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Thursday, January 20, 2011 karen, Community Member, asks

Q: Can stress cause MS to worsen?

I am deciding wether to take a new job with longer hours then im used to and long days. Im doing ok right now with MS but am afraid that if I push myself could I make things worse for me health wise?
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Answers (1)
Lisa Emrich, Health Guide
1/21/11 12:49pm

Hi Karen,


I know that when I'm experiencing extra stress, my MS symptoms seem to act up more.  However, it has always been temporary and not related to making the MS worse.


I've heard other people say that stress can make MS worse, but I don't know that they said what kind of "worse" they meant.


It's a tough decision to make a career move.  You won't know how your body will handle the change until you have actually made it.  If you are doing well, you may very well continue to do well (which would be awesome).  I wish we had a magic ball to see the future, but we don't.


Hey, what's the possible new job?  How is it different than what you have been doing?  It sounds exciting to have a new opportunity.

karen, Community Member
1/21/11 12:58pm

Well I was working 3 days a week as a dental receptionist(21 hours). In November my boss passed away therefore I lost my job, and have been out of work since. My MS has seemed to have improved since not working, but being home all the time is getting old quick! Anyhow, the new job is as a Dental Receptionist. It would be four days a week(35 hours)with an hour drive each day. The bad thing is that I wont get home until 6:30 three nights and 7:00 one night a week. Not to mention I have two kids in school. My husband thinks I should push myself and take the job. My sister and my mom think Im gonna push myself too hard and possibly have a relapse. They are afraid that if that happens I wont beable to get back to were I am right now healthwise. Im just not sure what to do:(

Lisa Emrich, Health Guide
1/21/11 1:43pm

Wow, those are long days.  35 hours over only 4 days?  I can see how being gone for an average 10 hours/day would be a concern.  And to get home so much later than your kids are home from school.


It's possible that your husband wants to encourage you to do what you can.  Maybe he doesn't want to think that MS just might limit what you are able to do.  (Maybe a little bit of denial?)


I know that I couldn't work that kind of job.  Much of my work is freelance and can be done whenever I find the time.  My teaching is more rigid with a regular weekly schedule.  I teach during 15 hours spread over 3 days.  It's intense while it's going on and I definitely need downtime on that 4th day of the week.  The time I spend researching and writing for projects online, I do not keep track of.  It is much more than I want to admit to myself.  (Just to answer your Sharepost question regarding work.)


What would happen if you took the job and then found yourself being spread too thin?  Would you be able to make adjustments in the schedule?  Could you work less hours?  Will you have help at home to take care of chores and meals on those days you work?  Will you be able to devote at least one day per week to do absolutely nothing and recouperate?


I'd be tempted to at least try the new job.  It is somewhat self-defeating to limit yourself before you even try something new.  However, do listen to your body and recognize when it says "enough is enough."  Please let us know what you decide.

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By karen, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/23/11, First Published: 01/20/11