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Thread: constricting chest pain

  1. #1

    constricting chest pain

    I have a T-5 SCI and am 4 months in to this nightmare. I have a band of constriction that runs across my chest right at the are I begin to have feeling in. It goes all the way across and makes it hard to take a deep breath.

    Is this normal? Does anyone else have this and if so does it go away over time and what meds can help it if any? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Welcome, Mike. What you are describing has been mentioned here by others. People with MS can sometimes get central pain syndrome just like folks with SCI and they also sometimes have that same painful constricting sensation. In MS it's known as the "MS Hug".

  3. #3
    I have that as a result of MS lesions in the cord, and it's very scary - in MS, it's known as the "MS hug," but anyone with certain kinds of cord damage can experience muscle spasms and constriction of this kind. Mine started out as an intermittent problem, but now it's fairly constant - sometimes it's there but not too noticeable, and other times it's literally breathtaking. SCI due to any cause is unpredictable, so it's possible that your constriction could go away, or remain at the level it is now, or become intermittent, or worsen - there's just no way of knowing what will happen.

    First of all, check with your doctor to be sure that this constriction is actually due to your injury, and not an undiagnosed organic issue (heart, lungs, etc.). There could also be a new injury causing the problem (i.e., a stress fracture of a vertebra, disc herniation, or other cause of compression of the spinal cord).

    Depending on the cause, your doctor might prescribe antispasmodic meds. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right drug or combination of meds.

    Best wishes with this, I know how unsettling it is to have that banding sensation.

  4. #4


    Thanks for the replies. Mine is constant. Its always there and doesnt seem to have any connection to muscle spasms. I did have a chest xray and everything was ok.

  5. #5
    I am T-4 T-5 going on 4+ years. same type of pain. Taking gabapentin with little help. tylanol helps a little.

  6. #6
    have you had your heart checked?
    My mouth is like a magician's hat, never know what might come out of it.

  7. #7
    This is called "at level of injury (LOI)" or radicular pain. It is very common in SCI. Treatments that may help some include drugs such as gabapentin or Lyrica, TENS, acupuncture, and sometimes the DREZ procedure surgery. You should discuss this with your SCI physician.


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