What does an M.S. hug really feel like?
“People with M.S. describe it as a squeezing, constricting, or band-like tightening in a section of the trunk. Some say it feels like they are wearing a tight garment, like a girdle,” Dr. Wingerchuk says. There’s little doubt about one factor although: it’s very painful. M.S. hug signs can contain one or each side of the torso, and it will possibly begin wherever from the neck right down to the waist. Some individuals who expertise M.S. hug have chest ache and others report that their limbs go numb through the spasm4.
Sometimes, individuals tear a muscle in the event that they pull towards the route of the spasm. “By pulling against a spasming muscle, you end up with a secondary musculoskeletal injury,” says Dr. Green. This could make your ache even worse. As with many different signs of M.S., experiencing M.S. hugs can make day by day life extraordinarily tough.
What causes an M.S. hug?
Broadly talking, demyelination (the method of myelin getting destroyed) is what causes M.S. hug. “The symptom develops only if there is demyelination from M.S. affecting certain sensory nerve pathways in the spinal cord,” Dr. Wingerchuk explains. Although specialists don’t know precisely which pathways these are, most agree that dysregulated firing of nerve cells causes an M.S. hug.
Researchers additionally know that sure occasions can set off an M.S. hug: hyperventilation is a biggie. In reality, earlier than MRIs had been accessible to assist diagnose M.S., docs typically induced hyperventilation5 in a affected person to find out if they’d it, Dr. Green says. Then, they watched to see if a painful tonic spasm (both within the palms or toes or within the type of a hug) occurred.
“The other two things that can bring on an M.S. hug is being overheated or, strangely, getting cold,” Dr. Green says. Many individuals with M.S. really feel overheated earlier than having a flare-up of signs. More hardly ever, some people get chilly earlier than an assault and docs aren’t precisely certain why this happens.
Does the M.S. hug go away?
Because the M.S. hug is a spasm, the sensation itself ought to finally subside. If you expertise recurrent M.S. hugs, there are medicines that may assist. “M.S. hug is actually pretty easy to treat,” Dr. Green says.
Medications to deal with M.S. hug often embrace:
Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs): These work by focusing on the a part of the immune system chargeable for inflicting irritation and myelin harm6. DMTs will help forestall new myelin harm and assist alleviate your signs, however they’ll’t reverse current harm or be taken to stop M.S. within the first place.
Anti-seizure medicines: Treating M.S. is the easiest way to keep away from an M.S. hug. If they’re a constant downside, Dr. Green says his first selection of treatment is carbamazepine, an anticonvulsant (aka anti-seizure treatment) that works by disrupting irregular electrical impulses within the mind, based on the NLM. Phenytoin and Dilantin are different choices for individuals who can’t take carbamazepine for some motive or who don’t reply to it, he says. It’s vital to notice that medicines can scale back the variety of M.S. hugs you get, however they could not forestall them from taking place 100% of the time.
When you’re within the midst of an intense spasm, Dr. Wingerchuk recommends utilizing rest methods to attempt to keep calm since stress and nervousness can truly amplify your signs, making your ache even worse.“For some people, hands-on therapies like massage or touch are also helpful,” he notes. Of course, these could not all the time be an choice, so implementing different methods to calm down, corresponding to deep respiratory or meditation, may be helpful. Beyond that, he recommends avoiding any M.S. hug triggers you’ll have observed, corresponding to excessive temperatures.
The excellent news is, for those who expertise an M.S. hug as soon as, that doesn’t essentially imply it can change into a continual downside. That stated, for those who expertise an M.S. hug as a brand new symptom, it’s vital to schedule an appointment together with your physician as a result of it may point out you’ve got a brand new lesion, Dr. Green says.
Experiencing an M.S. hug can really feel actually scary and jarring. But there are medicines that may assist forestall and deal with them so you’ll be able to regain some management over your life.
- Cell Journal, Multiple Sclerosis: Pathogenesis, Symptoms, Diagnoses and Cell-Based Therapy
- Neurology, The “MS Hug”: Definition, Characteristics, Course, and Misattribution Risk
- Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Neurocutaneous Disease: Neurocutaneous Dysesthesias
- Neuroimmunology Reports, Use of Thoracic Paravertebral Nerve Blocks to Manage Symptomatic Multiple Sclerosis “Hug”
- Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, Hyperventilation-Induced Painful Tonic Spasms Secondary to a Structural Lesion of the Pons
- BMJ, Disease-Modifying Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis