Had a fairly stressful day yesterday, my boss and I had a conversation in which he told me he thinks I'm a hyperchondriac and That in addicted to pain killers, needless to say I was a little upset although I didn't show it to him. This morning I got up with what feels like a trapped nerve in my shoulder / back hardly able to move head and left arm... Could this be a result of a stressful situation or just coincidence ?

14 Replies

  • Hi i am very sorry to hear that your boss is so unsympthetic its horriable to think people can be that ...but i would say the pain you have now is down to being stressed ..I do try not to get stressed out but its not easy ..when u have people like that saying things .hope you feel better soon ...xx

  • stress does odd stuff...and if you have a crummy sleep, it can make you hurt body parts easy...

  • Hi Debbiemay

    So sorry to read what a stressful day you had.

    If you continue to have problems with your employer it's worth keeping in mind that the Citizens Advice Bureau have employment advisors who would be able to help whatever the problem might be!.

    Hope your trapped nerve gets better, they're so painful!. If it doesn't referral to a Pain Clinic might be helpful or Physio- see what your GP says.

    Take careX

  • Hi Debbiemay

    So sorry to read what a stressful day you had.

    If you continue to have problems with your employer it's worth keeping in mind that the Citizens Advice Bureau have employment advisors who would be able to help whatever the problem might be!.

    Hope your trapped nerve gets better, they're so painful!. If it doesn't referral to a Pain Clinic might be helpful or Physio- see what your GP says.

    Take careX

  • Sorry you are going through this - as others say CAB would probably be good. Have you tried giving him any info about Lupus and what it is, how it affects you re pain? You could perhaps leave a little pile of printed information on his desk? Hope the shoulder pain goes - I had that for ages before my RA was diagnosed and it was horrible. I would say probably stress related.

  • Hi, I agree with everyone else, CAB is a good start.

    Some time ignorance of others can effect the way we feel. Education may be the way forward. I know it may seem daunting, but ask to speak to your boss privately and if you haven't already told him about your condition or even if you have, give him some information about your Lupus. We all know that unless others experience what we're going through, then they have no idea.

    As an employer he has a legal obligations to support you on the work place, so by informing him about your needs he should be able to support you.

    If you find that he's still doesn't understand then contact the CAB for help and support.

    Hope this helps and you feel better soon

    Take care. Xx

  • It'll be tension pain - I get the same thing when under stress but up my neck and into my head - I would be definitely giving him some information and maybe let him view the spoons video - a lot of people don't understand exactly what this illness is and pass judgement far too easily - it's an absolute pain having to educate people but I like seeing the look of embarrassment on their faces when they realise what you're actually going through - at times like this being able to transfer illnesses would be handy even just for a day to make people see what we have to go through

  • Hi: glad you've got some really really good replies!

    My reply is mainly out of empathy, but, for what it's worth, also to offer my experience in managing similar symptoms, which does have a happy ending with 60years old me now in less of this sort of pain etc than I've been since the 1970s

    I struggled with similar chronic persistent & flaring symptoms for decades, which made my 25 year career an ordeal that turned into a nightmare of debilitation & disability: at first I was outdoors in horticulture + then in a marketing & design office (digging etc + then bending over light boxes etc...back in the days of 35mm transparencies & drawing boards). I was vvvv lucky to have good employers, who respected me and let me work from home a lot....

    Turned out the nerve firing, persistent muscle spasms and severe pain in my arms, shoulders, neck & head were down to a combo of several causes:

    -Spondylosis in my cervical spine due to a severe childhood concussion

    -hypermobility giving me ligamentous laxity, resulting in chronic repetitive strain injury

    -spinal facet joint dysfunction due to tendon tightening gradually progressing due to my SLE going undiagnosed & without systemic Rx anti inflammation treatment all my adult life until 3+ years ago (prescription NSAIDs & analgesics helped me cope only by making me feel out of it like a zombie and barely did more than sIightly numb these symptoms while spacing me out)

    -synovitis in my top cervical joint & sacrum joints due to lupus inflammatory process going untreated

    During the decades before my infant onset lupus was finally recognised, I tried almost every complementary therapy and found the Alexander technique, pilates & tai chi the most helpful...without these gentle physical therapies I doubt I'd have had a career at all. Meanwhile my gps were sending me to ortho surgeons, neurosurgeons, rheumatologists, ENT, physios etc who all scratched their heads....some told me I'd be better by my 40s, some said I'd be in a wheelchair by 40, some told me to spend my life lying in bed.

    Finally i was booked for an nhs double cervical discectomy, but because MRI showed my spinal cord & nerve roots weren't actually impinged, I managed to postpone the date of surgery by getting neurosurgery to refer me to a pain consultant. He carried out a series of permanent bilateral spinal facet joint denervations, over the course of 15 years, which did help to numb some of the pain, so that my life was less of a nightmare and more like a bad dream....and I never had to have the discectomy!

    Finally 4 years ago, my lupus symptoms had progressed enough in my hands & feet for my gp to refer me to rheumatology. A brilliant highly lupus experienced rheumatologist diagnosed me based on examination & history alone, and put me on daily hydroxychloroquine which immediately sorted any severe lingering symptoms in the joints & muscles of my upper body (hydroxy also helped with other symptoms, irrelevant to your ?). Then last jan we discovered low dose pred helped these symptoms, so mycophenolate was added to my daily meds, which cleared up any severe lingering lower body symptoms in joints & muscles, AND gave me back lost stamina & resilience amongst other things. So now I'm more physically active & less disabled than I've been since my 20s!

    Your other replies are great & cover your employment issues. So I'll offer something else....Perhaps you're onto to these things already, but, if you asked me to give you 5 tips, I'd say:

    - give your boss & colleagues the great leaflet Lupus Uk brochure with info for friends/family/colleagues

    -Make sure you're in sufficient anti inflammatory meds of the type can truly slow the denaturing effects of lupus process on the tendons of your upper body

    -practice gentle stretching & postural training - eg Alexander technique, pilates, tai chi

    -avoid activities that cause repetitive strain, which means good seating for your work activities, and pausing regularly to shift position & move about

    -try an antiinflammation diet & supplements, especially high omegas & vit D

    Take care & good luck

  • Your condition is covered by the DDA. Unacceptable for your boss to make comments like this. It could be seen as harassment, causing stress, causing an exacerbation of symptoms. I would have a similar reaction to stress - if it's not a headache, or body aches it the digestion and bowels... (Sorry, TMI!)

    If he is concerned that your condition is affecting your performance at work, there are proper channels to address this. Maybe he is just genuinely ignorant and baffled that someone who is apparently well and holding down a job needs so many pills. In which case, he needs to be informed.

    Hope things pick up for you.

  • I am sure it could be - we are very sensitive souls and I always have physical symptoms with any stress since drugs damage and traumatic surgery 14 years ago.

  • I agree with Shazzer76. Your boss's behaviour is totally unacceptable and goes against the Equalities Act/DDA. You certainly have the right to raise a grievance against him, or if you prefer a softer route have a word with HR or someone above your boss about your situation and maybe as others have suggested give your boss/colleagues some info re Lupus. It is so difficult with "invisible chronic disabilities/illnesses".

    You are however protected, but I appreciate how tough this is for you, not easy at all!!!. Moreover, recent research has shown that there is a direct correlation between both emotional and physical stress and pain/increase in flare ups in autoimmune diseases and other illnesses such as cancer. This research was done with mice - my rheumy prof informed of this research only a couple of months ago.

    Hope you feel better soon, and that you resolve your work situation.

  • Maybe he,ll find out one day what it,s like. I hope you start to feel much better!

  • Thanks everyone for the support and constructive replies, sadly my work situation is rather complicated as I work for a very small company where my line manager is the MD's father the rest of the family all have active roles too so unfortunately there's nowhere to complain and at 51 I really don't want to go down the looking for a new job route.

    I have decided over the weekend that I am just going to have to suck it up a little and not mention how I am feeling as it looks like the negative comments are just stressing me out and making matters worse.

    Hopefully next year I may be in a position to reduce my working hours !!

  • I'm 51 and self employed so I know exactly what you mean. It's easy to advise people to stand up to bullying and ignorance but the reality for many of us is often makes this impossible. Good luck for the time being and hope this MD's father finds out about Lupus and all it entails magically somehow - maybe sitting in the dentist and reading a magazine about it or something?

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