What counts as a relapse?

Hello there on this fine July morning!,

I need some help please.

I’ve been recently diagnosed, and am filling in the form to tell the DVLA about it.

They ask about whether I’ve had relapses and when they happened. I’m not sure how to answer this and would appreciate any help you can give. I don’t really know what counts as a relapse.

I don’t recall any dramatic event that started all this, although I knew something was wrong for a long time. The only thing that got me to this point was hearing a radio 4 program about MS and thinking “That sounds like me!”, after which I went to the GP and on to the Neuro. Although I have good days and bad days, I don’t have dramatic worsenings of symptoms that would seem to be definite relapses. At worst there have been times when I’ve had to take a couple of days off work. The general background level of symptoms and fatigue has forced me to change my work though.

What should I put on the DVLA form? I guess they’re looking for times when I don’t feel I could drive?

Many thanks


Officially, a relapse is a period of at least 24 hours where you have symptoms/signs that are typical of an acute MS attack, but no fever or infection. So, basically, they are periods when new symptoms appear or old symptoms reappear with a vengence and there’s no non-MS explanation for them. They aren’t what I would call “bad days”, when things are just worse than normal.

If you don’t have relapses (kind of sounds like you don’t?), then just put none.

If you do, then approximate dates are fine I think. I told them late (no one told me I should tell the DVLA!) and I just put something like 1998 x 4, 1999 x 2, etc.


Karen x