I love hugs; unfortunately there is another type of hug that does not feel as lovely as the hugs you imagine.
One morning I awoke and something was different and not in a good way. My chest area was in more pain than usual and it was an odd pain. It felt like all my muscles were constricting at once. Almost as if all of the muscles in that area decided it was time to cuddle, but the pain was awful and kept me home. It was unrelenting I did not know what to do. I’m at the point where I assume any issue I experience is somehow related to multiple sclerosis.
MS hug is a symptom of people who have multiple sclerosis that affects their spinal cord. I’m one of the lucky ones whose brain AND spinal cord are affected. According to WebMD, there are small muscles that hold the rib cage together that help it adjust when you breathe or move. These muscles can spasm resulting in the MS hug.
I told my neurologist and he believed the symptoms would end after a few days. It didn’t, in fact, it got worse. So I called the neurologist office again and was prescribed Baclofen and Gabapentin. Baclofen is a muscle relaxer and Gabapentin is an anti seizure medication which is also used to treat nerve pain. The medications have made the symptoms not as bad but they haven’t relieved the MS hug completely.
Even the little bit that the drugs have helped is good enough. I am able to be productive, yet I can’t drive while on them because they can make you drowsy if taken together. I try to stifle them a bit. I don’t drink alcohol while consuming the drugs as the may affect your judgment and eyesight. Adding alcohol to the equation wouldn’t help.
Upon further reading I discovered that MS hug can last a few hours a few days and in rare cases it can last years. As of this post I’m still feeling it and it has lasted weeks. Gosh I hope it is not years.
I also read that reducing stress, yoga, and exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of MS girdle. I haven’t tried yet but I will although am nervous because I don’t want to tease the pain into getting worse.
For right now I’m going to continue with the prescribed medication and do what I can to not let this symptom affect my daily living. If MS girdle restricts breathing or feels like a heart attack you should go to the hospital. MS girdle can mimic heart attack symptoms. It is better to know than to find out when it is too late.
Have you ever experienced the MS Hug? How long has it lasted? Have you found anything that relieves the discomfort?
Patrick is a Chicago born comedian and blogger. He is in school to be a teacher and enjoys playing ukulele and listening to music in his spare time. He uses humor to deal with adversity. He is where tragedy meets comedy and comedy always wins.