Sunday, March 01, 2009 care14, Community Member, asks

Q: spasms in the diaphragm,

Has anyone ever had spasms in their diaphragm? It's not like hiccups--in fact at first I thought it was asthma--but I have this problem when I have a cold. It makes me have to grunt or push out my words, and it lasts a couple of weeks after I get well.

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Answers (5)
Merely Me, Health Guide
3/ 2/09 5:28pm

Hi there


I am wondering if you can tell us a bit more.  Are you thinking this symptom has to do with having multiple sclerosis or with having a cold?


The first thing I would suggest is to ask your doctor about this symptom.  It could be anything.  In the meantime I can give you some information.


If you are talking about having speech problems during an MS exacerbation...I have experienced this.  My words come out in bursts and I am loud.  If you had a cold...this makes sense that an exacerbation may have followed (MS symptoms can occur when ill or running a temperature.) 


I did find a forum you should look at where people discuss this spasm in the diaphragm and what they did about it.  The people on this forum described it as painful.  Some of the suggestions given there were to take Baclofen, Neurontin, or Lyrica or even sugar water.  But again...I strongly suggest that you see your doctor to ask what is causing your symptom.  This may be totally unrelated to MS.

On a web site called The Multiple Resource Center, they give information about breathing problems related to MS.


Here is a quote from this web site pertaining to a symptom called the MS hug.  I wonder if this may be what you are experiencing: 


"The only breathing difficulties I ever get are when I get the'MS Hug''s so tight that I can't expand my ribcage enough to breathe properly so keep trying unsuccessfully to take deep breaths. I believe that I should be doing the opposite like people who suffer asthma and take shorter, shallow breaths through my nose until it has passed"

I am not a doctor...just another MS patient so I am just giving you the research that I have found.  But please do see your doctor.  It might be something serious and you won't know until you ask.


Thank you for your question!

FrisbieMA, Community Member
3/ 2/09 6:37pm

I completely agree with Merely Me your best bet would be to ask the doctor. MS and MD are completely different. We are not qualified medical professionals we are MS patients. I know that you can get your answers from your doctor better than us.  Good luck


Lisa Emrich, Health Guide
3/ 3/09 4:42pm

Hi again care14,


I'm sorry if my previous response was misleading.  The point was not hiccups, but the spasms affecting that muscle.  I notice that you have asked several questions regarding spasms.  There are medications to help with this symptom including baclofen, zanaflex, sometimes even valium.


If you are experiencing more of a tightness in the chest, around the ribcage, which makes breathing and talking more difficult, then that sounds like the MS hug.  The links Merely Me provided for those are very useful.


When you have a cold, the flu, or any type of infection, someone with MS is much more likely to experience increased symptoms.  This is not the same as a relapse or exacerbation, but it can feel just as bad.


Please contact your doctor and discuss ALL of the symptoms you have been experiencing.  That would be the best way to find answers appropriate to YOUR situation.  The answer could be something as simple as taking baclofen and getting more activity.  I don't know.  But I do thank you for asking the questions.

MzLead, Community Member
5/13/09 12:25am

Hello Care14!  I'm new to this site but when I read your problem, I just had to respond.  I too have been having problems with spasms in the diaphragm.  Like you said, it's not like hiccups.  It's more like when you're crying and you're trying to catch your breath.  I've had MS for 6 years but this is the first time that I've ever experienced anything like this.  My breathing gets shallow when these spasms occur.  My doctor told me to take Baclofen.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  I hope you get some relief soon and please know that you're not alone!  Smile

minda, Community Member
10/12/10 7:48pm

I've been experiencing what I feel are spasms in my diaphragm.  This all started around 7 years ago.  I had walking pneumonia for around a week before I knew I had it.  I was coughing all the time.  I then started having problems with my speech and breathing.  The only way I could explain it was it's like I've been crying a lot...but I had't been.  The symptoms of my pneumonia went away but I still had problems with my speech and breathing.  I felt fine.  No pain.  This lasted for aobut 7 months off and on.  Mostly on.  I was was tested for asthma and nothing. I was sent to a neurologist and she thought it might be spasmodic dysphonia.  I then saw a Ear, Nose and Throat specialist along with a speech therpist.They ruled out spasmodic dysphonia.  It finally went away then two weeks later came back for a short while. The doctors really never found out what was going on.   

Two years later I got it back again but for only a month.  And now...I got a head cold and now it's back again. 

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By care14, Community Member— Last Modified: 07/22/14, First Published: 03/01/09