Can the MS hug cause death? When I saw the Oprah show with Montel Williams, Dr. Oz mentioned that the leading causes of death in MS were suicide (which sounds very likely) and the MS hug were the leading causes of death. Is this true? If not can you die from MS? I will certainly pay more attention to those chest pains if this is the case. Not worried, just would like to know to make sure I get myself the proper care . . .
Don't throw rotten tomatoes if you all have discussed this topic earlier . . . I've looked around on the forum and didn't find anything.
I wondered the same thing! I had never heard that before about the MS hug, which I have experienced in full force. It felt like my oxygen intake was decreased, but I had read that this is just because of the sensation of feeling like you are in a vise grip, that it is not actually cutting off your air supply.
I caught that too .... I have discussed with DJ (Shadowsister) the events surrounding her emergency tracheotomy years ago and wonder if perhaps those spasms weren't part of the MS hug symptom. She has no doubt that this almost fatal occurence was because of her MS.
We'll have to ask her next time she is around here....
I went to the ER about 8 years ago because of the MS Hug. I didn't even know I had MS at that time. It was very uncomfortable but nothing like a heart attack. I just felt like I couldn't really take a deep breath. The ER Dr. dx'd it as anxiety........Surprise.
I'm really glad this has come up, since I've been wondering about several things myself.
I did see Montel Williams on Oprah, and found some of what he said quite confusing. The part about the MS hug (I think), was prefaced by a description of the incredible Las Vegas heat. I thought he said that he was having a heat-sensitivity kind of reaction, then he started talking about maybe a heart attack. I listened very hard at that point, and didn't hear him mention the hug by name. Or maybe he did and I just didn't understand him. Maybe the possibility of death had to do with the possible heart issue. If anyone who saw the program could clarify this, it would be helpful.
Now I'm going to say something I've never told a soul about before this. Over the last 2 years or so I've had at least 6 or 8 instances of something-or-other that I did nothing about. The first time, it happened off and on, sometimes for more than an hour, and it was over about a 3-week period. Since then it's been shorter, over a day or two.
What "it" was is the feeling that someone was taking the heal of his hand and pressing very hard at the bottom center of my sternum. I first thought I was having a bad case of indigestion, though the painful pressure seemed outside of my internal organs and more on the bones of the rib cage, and the standard remedies didn't help. Now that I've started having trouble at both the top and the bottom of my esophagus, I'm wondering about that too, yet the pressure/pain has been too far down for that.
Naturally then, I have to wonder about heart issues. All I can say is that I've had at least 2 routine EKGs during this period, and things have been fine. I'm really quite physically active and get my heart rate up for prolonged periods several times a week. No problems at all.
So I have to wonder if this has been the MS hug. The thing is, it doesn't go around me like a hug at all. It's just in that one place. I know the hug can be experienced in a lot of ways, but how can one be sure that's what's going on? Is this, like MS, a process of elimination?
Do you know one of the reasons why more women die from heart attacks then men? We like to blame the doctors, but a lot of it has to do with ourselves .... we ignore the symtoms and brush them off as other things like GERDs or MS hug. Please everyone, if you have chest pains, you should be seen by a medical person immediately.
Now that we're discussing this MS Hug of death - you have even more reason to go to the ER or at least call your doctor the next time you feel chest constriction and/or pain.
Women often times have normal EKG's, normal stress tests, and non-specific symptoms that don't tell the doctors immediately what is wrong.
Heart attacks can be prevented - time is muscle and the more time you spend wondering what is wrong, the more time your heart has to be damaged permanently if it is a heart attack.
Don't second guess these symtoms - that's the job of the doctors.
Elizabeth gets this hug. She says it is like a big old bear is hugging her and sucking all the air out also like someone is jabbing her with a poker in her back through her chest. There are times she can't breath real good.
Now Lulu is right about women, we do ignore heart symptoms. Elizabeth's mom did in 2000. She was 80 then. When she finally went to the hospital. She had blown a quarter size hole between the left and right ventricular (she should have died from that), she also lost 40% of her heart and had a 5 way bypass. The day before she went to the hospital she went to the doctor for dizzy spells and heart burn. blood pressure was good EKG was great. And as we all know test don't tell the whole story. Elizabeth's mom is now 89 and doing good.
Y'all have a great day
Elizabeth and I are going out tonight. Not sure what we are going to do. But it will be fun.
Montel said he wondered at the time if he was having a heart attack but then said he realized it was an MS symptom. He called it "chest hug."
Essie, what you describe sounds like it could be a variation of the MS hug, but I echo the others re: when in doubt, esp if it could even remotely be related to your heart, you should tell your doc about this.
For me MS hug is like being squeezed around my rib cage; as I recall, I felt like it wrapped around my whole torso, front and back. At times it was really hard to get a deep breath, and if I was talking for too long, it seemed like I was losing my breath. The other thing I remember was how difficult it was to roll over in bed when I had this, I felt seized up and heavy.
> What "it" was is the feeling that someone was taking the heal of his hand and pressing very hard at the bottom center of my sternum. I first thought I was having a bad case of indigestion, though the painful pressure seemed outside of my internal organs and more on the bones of the rib cage, and the standard remedies didn't help. Now that I've started having trouble at both the top and the bottom of my esophagus, I'm wondering about that too, yet the pressure/pain has been too far down for that.
Ess, have you tried taking a drink of water when this is happening?
I've been having this problem for six or seven years now. One time it was really bad, so I called the doctor's office, and they told me to call 911. I said "Is there anything I can do in the meantime?" Take an aspirin, they said. Well, I got a glass of water and took an aspirin, and I found the pain wasn't in my heart, but in my throat. As I swallowed the water, my throat began to relax. So I didn't call 911 - I just drink a glass of water when it happens. If my heart rate was elevated, I'd be more worried.
Acid reflux makes it worse, but I'm beginning to think that it's a problem with the diaphragm. The diaphragm wraps around the esophagus at the point you describe, and where my pain comes from. If it's spastic and cramping, then the throat would hurt. I also have problems with slight shortness of breath, and frequent hiccups.
A problem that I was having, I had squeezing like sensation between my rib, it was no kind of pain that I experienced before! it lasted about an hour and then I had another attack a couple days after that.
This is sooo interesting. As to what would be a "typical Hug" we need to realize that it is a prolonged spasm of the muscles in the chest, mostly between the ribs. MS can attack any nerves or sets of nerves, so it makes sense that the Hug could be high or low or even down around the abdomen. It could encircle the chest or affect just a part of it.
The symptoms could certainly mimic those of a heart attack, of esophageal spasm, of reflux, or even appear to be a form of back pain.
I agree that anyone having this for the first time or having a new variation of it should see a doctor (as in GO TO THE ER!!!) immediately. We can be quite cavelier about our symptoms and our families would not be proud to know that we brushed off a heart attact.
I want to bump this topic up because I think this topic and your responses are soooo important. It's been a while since I've had this pain, but I'm not taking chances. It's for a doctor, who is much more knowledgeable than I, to figure this out. I don't want severe heart damage (or, yeah, death) because I don't didn't want to cause a scene or take the time to go to the ER.
Thanks for the bump Deb. I did not see this discussion.
I'v had horrifying spasms across my back, and then across my chest. I couldn't take a breath when they were in the front. I didn't know what it was, thought my back was in full spasm, until it went across my chest and the Dr. said the MS hug.
Sure doesn't feel like a nice strong hug. I vote for a word change.
they way you describe it is identicle to what happened to me only it was very painfull all over and i went into a nonepelptic seizure. this happened march 9th and i just have not been able to breath since. i just cant seem to get air in, but i have no problem swalling. if i talk alot it makes it worse. its not bad all the time it veries in intensity throughout they day and i just feel like im going to stop breathing all together when it gets really bad. im expeiencing alot of new stuff too but i wont go into all of that im just wondering how long this will last because its been almost 2 weeks and i cant work like this
I am still confused, but the only thing I experience, and I have been doing this for a few years..its just worse now, is that i cannot breathe well, i am always taking deep breaths but sometimes it gets so bad I have to lie down and just take deep breaths for awhile...anywhere from an hour to a whole afternoon. It leaves me worn out too.
If taking breaths in trigger the spasm, I'd say it could prolong or make it temorarily worse, but smoking is not the cause of the MS hug, for sure..... I blamed my 1st attack on smoking, lol.....just don't want you thinking you've caused this... Oh, and a belated welcome to you from me.
DB - Death Grip, yea - Strangle Hold? Boa Constrictor? Or, some variation of that?
This is a very important topic thanks for posting - Let's keep it going
1st to agree with Lu & Quix don't mess around with the heart - get it checked out.
2nd to deborah0904 I also went to the ER and was told it was a panic attack and anxiety. They were so rude and dismissive that I was angry & embarrassed. I had a few more and didn't tell anyone but hubby because I didn't want to be treated that way again.
3rd to Kenny12345 (cool name&#) I was told that my chest pain can be actually coming from a lesion that I have in the Tspine because the nerves wrap around. That made since but does that mean I should "ignore" future symptoms?
4th to Meg - I am still confused to so maybe if enough of us share I might "get it".
5th to Everyone maybe we should pole for a new name. I agree a hug is such a nice thing and this is NOT!
I too, like many of you had not heard of this so called "MS Hug." I have been experiencing it for over two weeks. Just last week my dr sent me in for a MRI of brain and spine. Talk about excrutiating!! To lay there in that tube for an hour and a half was pure torture. If i would have known before i would have definately taken something to relax me. I didn't think I was gonna make it, but i dealt with the pain as I do every day. I try so hard not to complain or cry about it everyday. I'm hoping my results come back tomorrow so they can tell me something or give me something for this pain. So many things go through your head....almost hoping that its from the MS and not something more serious.
Is it worth it to go for steroid treatments just for it to come back in a month or so? I'm just so sick and tired of being sick and tired. As I sit here, it is a beautiful day out and just cannot bring myself to want to do anything. Husbands out, kids are out and here I sit. Guess I just have to drag myself out of this chair and self pity and do something....
Sorry for the ranting and venting. But, it's good to know I'm not alone.
it doesn't feel nice at all when the sensation is having to take really shallow breaths wondering the heck is going on! i just sit there forcing with a lot of effort to get deep breaths in, telling myself "it won't last forever, you've been here before"...
"I'm just so sick and tired of being sick and tired.", I second this big time.
yes i also have had the ms hug, know i know what is going on . i have gone thru this so mant times ,i have to hide myself from my family , so they wont see thankyou montel, and opray godbless and thankyou again
Hey i don't know if i'm having the "MS Hug" or not, if it is, I REALLY DON'T LIKE IT!!! It's squeezing around the chest area. I have been having it for a week off and on. It goes and comes. I am not experiencing any pain, just like someone is sitting on my chest and not letting me get up. My hubby asked me for a hug last night and i had to tell him not to hug me too hard because i was having that feeling, I think it is saying to me, I'm still here!!! You better not think i'm gone to far!!! I had an MRI done on the 18th I thought i was going to have to push the button but i laid there and i took a couple of deep breathes and went to my happy place.. I will mention this to my Neuro when i see him and see what he has to say. I haven't went to the ER or Dr. because i mentioned this to my sister who happens to be a nurse and the first thing she said was maybe it's a panic attack!! I'm not panicing over anything or at least i don't think i am.. :) Anyways, i don't know if i will be back in today fora quick peek, if not i'll pop by after my vacation!! Oh by the way, do anyone experience cold shivers starting from the tips of your fingers to the top of your head and it feels like the hair is standing up, i just had that feeling, my right arm hand (babyfinger) is going to sleep while i am writing this. WOW
Wow so interesting... I have a variation of this luckily not recently. I get what feels like a "clamping down" of my ribs on the L side. It feels like all the intercostal muscles spasm and pull my ribs in. Its quite uncomfortable but if i relax and concentrate they seem to pass faster. It's only lasted an hour at a time. I sometimes wake up like this but once I get moving and breathing it gets better. Now I'm on Baclofen so it hasn't happened again.... hmmm interresting ha!?
I've been sufferring with MS hug since yesterday. I had it two weeks ago and it lasted for 3 days, prior to this last summer before my MS DX i went to my GP with the pain which I described as indegestion without the pain, just permanently uncomfortable. I know what you mean about not being able to breath, I havent found anything yet which helps other than lying in bed propped up and resting. if I do this for half an hour it eases the pain.
Incidently I started it two days ago when one of my ribs on my left side felt bruised, this has now gone and was replaced with pain under my breasts satrting at my sternum (sorry my spelling is bad too). Now I'd liken it to contractions that occur every few minutes when it is in full flow. it is very painful and at times i could just give in and give up. I thought I had constipation, for me it can be followed by a bowel movement but this increases the pain and it stays with me for a number of hours afterwards. I havent been able to find anything that suggests MS hug has an effect on bowels and maybe I am constipated I dont know, anyone else had any simialr thoughts?
Funny you say that, your rib felt bruised, i have that, i woke up just the other day, my left rib, in one spot sore as anything, i asked my husband if he was hitting me in my sleep, lol, he looked at me like i had 10 heads with why would you even ask that!!! I thought it was funny..oopps!! :) I have mood swings as well, one minute i'm a happy little camper and the next minute i can rip your head off over nothing!!! sorry!!! I didn't put MS and mood swings together until i seen someone else say it and then i put 2 and 2 together and said maybe!! Everyday is different, can't wait until tomorrow to see what i have to deal with then!!! NOT.. Also want to say thanks to all for this forum, it's a great group of people where you can be yourself and not be judged!!
Erin- I've had a similar experience at the ER before my MS diagnosis which I think traumatized me! My guess is that the ER personell get overstretched, overworked, and desensitized. I went in to the ER because my family doctor told me to--thinking I was having a heart attack and came out with a referral to a psychiatrist. I don't even think he checked with my family doctor to see what my medical history was, because his assessment was completed in less time than it would take to sneeze. So, I can relate.
Kristina--Keep us posted on your test results. I hope that whatever is causing your symptoms will be found. In the mean time, start a thread on some of the things that's causing your pain because there's lots of people on this forum that are going through the same thing, sweetie. Maybe someone knows of something that would be helpful.
Sorry6- I hide too! I don't like to cause a commotion, but I'm going to get checked out next time this happens, though.
cz1970- That is interesting! Maybe Baclofen's a good treatment for the MS hug. My sister takes that drug, too. I wonder if she's noticed the same thing . . .
Ruby- MS can cause a number on your bowels. I've gone through periods of time when I was extremely constipated (especially when I had hypothyroidism to go with it). Then I go through times when I have bowel incontinence (oh the joy of MS). I don't know if the hug is related. I think it has a lot to do with MS, though.
Babybop- I love this forum--there are lots of great people! I get the hair standing up on ends feeling a lot, and the really odd thing is that it is only on one side of my head! I also have the feeling of bugs crawling through my hair as well--only on close inspection by someone, that there's nothing there. Have a great vacation!
Kenny- thanks for the web link. I wondered what causes this!
Meg & others--I'm confused, too. I think each of us experience this hug thing differently. I have a lot of pain with mine and shortness of breath.
Shelly- Hugs are good things and I vote that this term be revamped to DB's suggestion of MS death grip.
Quix, Bob, and Lulu- We can be very cavalier about symptoms like these for lots of reasons. You're absolutely right--we should get check out!
Jen- That is very interesting. If you every find out anything else, let us know. I do have pain in my throat and it's highly unlikely that I could swallowing anything during this attack.
ess- at the end of the interview with Montel, I heard Dr. Oz mention the two things that were the leading cause of death with people who have MS--suicide as being the number one killer and coming in second--the MS hug. I am also confused about the chest pain thing. I don't think it's my heart--I've had two echocardiograms, but what I've experienced feels like a heart attack. I get esophageal spasms, which is precipated by something cold or spicy (something I've eaten), and this is not the same thing (although it hurts). This is like a very painful vice grip around my chest that radiates up through my throat. So, I'm not sure if it's the hug or not.
All- How does the MS hug cause death? Is this really true?
How do you know if you hav MS hug, ok the Pain tells you that you've got something, the lack of breath you experience but I thought mine was indegestion and so did my GP. What do you do to releive MS hug and how long does it last?
Is it an indicator of a lesion in the spinal column or did I imagine that?
I think I have had two types of the MS hug. The first one which took me to the emergency room because I became very concerned ... I was cleaning the bathtub . The last thing I thought was "wow these cleaning products are really strong" I then went numb ...my arm , stomach and back. The emergency room dr told me to go home. A month later I went blind.
Last year I was having some problems with pressure. What some of you have wrote is exactly what happened to me. The final one I had we were driving and the pressure came around my rib cage Pressure inside was almost unbareable I kept calm and grabbed onto the handle located at the top of the passenger side door . It lasted a couple of minutes. My first thought was heartattack . My second thought was really bad indigestion. Then I figured it had something to do with MS. It was very scary but I remained calm until it was over. I never experienced that bad of pressure before.
Every now and then I will feel small ones.
It was like having a charlie horse around my rib cage and on the inside. My heart and lungs felt pressure and it was difficult to breathe.
This is what has been going on with me for at least 3 months now. Pain mostly in upper/mid back on left side. Hard to draw deep breath. Almost impossible to exercise or do anything strenuous.Have R/R MS since '96. Feels like all my ribs are sore. Thought it was a lung problem, but I guess it is 'The Hug'. I don't smoke and was used to riding exercycle for 35-65 minutes every day. Can't do it any more. I'm a 45-yr-old female. This is constant and I'm really sick of it. I want my life back.
I just read this entire thread, but didn't see anything related to how I experience this "hug".
I just started experiencing a new symptom, but I'm not sure if it would be considered a "hug" since I do not lose my breath. Hot heat... like clothes out of the dryer... or slightly warmer. This wraps around my chest/abs, around my back, and down my right thigh and buttocks. When I bend down or move my neck in any way. The Dr. has me on IV Steroid infusions for 5-days, but I'm just curious (because he doesn't have time to SEE me until the end of this month) if anyone knows if this is another version of the "hug" you all mention?
With this last episode I developed difficulties breathing severe enough to go to the ER last July.
Basically, it feel like I'm trying to breath against a weight or pressure against my chest (lower ribs only). Its very difficult to expand my lower ribs, and I can't belly-breath anymore. Its more difficult to breath laying down, and since September, I've been having to sleep sitting up.
I never thought this fit the description of the MS Hug, but now I'm starting to wonder.
OMG, I just cannot believe I found this topic! For the past SEVERAL YEARS, i have had an incredible pain in the trunk of my body, mostly after sleeping and trying to move or get up. i have described the pain to my docs as 'someone taking their bare hands and ripping open my chest cavity.' my ex used to have to take me by the hands and actually pull me up because the compression around my chest was just too hard to bear. it feels as though i have been cast in concrete and can't move, the worst part, however, is the horrible smothering pain.
does this seem like the same thing as the 'MS hug?" until i found this forum, i never told or talked to anyone about what it could be. docs just condescendingly pat me on the arm, shake their little heads back and forth with a "tsk, tsk" but have never given me an answer outside of the fact that it "could" be related to my sympathectomy. i also got a script for oxygen to keep at home because my pulseox drops to around 90!
i forgot to add to my post that there have been times when i have been eating with friends when i seem to just 'pass out.' one minute i am there, the next i am waking wondering what the h-ll just happened. it can last from a minute to several hours. my thyroid doc asked why i never went to the ER when it happened and i told him i just thought it was exhaustion. he suggested it could be my heart, so i had it checked out and it isn't. then it was possibly narcolepsy. did a sleep study and it concluded i had central sleep apnea with no known cause (59 apneas in six hours). doc put me on CPAP, dextroamphetamines, and daytime oxygen, II have still had episodes and just had one earlier today that lasted about 10 sec. (even taking Adderall), i am frustrated that no one really knows what the heck is wrong, that the diagnoses are subjective, and i just keep on keeping on the best i can.
I get pains in my ribs every once in a while that feels like I'm breaking my ribs when I breath in. This can go on for several hours.
I don't know if this is what you were feeling, but my Internist at the time I first started experiencing it, said it was due to spasms of the intracostal muscles. No explanation why these muscles would spasm, however.
I happened upon this post while researching ms hug. I had a tumor removed from my spinal cord about 9 months ago.
I get these exact symptoms and someone on the spinal cord tumor site suggested that this is what I am feeling. He was right... this pretty much sums it up.
Is it possible to have this without having MS. Would removal of a tumor in the thoracic spine cause the same thing? Can you all please tell me what you do or take to help with this. I have it all the time and some days are so bad that I can't function. I also have been to er and heart test done thinking it is a heart attack
Hi Dawn, my name is Dawn too!!! high 5!!! I was wondering the same thing, I asked on a newer post. So we shall wait and see... I am not dx wit ms so far only bulge in my cervical spine!! Haven't had t spine MRI and that was why I was wondering. I will let u know what I hear!
High 5 back... I am so happy to hear that others are feeling this too and I am not crazy. Please do let me know if you get any information on this. Tonight the pain is extreme and I went searching for answers.
What is the bulge? where in your cervical spine is it? Is it in the cord or on the outside.
Thanks for posting back to me and I hope we can both get some answers we need..
Hi all! I just wanted to say that after a really bad hug to make sure you get checked out! I had a severe one that lasted for about a month and it ended up giving me a hair line fracture on one of my ribs. I can say that even my doctor was surprised!
I'm reviving this old post because it has a lot of information in it that is very descriptive.
Several posts here cite sources that say the MS Hug is caused by lesions in the spinal cord. How many of you who experience the MS Hug have spinal lesions? Do you know where they are?
I'm in Limbo Land and just had a repeat MRI of the C spine; I have the film, but will be picking up the radiologist's report this week. My untrained eye does not see any lesions on the cord, but definitely could see them on the brain. Way too many to miss.
In any event, based on what I've read here and on other sites, the MS Hug can range from being very mild to very severe.
Within the past 2 weeks, I developed a pain in my ribs on my right side, just below the bra band (sorry guys). It started on Thursday and kept coming and going and was still there on Friday morning. It was in one very specific place and the pain would last for up to an hour, subside and then start again. Pain did not increase with deep breaths. I was also light headed. Given that I have a history of DVT, I was concerned about a pulmonary embolism and went to the ER.
Everything checked out fine. No heart attack, no PE and my oxygen saturation level was 100%.
So I guess this is another thing that I will have to report to the neuro during my visit at the end of the month.
Curious to know other people's experiences, including the milder form of the beloved MS hug and whether or not you have lesions on your spinal cord.
I was wondering about this...Everyone is talking about their ribs being squezzed.
what I felt (if anyone has been pregnant this might be my best analogy). I was working and the bottom of my abdomen started aching and then bamb...it felt like i was having contractions! I was obiviously not pregnant or anywhere near giving birth to a child but thats what mine felt like.
It was my lower abominal area that reached around into my lower back and down my legs. It was very painful..I couldnt catch my breath but i figure it was because it was so painful ..even to breathe perhaps not because i couldnt.
I dont know ..i did let it go...i wonder..how long does an MS hug last?
An MS Hug would only be caused by a lesion in the thoracic spinal cord. Lesions there are hard to image because of the narrow diameter of the cord and so much pusling CSF around it.
The "Hug" has many different sensations described with it from encircling (all or part way) pain and pressure, to a tight banding that doesn't let you take a breath easily. It can last as long as it lasts - days to months.
I seriously doubt that the Hug is what leads to death. More typically it is failure of the breathing muscles, paralysis of the vocal cords with aspiration and infection, and problems swallowing.
I have something like the MS hug. It is a tightening right between my ribs. I do have spinal legions (is where MS plays her song). From what I understand with heart attacks if changing positions, massage or drinking works...heart attacks don't respond. I have found every time that getting water fixes it. During the times it happens I also have a hard time swallowing. My sinuses don't drain well. I just keep lots of liquid on hand. Unfortunately during the night I will dry out again and wake with it.
I have been having the "hug" (agree that we need a new word for it!) on and off for a few years. When I'm stressed out, it gets worse/more frequent/intense, which unfortunately is right NOW. Mine is usually focused on my left side, right over my heart (not IN the heart, but ON it in terms of the muscles), and at times goes up to my scalp and down my arm. Periodically it will pop up on my right side, too. I take neurontin at night, but if I take it during the day I have trouble working/focusing.
Luckily, I'm seeing my doc tomorrow. Hopefully she can make some suggestions about how to deal with it. Good luck to all of us out there who have so much "fun" with this thing!
I does sound like each of us has a different experience.
My MS Hug is like a 14 inch wide industrial strength rubber band that starts middle of shoulder and goes down to below my elbow. It is exactly the same all the way around and is perfectly horizontal My arms are stuck to the side of my chest with the squeeze over arms and chest The squeeze takes my breath away due to the pain level and makes breathing painful. It can last from hours to weeks.
I also have had pain as you describe in and behind the sterrnum as others describe but finally realized that it is heartburn. It caused a great deal of anxiety until I figured that out.
That being said, if there is any doubt, I think you should go the emergency to make sure.
It has really helped me to tease these symptoms out to know what is coming from MS and what is from something else.
This is a good thread and am glad that it was bumped up
Thanks for bumping Red. I found this very helpful. I too have experienced this to a small degree. Found that pushing on the area that was squeezing me helped relieve the pressure of the 1/2 hug (never had a full one).
I heard that you don't have to have MS to have the hug, as it can be caused by any kind of nerve damage along the spine.
Anyway, great info to have. Another thread that is helping me understand what MS can fully do to my body.
I too have had many variations of all of these types of spasms. In the beginning went to ER many different times and of course been attached to all the usual heart machines, blood pressure etc... As I am sure all of you know the drill
. Been told everything from panic attack to gas to reflux (before dx) Echo on my heart even quite recent, anyway I have been having severe spasms in my lower back both sides, One side. Woke up today with the crushing rib pain started on one side then progressed to the other and in my chest,
I know my heart is healthy and All I can figure is this is just the variation, I haven't had and MRI for a few months due to still paying off the last one so I don't know if there is anything new
. Was dx'd July 10. 2010 and have spent my time on IV Solumedrol. Never been told it is the HUG but after research and all the testing for other like my heart I know it is.
Anyway I was just sitting waiting for my Klonopin and Percocet to kick in and thought I would share my experience. Thanks so much all.
The HUG is thought to be spasticity of the costal muscles between the ribs. If you were to get spasticity of the diaphragm at the same time, you would stop breathing (for the most part.)
A hiccough is a kind of slow repetitive spasm of the diaphragm. So I can see a way that MS could cause respiratory paralysis. I'm not sure if this is common in the ambulatory MS population. Might be a good question for the MS Society.
I have a hard time breathing when I am experiencing a hug and feel quite light headed. The hugs I get now last a lot longer than they used to. They used to be gone within 15 or 20 minutes.
Whenever I get them now, they can go on for hours. I get them while I'm at work and I try to calm myself down and pretend everything is fine. It does seem to help--keeping the anxiety level down. I try to breath lightly, keep my cool, and sit in a place where I don't draw attention to myself. When I panic, it makes things worse. I've had post-injection reactions after Copaxone shots, and staying calm helps with this as well.
I wonder if there's a medicine to prevent this. Does anyone know? I've not had trouble with this in months, but when I do, it seems like I get several days clustered together within a short time frame. If there's medicine to help with this, I would take it.
Well this thread started eight months ago and it is such an interesting topic. I am fortunate that I have never experienced the MS hug, but it is discussions like this that help us all understand what it really feels like, rather than reading the theoretical information on web sites. Thank you for all your really interesting posts.
This is indeed a highly informative topic.
I am almost certain now that I have been bothered by this MS hug for years. Althought so far I have not received the MS diagnosis. I have periods of paralysis. The first one was 2004 and labeled as psycho genetic or something like that. I was transferred to a nursing home (age 50 at that time) and stayted there for 1 month untill I could walk again. The torture I went through with a psycho lable is still tough to describe for me. Nurses who itterally would make fun of me because they believed me to be faking this paralyzis.
Since then I've switched health care providers, and have had a few more episodes of paralysis. My sister and brother both have Chronic Progressive MS. (Brother 4 years older then me just got his diagnoses about one month ago).
This last March I had one of my chest squeeses, and this was the first time I went to the ER with this. PE ruled out, heart attach ruled out, must be heartburn I was told. Yeah right, I kjnow the difference between a burning sensation or a vise grip like feeling.
My MRI does not show spots on my brain, and stil I have had this MS hug feeling for quite some time. I also have been bothered for years now by spasms throughout my whole body, including under the bottom of my feet. But they can happen in most any part of my body, I have not even discussed thihs with my Neuro Doc. Right now my Neuro has givcen me a diagnoses of Migrain hemipalegic, since I have a top on the head severe type of head ache at times.
Thanks to all of you who have posted in this thread these past 8 or 10 months. I'm seeing my Neuro on the 20th. and I think it is time I'll have a frank discussion with him about these MS hug type of symptoms and spasms I have had for way to long.
I was in the ER on Sat - it was the 4th day of pressure, tightness, stabbing pain when I breathe in, and shortness of breath. They did an x-ray and blood work to rule out a blood clot, heart issues, or a collapsed lung. The doctor there said everything looked good, so it must be muscular in origin.
I called the nurse coordinator for my MS neuro and left her a vm about everything. She called me back today and said it didn't really sound like an MS hug, because they're not usually painful and people don't normally get stabbing pain. I thought about forwarding her this link....
This is the first time I visited this blog and am amazed at what I'm reading. I think it was in November/December when I first started having sharp shooting pains in my chest, followed by a mild constant pressure. I went to dr.'s and he sent me for an chest xray that came back normal. On Feb. 5th I ened up in the ER for an unrelated issue but mention that I had been having this consistent pain in chest and of course they ran all the usual test to be sure you're not having an heart attack & all my test return normal. My dr thought it may just be inflamation between my rib bone & chest bone. I was inclined to let that be the end of it, but shortly after that I began having other MS sysmpton, even though I did not connect the two. Later I exeperienced a pain in my lower back right at my waist line that was excruciating! I could not bend to sit. I ended up with my arms wrapped around my husband, holding on for dear life, and breathing through the pain as if I was in labor until it passed ( or rather until he helped me sit down). Once I sat down & remained in an upright position, the pain subsided. I was eventually able to lay down, which is where I fell asleep. I woke up with the pain in my back just above my waistline. I had never heard of the MS hug and did not think that the pain was even MS related. It was not until later when I was doing some research that I came across this sympton. The pain I felt in my lower back, after I read about the hug, I've assumed that is what it was. Now I'm believing that the pain in my chest is also related to the hug. I've had other symptons as well that I'm now am beleiving is related to the hug. This blog has been soooo helpful! I have an appointment w/ my nuerologist this afternoon and am now better prepared to discuss my reserach as well as the symptons that everyone on the blog has described. Thanks All!
I had my first MS hug before I was diagnosed. At home alone, the pain hit across my chest, it squeezed me so tight, being a nurse, I knew the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
And knew I was not having a heart attack. I am having a mild one as I post this, and it is
miserable. Thank you all for your posts, it helps a lot.
my first MS hug was at work, that was my "falling" years, and the ER doc dx as costocondritis....hmmm.........but have had them while driving on trips and very scarey, mine last about 2-3 hours but never thought to bring it up to neuro, but will now, its a hug for me like being squeezed from behind by an overgrown bear
Il've also been told its panic disorder but its not that, I cry when I get a panic attack
Reading this is so interesting. I haven't been diagnosed yet but this "hug" is something that is really familiar to me. My ribs hurt and almost feel tender, it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest and I can't get a full, deep breath unless I really concentrate on breathing deep into my belly. I also have the feeling of pressure under my breasts and sometimes have to take my bra off because the pressure is so tight. When I have this my shoulders and shoulder blades are usually really tight and really really sore. Doctors have always told me that this is do to stress and that I just hold my stress in my muscles. I keep telling them that I wouldn't be stressed if I didn't have all of these weird symptoms!
Someone please tell me if you've experienced neck pressure (like a vise around your neck) while having this hug. I am not a ms patient but a lupus patient and this feeling is exactly what I am feeling but also involves the neck. I want to run screaming, CRAZY screaming. It's been ongoing for almost 6 weeks. This is the only place I have seen anything that describes this feeling almost exactly with the neck exception.
Last April I had to go to the ER because I woke up having severe chest pain that seems it went all the way through my back. Cardiac workup was negative. Pain decresed somewhat, but hung around for about 2 weeks. I was miserable!! I have eposides like this for many years, but this time I was scared; so I went to ER and would not think twice about going again because there is no way you would know if this was cardiac issues or MS hug.
The hug is a complex sort of thing, and is experienced differently by different people. We have had lots of discussions here about whether or not it can really be a cardiac issue. When in doubt, always go to the ER. Plenty of people here have done that, with very few learning it was a heart problem, but better safe than sorry. It's also good to find out our hearts are in good shape.
I don't think the MS hug can be experienced in the neck area. Similar things can be, though. It's possible that paresthesias could produce a squeezing feeling that would be pretty awful. Either that or muscle spasms could have the same effect. A brain and cervical spine MRI would certainly be indicated under the circumstances. I don't know a lot about lupus, but it's possible that another disease process could be going on too. So again, when in doubt, get quick medical care.
Hmm...some of you may recognize that I've been posting a lot of long what-if rants now that I am in my second "season" (literally) of very pronounced MS-like symptoms. I haven't been diagnosed with anything yet but anxiety and depression...but the medication doesn't help when my left leg doesn't want to work of I have double vision or vertigo...go figure.
Anyway, probably like most of you who first started thinking you might have MS, I've read everything I can find about it, and I kind of overlooked the "MS hug" because of the way it supposedly wraps around from the back to the abdominal area. But I read one account of a "chest hug" and ended up back here again...and I recall a mystery that I never addressed and thought was probably related to acid reflux (because it occurred two of three times while I was eating). About a year and a half ago, within a couple of months, I had three identical and really scary and painful sudden, crushing chest pains. All felt like, I don't know, maybe a cannon ball had landed square on my chest (although I was sitting up), crushing my bones from my sternum all the way up to the bottom of my throat. The first time it happened, I was eating out with my parents and I literally thought I was having a heart attack. I sat perfectly still for 5-10 minutes until it felt "safe" enough to move, and then I was just shaken after another five minutes or so. Then it happened again while I was in bed weeks later, and then about a week later while I was out eating (and drinking wine) with friends. And never again since then.
Could this describe a "hug"? I hope not because it was one of the scariest and most painful things I've ever experienced and I'm hoping my antacids will keep it from happening again...but it's fascinating how all these disparate "quirks" I've had since I was 25 or so are falling squarely (most more than this) into symptoms for MS.
What your describing sounds more like how my mother describes her reflux problems than the MS Hug. You also can't forget because of your anxiety issues, the posibility that it was panic attacks, im asuming your heart was racing too if it was as you say "one of the scariest and most painful things I've ever experienced".
The MS Hug is a squeezing or banding feeling that goes fully or partially around your trunk area. Think of when you have your blood pressure taken at the dr's, the cuff goes around your arm and gets tighter and tighter (banding feeling) the pressure stops when the test is over but with the Hug it often starts squeezing again and can keep on repeating the cycle for hours or days or weeks. Its that type of experience but around your trunk area, what your saying isn't really the same thing and probably is more in line with reflux.
My youngest was dx with panic attacks but it turned out to be a side affect of his anxiety medication, once he went off them they stopped. At the time we didn't realise it was his meds until he went back on them, and within a couple of days the panic attack sx were all back. All i'm trying to say is that often the answer is the simplest, and not necessarily a more difficult situation or "falling squarely (most more than this) into symptoms for MS".
I've had esophageal spasms since 1999. I think they're related to the lesions in my upper spinal cord. They started out as simple throat spasms - it felt like I had a chunk of chip or something caught in my throat. Drinking an entire glass of warm water would help relieve the spasm. Since my diagnosis, they've continued, and now the spasm will include my torso as well as my esophagus.
That's not to say that you have lesions in your spinal cord. When I first went to the doctor about it, they thought it was acid reflux. For a long time whenever I had one, I would take a acid reducer and drink a glass of water. Then I found out one day (when I ran out of acid reducer!) that all I needed was the glass of water.
The key is when these attacks happen - are they at night, or during the day? Are you in bed and reclining, or are you sitting up? Did you go to bed after eating a big meal? That sort of thing.
It's definitely not a wrap-around boa-style "hug," then. It's only happened a few times, all more than a year ago within a few months of one another. I'll assume it was acid reflux/GERD. Happened every time while I was sitting up, and twice while I was eating dinner.
I have to thank you for the drink of water suggestion. I've been plagued with these very painful spasms right below my sternum off and on since early May. After reading this thread, I tried the drink of water when one would come on and 3 out of 4 times so far, it's worked.
I'm waiting to hear back to get scheduled for an upper GI and small bowel, but in the meantime, the belladonna that was prescribed isn't touching them. Nor does the baclofen or Tramadol. They're so powerful. Even though they lasted for about ten minutes at a time, my ribs were very sore in the back this morning. It hurt to take a deep breath.
In the meantime, it's good to have a way to shut these down. It's such a gripping pain.
I experienced my first MS hug yesterday. I was feeling fatigued with the house cleaning (daily thing nothing unusual), when I sat down at the computer... When my phone rang I jumped up to grab it and it hit me so hard, my brain went blank, i don't even remember the full phone conversation, it felt like so much pressure around my chest my heart was going to explode out of my throat/mouth. It was excruciating, i couldn'/t breathe, or talk. When I sat down I felt disoriented almost like my brain wasn't working properly, I thought I was having a heart attack! My mother drove me to the hospital as I had both of my little girls with me alone at home. After a CT scan, EKG, cardiac enzyme tests etc. Heart issues were ruled out, I was sent home with a pain-pill prescription and the theory that it as a "MS HUG". My lungs feel raspy (chest x-ray was normal :ruled out bronchial spasms), My chest and back muscles are sore (excruciating pain in shoulder blades as well yest.) And I'm completely exhausted physically and emotionally, can anyone relate to this experience?? What is YOUR opinion? MS HUG?? Does this mean I have more lesions??? I see my neurologist monday (have to travel an hour away)...Please help- my email is ***@**** with any questions/support/comments etc! Thanks!
I recently had an attack, and i thought it was my thyroid acting up, but clearly after reading this article and reading up on the myclonus and myoclonic seizures i was diagnosed with last october and the low lying cerebellar tonsil as well, i'm realizing that it is MS. and the attack i had is exactly like the "MS Hug" but when i had the attack it went from my neck to waistline and then all the way up and to my throat and all the way back down to my waistline again... i'm really scared about this.. i'm doing my best to stay calm being as whenever i get really upset or anxious my throat starts to enlarge (which is where it decided to reside when it calmed down)...
Also, i have been having these same seizures (myoclonic seizures) since i was 16 years old, but they've been getting progressivly worse, and the attack "MS Hug" i had on Aug 25th, 2011 i believe, was the worst its ever been... when it calmed down i couldnt walk and i felt and looked like i had MS.. and i stuttered as well.. and i've never stuttered that severly before.. it wasnt until last october when i was hospitalized for a week and diagnosed with myoclonus and myoclonic seizures that i started stuttering a little bit and getting confusion...
anybody have these symptoms? any hope?
Also, to add to my post, it stayed active in my throat and upper thoracic spine for 3 days.. and slowed down.. but i still have a lot of difficulty swallowing. and difficulty breathing and moving around. i'm extremely weak, especially my arms and legs (worse from my knees down)...
Have you been to a neurologist and do you have a diagnosis of MS? Maybe they can run an MRI on you, on your spine if they haven't already. If you have MS, then they can start disease modifying drugs, so you have less disability in the future.
You should definitely talk to your doctor about all of this, especially if you are still having problems.
Also, this is a very old thread on this forum. You could post a brand new question, because I don't know how many people are still watching this thread.
i agree death hold, boa constrictor hold, there has never been a hug that felt this badd to me . I wander if the fact that i have been off of my Lyrica for 6 months this could of caused this to be so bad? Im scared to do solumedrol again caused i had a difficult time on it , and it caused me to have nitemares, hot flashes, and deep dark depression... and i had chest pains behind it .
Hi and welcome to the forum. You may not notice that you have posted on a very old thread and many people won't take the time to read your words. I hope you will start a new thread and introduce yourself to everyone.
Now, for that darn hug - we really wish there was a different name for it. No way does it resemble those nice gentle hugs that we give to others. We have talked about this and cursed and moaned about it, too.. I'm so sorry you are affected by it. Hopefully someone here will be able to answer your question about Lyrica and the hug.
Wow, this is the first time I have heard someone describe exactly what I experience for a MS Hug and that I found out that a cold glass of water makes it go away faster. I think it "calms" the diaphram and chest or shocks it somehow. Before I would pop an ativan under my tongue as the theory is the muscles are so tight they need to be relieved. But it never really worked, had to wait it out for 15min to the second. Water, cold, within 30seconds.
Wow I just joined Medhelp specificly to ask everyone questions about my symptoms and if they coincided with MS. Wow I just posted a question explaining all of my symptoms I've been suffering from for years now(Im 27) and just came across this question. I honestly almost 100% believe I do have MS now. Since I was approx13-14 I started getting these episodes out of no where and I literally felt as if I was dying because I couldn't get a deep breath. I would take a breath and it just felt like my lungs wouldnt expand enough to get the right oxygen supply. Needless to say panic of course set in next and Im sure my gasping for air and freaking out didnt help matters much. And then within a hour or two I would be fine. My doctors gave me inhalers and even pills to help what they said was Asthma and it would be months to even years before the next episode. I never thought a thing about it. The last severe episode I got was when my daughter was a baby, I actually thought I had pneumonia or a colapsed lung something very severe. It came on as a normal cant take a deep breath and within a couple hours my chest started to tighten I was having pain around my heart(it felt like), it lasted through out the night. Every position I tried was worse than the last the pain took away my breath and the anxiety of feeling short of oxygen was a whole other nightmare in itself, but them combined was unbearable. It was scary!!! I went in at 8am to my Doctors because I really believed I was having a heart attack or low on oxygen(even though I didn't feel deprived). Something I knew was wrong. My ECG was fine, Perfect! So of course it was ruled out as GERD. NO WAY!! I have had GERD since I was 10 and it was nothing like GERD. They gave me a GI cocktail and a script for an inhaler and sent me home. i always wondered why the inhalers NEVER EVER worked. Thank you I think I know why now. I have always been the one diagnosing myself which at first was somewhat amusing but now its just tiring.
I too have gone to the doctor about them before my MS diagnosis and was told that they were esophageal spasms. I've even gone to the emergency room because it felt like an elephant sitting on my chest. All my vital signs were fine, so they sent me home with a referral to a psychiatrist!
Since my MS diagnosis, I still don't have answers, but they are getting worse. I can't breathe, they are so painful! They last longer, too. I can have an episode for a couple of hours. I have no idea what they are, but the doctor assures me it isn't my heart. I guess they are MS hugs. Whatever it is takes the air right out of me.
Oh my gosh! I can't believe I am reading this. I have been having this huglike experience for years. The pain drops me to my knees. No doctors can ever explain it. I my gall bladder out years ago, still happening. I have been having leg pain and strange buzzing, tingling, electric sensations in my legs and feet for a while now. The pain in my feet and legs at night is sometimes unbearable. I have fibromyalgia, sarcoidosis, migraines, ibs, GERD, you name it. They have called it autoimmune disease unspecified. I am seeing a neurologist next week. What do I say, I want to be checked for MS? Not one doctor has ever mentioned any of this to me? Needless to say, this may help explain the horrible attacks I get under my breasts that doubles me over and takes my breath away. I haven't been able to wear a regular bra in years. HELP!
I had respiratory failure two years ago...I am in the process of being diagnosed with ms...I wonder if it was ms then or if it was like they say status asthmaticus...funny but my chest xray was clear at the time of admission for status a. I am so confused about all of this the neuro says I have space but not time...I have 4 periventricular lesions that are 3mm and two occipital horn lesions that are a centimeter. I have mirror pattern o bands(serum and spinal fluid). I was paralyzed from the status a as they called it but wonder if it was ms all along.
I get pressure on both sides of my neck when the pressure starts in the middle of my chest. I have told this to 5 different doctors, and they all sent me to have neck ultrasounds, but have found nothing in my neck. I have lesions on the brain but they do not see any lesions on my spine, and I read that the MS hug is due to spinal lesions. I also read that it is very hard to see a small lesion on the spine. I have several lesions on my brain. MS is suspected, but no confirmation yet.
I've been experiencing what I think is this infamous MS Hug since a few days and I thought I was going to die or go crazy.
First, a bit of info about myself : 37yo female, diagnosed in 2007. I usually have cognitive problems (memory, orientation) and my hands aren't as strong as they should be, I lost dexterity and strenght but that's about it. I consider myself VERY lucky.
From what I see tho, I started a crisis with new symptoms a few days ago and it was triggered by acid reflux. What started with burning under the sternum and burping (I have no doubt it was heartburn as it went away with proper medication after 2 days) ended like heart-attack symptoms in a matter of 12h : heavy pressure in the ribcage (left side), on the sternum and along the collarbone (left as well). I also had sharp pain in the left arm, kinda electric shocks. I ended at the ER, plugged all over for my heart to be properly checked... everything turned out fine. I got an Xray and blood tests as well... I was sent back home with the usual ''it's stress'' comment even if I mentioned my MS.
Four days later the heartburn is gone (hopefully for good) but I still have a very sharp pain on the left ribcage (under my armpit and along the side of my breast.... it also goes down my back at night when I'm tired) that won't go away, pressure on the left side of my chest, and my left arm feels numb. I also have episode of pressure on the sternum and I have a hard time to breath when it happens (thankfully it comes and goes and is less and less severe... a few days ago it was HORRIBLE). My throat feels tight but that could be from the heartburn. I also have parasthesia on both arms, shoulders and back that come and goes.
At first I was convinced all these weird feelings where from some sort of anxiety like the ER doctor said, but thanks to your comments I will call my neurologist next week and set up an appointment. I don't why I didn't think all these symptoms could be MS, but as I said above, I usually have cognitive problems and I'm not used for my body to overreact and experience such pain. *knocks on wood*
This thread was VERY helpful even if it's a few years old. I wish you all feel better by now!
P.S. Sorry if my english is weird at time, it's my 2nd language :)
your use of the English language was great! I am so glad to see you recognize this was an old conversation but even happier to read that you found it helpful.
So many of the MS symptoms are crazy difficult to explain to others and can't be tests by doctors- they have to take our word to it..... hence the often used suggestion of anxiety. jeeez!!
One suggestion - I don't know if it is up there in this thread - is try to expand your chest when you breath so it moves right and left, and not up and down. Stretching those ligaments and muscles a little bit at a time might give you a touch of relief.
good luck with the doctor and I hope we see you around more , Laura
Can the MS hug cause death? When I saw the Oprah show with Montel Williams, Dr. Oz mentioned that the leading causes of death in MS were suicide (which sounds very likely) and the MS hug were the leading causes of death. Is this true? If not can you die from MS? I will certainly pay more attention to those chest pains if this is the case. Not worried, just would like to know to make sure I get myself the proper care . . .
Don't throw rotten tomatoes if you all have discussed this topic earlier . . . I've looked around on the forum and didn't find anything.
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