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What Triggers MS Hug?

MS hug is the symptom of multiple sclerosis. The nerves innervating the intercostal muscles get damaged leading to spam of those muscles. This causes tightness in the chest. Thus, the factors which cause a flare-up of multiple sclerosis also leads to triggering MS hug.

What Triggers MS Hug?

What Triggers MS Hug?

Multiple Sclerosis hug is one of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and occurs at a specific part in the body. Thus, the triggers which are for flaring up the multiple sclerosis symptoms also flare up MS Hug. The triggers of the MS hug are the conditions in which the body is not able to function efficiently. Following are the triggers of MS Hug-

  • Fatigue– As the person suffering from Multiple sclerosis experiences fatigue, the muscles of the ribs may get tightened leading to the development of MS hug.
  • Heat– Heat also triggers the MS hug. Scientist believed that environment with high heat reduces the conduction of nerve impulses leading to further aggravating the problem of MS hug.
  • Stress– Although multiple sclerosis causes stress in an individual but taking too much stress also triggers MS hug.
  • High Humidity– High humidity also increases the incidences of multiple sclerosis hug.
  • Intense Exercise– Intense exercise, especially in the hot and humid environment, causes fatigue leading to trigger MS hug. (1)

MS Hug

Also known as banding or girdling, multiple sclerosis hug is one of the weird symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The patient experiences a band around the chest and there is tightness in the chest. Multiple sclerosis hug is also known as dysesthesia. It is due to the damage of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord which control the muscles of the chest. The chest muscles are present in the rib region and are known as intercostal muscles. When there is abnormal conduction of impulse in the nerve associated with intercostal muscles, a spasm is developed in these muscles leading to tightness in the chest. It does not indicate the worsening of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis as the conditions last for few seconds to few hours. Further, the tissue of that particular area is not damaged due to spasm. If the patient has not been already diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the doctor should evaluate the patient and exclude the chances of any heart disorder.

MS Hug Symptoms

Multiple sclerosis hug causes different symptoms in different people. Further, the same patient experiences different symptoms at different times. Following are the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis hug-

The pain experienced by the patient may locate in between the head and the waist. Sometimes the area of pain is small while at other times the whole of the waist becomes painful.

MS Hug Treatment

The condition is treated on the basis of severity of the pain and whether the MS hug is relapsing or progressive. The doctor may prescribe the muscle relaxant to reduce the pain. The general muscle relaxant that can be administered includes baclofen or tizanidine. Further, other drugs such as anti-depressant, anti-consultant and anti-spasmodic drugs are also prescribed on the basis of the condition of the patient. Sometimes, botulinum toxin injections are also administered to reduce spasticity.

Various home treatment methods can also be adopted to manage multiple sclerosis hug-

  • Shit your position, move around or walk.
  • Massage the affected area and apply topical anti-inflammatory gel if required.
  • Apply ice pack with the assistance of towel.
  • Wear loose clothes to get proper air ventilation.
  • Expand your chest by taking a deep breath. This will help in reducing spasm.
  • An elastic bandage can be used to tighten the chest.
  • With the help of your hand, apply pressure in the chest.


The factors which trigger the MS hug are heat, fatigue, high humidity, hot bath, and stress. These all triggers reduce the condition of nerve impulses.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 29, 2023

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