“MS Hug” is a term used to define a symptom that is generally experienced as a tightening, in spasm, or burning sensation that affects the region of the body anywhere from under the arms to the waist.
Discomfort associated with the MS hug vary from person to person. It is possible to have a localized bout or to feel it around the entire torso; and to experience this symptom in waves that last from minutes to hours or longer periods of time. The pain is described by suffers as being; crushing, dull, sharp, burning, or constricting. The constriction can sometimes cause a perceived difficulty in drawing deep breaths which can lead to a panic attack.
MS hug is reported to be non-life threatening; though, it is important to bring these symptoms to the attention of your doctor as these are also possible symptoms of sometimes life threatening conditions unrelated to MS. Your neurologist may run tests; such as an MRI, to see if you are experiencing an exacerbation of MS. Tests; to rule out other conditions, such as; heart problems, gastrointestinal issues, lung problems, or chest infections may also be performed.
Treatments for MS hug sometimes include one of the following; anticonvulsant medication, antidepressants (this modifies how the central nervous system reacts to pain), and over-the-counter acetaminophen. Some patients also find comfort using warmth; such as a hot water bottle. The most important and effective thing you can do is to remain calm; stress will almost certainly aggravate it. Self calming techniques such as listening to calming music, visualization and meditation can provide some comfort. To further provide comfort; wear loose fitting clothing, apply pressure to the affected area, increase your fluid intake, try deep breathing exercises, and apply massage. Analgesic creams sometimes bring relief to some patients.