Giving up work after Relapse

I was diagnosed with MS about nine years ago and I’ve had relapses over the past years. I always seem to recover quickly and continue working. I’m not on any DMD because not sure about the side effects and if they really will help me. I’ve been pushing through the pains but when they got too bad I would go to GP or call the MS nurse.

I’ve been driving to and from work 3 to 3 1/2 hours one way, I should say this wasn’t on a daily bases but I have been doing this for around 8 years. You may be thinking why didn’t I catch the train and I can only say because of the cost and not leaving close to a main line station.

I had a relapse about 3 weeks ago and have been off work. My MS pains are not going this time and seem to be getting worse. I am on Pregabalin but it doesn’t seem to work and I may need to change the meds. I really think the journey to and from work has really not helped me because it was really making me extremely tired. I don’t have the strength to left the heavy equipment and the pain and weakness is getting worse. I’ve come to the point that I feel I need to give up my job and I’m not sure how to go about it and what the best route would be. I also think it time that I gave up work altogether but not sure how I would survive financially. Part time would not be a option because of the nature of my work.

Has anyone else had a similar experience.

Hello Dave

If you don’t take a DMD, you will have relapses, and often only partial remission from relapses adds to accumulating disability. Of course, as you say, there may be side effects of any DMD, just as there are with any drug. But the potential benefits outweigh the side effects (imo).

However, your choice not to take DMDs is fair enough and one I do understand.

If you were to give up work because you are too ill to continue working, you’d have to do it by being absent from work sick, thus qualifying for Statutory Sick Pay. Ultimately if you then were to be ‘forced’ to stop working altogether because of your health, you could claim Employment and Support Allowance. But, you do have to be relatively disabled to keep getting ESA these days. And of course, it’s not a huge amount of money. If you read through enough posts on this forum about peoples battles with claiming ESA, you’d realise it’s not quite as simple as just finding it difficult to continue working.

I daresay that if you’ve been capable of driving such long distances plus doing a job that sounds quite physical, you’d find that qualifying for ESA might be a bit difficult anyway, in spite of your current relapse making you weaker.

Is there any other job you could apply for that’s closer to home? And/or is less physical in nature? You haven’t said what age you are, but that might also be a factor - depending on how long your working life is expected to be before you qualify for a pension, state or private. Also, if you have a family, that’s another issue that you’d have to take into account.

Clearly if you are in pain, and the drug that’s worked to date isn’t working any more, you should speak to your MS nurse, GP or neurologist about changing to a different drug. But of course, you might then suffer side effects from a different neuropathic pain drug. A bit of a catch 22 situation really.

Perhaps the best thing you can do is to see your MS nurse, talk through your pain medication issues and see what s/he thinks about your conundrum of whether to continue trying to work and how realistic it is financially to stop.

Best of luck.


Dave 137, big hugs !

durring a relaps is not a time to be making life changing decisions. Giving up may be the way forward But please don’t deside durring a relaps !

Hugs, stay strong.

Having been through the process of helping my wife fight firstly her employers to stop/delay them sacking her(when she just seemed to have trapped nerves following industrial injury and no idea of MS), then the dwp on Esa resulting in an eventual tribunal win(once she knew she had Ms and needed a crutch to walk even short distance), i have to agree with Sue that it sounds from what you say unlikely you would get ESA.

What does your employer think of your struggle? Do they know you have Ms and that your are classed as disabled under the Equality act.You say part time is not an option but your employer has a legal duty under the equality act to “make reasonable adjustments” to enable you to continue to work.What have they done if anything to help?

good luck


You must not give up your job voluntarily.


it may be worth considering DMDs if you consider that it could keep you working for longer. I completely respect your position and you should choose the compromise that suits you.

It took me 3 years to give up work, during which time my employer and occupational health team worked with me to make adjustments to keep me in work. I eventually got to the point when the benefit of working was outweighed by the impact and I was no longer doing myself or my employer any favours so I decided that I had to stop.

They supported me and worked out an early (ill health) retirement plan.

Whilst it is a very big deal (stopping work) with a plan and a bit of luck it can work out.My suggestion to you is try to be proactive and manage “your” process. If you can get help & ideas from your support network, all the better.

I wish you the very best of luck.