God bless,

-- Socrates
987762 tn?1331031553
Shhhhhhhh, no crack sound for a few days, not that i'm doing anything to prompt it, no sudden movements from me at the moment, i've got the fatique thing happening so sudden isn't in the equation lol!

You know that costochondritis thing i mentioned, i think that has/is inflamation (inflammation) in the cartlidge/sternum area, something about swelling and redness, a misshaped area along the sternum due to the inflamation (inflammation), though it really is hard to work out when you do have intercostal muscle spasms. I'm thinking whats going on with my sternum is because of the constant contraction of the intercostal muscles, the sternum doesnt have the flexibility of the ribs so thats why after its got too tight and i move, it gives out the crack sound.

What i'm really interested is the cause, way too many suspect things going on, a close second is what if anything can be done about it, sort of tired of just waiting these things out! If i dont have MS then i'll be a monkey's uncle, you guys seem to be the only people who actually deal with all my weirdness, and i do love you all for knowing and guiding me through it with my smile still firmly in place!!

572651 tn?1333939396
Hey Stan,
Nothing taken the wrong way by that question - we usually tell the men to stick around because we could use a dose of testosterone.  We are predominantely female here, but we do like men and have a few regulars.  Well we like most men except for the ones that are toads.  

You are right that there are some symptoms that are different for men than for women.  I can read all about sexual dysfunction for men, but can never give first hand testimony about the problems.  The same with bladder problems - we are just plumbed different.  

I hope you found lots of good advice and information in everything that was written up here.  

BTW, my husband's middle name is Stanley, too.

Take care and don't ever panic about offending anyone here.  If we get mad, you will know it!

be well,
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