Occupational health advice

I'm wondering if any of you wonderful people have had any experience of Occupational health while having PMR. I've got my first appointment next week and was wondering what to expect.

Initially I had 4 weeks off work and have been back for 5 weeks. I'm gradually feeling more and more tired and achey. I can just manage to do my job, but I have to go to bed as soon as I get home and don't really have any energy to do anything in the evening or weekend. Basically I feel like I don't have much of a life at the moment. I'm not sure what I should ask the OH nurse or what to expect to be offered.

Does anyone know the likely consequences of pushing yourself too hard most of the time. Is it possible the illness will last longer?

11 Replies

  • First thing you are ill in fact you have a chronic condition. So you come first . You can not keep working full time you need to work something out with your boss +occupational health . With this illness you have to learn to be kind to yourself.

  • Hi, I have been there the same as you, just having no life as so fatigued. I have have been on half days now for 4 months and OH have advised me to stay like this for another 2 months. My Rheumy has said I should consider reduced hours as a permanent arrangement and suggests that if that is not acceptable to my company I should seek medical retirement! Of course the money implications need to be considered but I have to recognise I have a chronic illness. I'm not sure how much longer I will remain on full pay if I stay on reduced hours and I'm sort of taking it a day at a time. Of course if I do go down the retirement route I'm not sure what I would do with myself as work is a huge part of my life. Any way best of luck and hope you get the support you need from OH.

  • One of the first things I did was make an OH appointment, as I was 51 when diagnosed and working full time as lecturer. This is your absolute legal entitlement. I am also a member of a union, which is frankly invaluable in terms of support and advice for going throught the process, they wil represent and advocate for you every step of the way. I took a pro-active approach, in that my PMR is not 'too bad' YET but I wanted what are called 'reasonable adjustments' from my employer (all this is explained in the OH legal framework). In my case, I requested later daily teaching slots, as early morning starts are difficult and any meds adjustmentstake place then. Interestingly, my manager said 'no problem, I do that for X, as she drives in from far away' and said no need for OH involvement; beware this kind of 'informal' arrangement, as if push/shove came, you have no formal protection under the law. Also demonstrated that my manager thought it was a 'request' (ie this would be good IF you can see your way to do it), whereas actually he HAS to comply, or show why he can't (so for instance if it came to it, my protected status trumps colleagues' requests). The first visit with the OH doc was frankly tick box, you go in with info from list they will provide, he put together letter of notice to my employer. I notice he verbally questioned the diagnosis (which is not his role or right!), which took me aback but remember there is an adversarial side to this, in that of course he (representing the employer, ultimately) hopes it isn't PMR and all will be well. I agreed I hoped he was right (!) but in the meantime wanted the OH report sent. I feel much better having filed for this early on, it is now on my HR file and will inform all discussions about my work going forward.

    Good luck!

  • I asked to be referred to Occ Health. I work for a County Council. Not had too much time off work with PMR but at start of year I asked to reduce to 4 days per week. I had a tel call from someone in Scotland and she basically asked me whAt I wanted and flexible work was mentioned. Also work from home.Like you I often feel I give my all during the week and recuperate at the weekend. Nothing really changed for me. I received a report of our tel conversation, so did my line manager, no follow up conversations or meetings. I am considering reducing to 3 days per week. It's a good standby as far as I can see to have involved Occ Health. My young line manager doesn't have a clue what PMR is about. Why should she? Not many folk do unless they are sufferers like us. Good luck and prepare well. Decide what you want to come out of your meeting.

  • Hi I have been medically retired at 52 ,did manual job .ive pmr /gca ,type 1 diabetes ,addisons ,aps hughes syndrome.My OH were bupa they were great throughout my retirement process.Your company will have to treat you under the disability equality act 2010 ,offering reasonable adjustments to try and keep you at work.I was lucky awarded top tier of lgps so we are comfortable as my dear wifeis working.I had to sit in front of independent pension doctor to get pension .I know I was worried during process as un certainty about work and living but OH and your company will try and help you as legally bound to.As suggested if your not in a union then join asap.Good luck hope your health improves.!!

  • Put your self first not the job , if you are constantly burning yourself out it must have a knock on with the illness, I haven't gone back to work yet as my work is very heavy, safety critical (brain fog worries me on that note). I haven't dropped that bomb on my manager yet . I believe the stress from work and other areas of my life caused this in the first place so I am not running back, you should do the same tell them you need more time and relax . I bet you felt better when you where on the sick . 😄😄😄 try to smile it will aid your recovery good luck .

  • Thanks, yes I felt nearly normal when off sick!

  • I work full time as a nurse with PMR & GCA. I found Occupational Health useful. They recommended to my ward manager, that I work a maximum of 2 x 12.5 HR shifts together then have a day or 2 to rest. They also made me except from nights due to the time sensitivity of my medication. I work 3 long days a week and it works for me. I do however have a very supportive team who ensure I don't do any heavy work where possible. My boss is also well tuned to how I feel, and will sometimes allocate me admin duties which are lighter. I was off sick for 3.5 month earlier this year and it drove me mad. I couldn't picture life without work, but then I'm

    Only 49 ( for a few more weeks anyway lol. Good luck, but put yourself first. My first Rheimy warned me that PMR may linger longer because of my work duties. I e had PMR for over 3.5 yr, and GCA symptoms for 2yrs.

  • I was diagnosed last June at age 49 with Gca & Pmr. Then diabetes due to long term steroids. I have had Fibromyalgia 8 Years also. I work in NHS (33 years) but have been on long term sick almost a year. I have been seeing Occupational health Doctor since last October and they have been supportive all along. However they have said I am unfit for work long term and I am therefore going through ill health retirement process at present(age 50). I do miss working and the routine of it all but have been told that I need to concentrate on improving my health and stop stressing about work. It had got to the stage prior to last June that I was so exhausted and in pain all the time that I had no life apart from work and was missing out on family time with my son and husband. I guess the decision has been made for me to retire by OH but I could not continue on feeling so poorly and working. My advice would be to take all the support you can from OH in adapting your job if possible to suit your health problems.

  • Hi Caroline, you are the first person I know to be in late 40s and diagnosed with both. I have also worked for the NHS for 31 years, and did wonder myself if things worsen if I could apply for medical retirement. I love my job and hope not to have to take that route, but have returned after 3.5 month off and struggling with the head, tongue and muscle pains. It is reassuring to know it could be an option. Thanks and take care, Runrig x

  • Hi Runrig. Thank you for your reply. I have been following your journey too with Gca & Pmr as you are so young. I loved my job too but as all medical professionals state I am unfit to return to work I didn't really have an option. I have suffered with chronic fatigue, anxiety, memory and concentration problems , insomnia and that's along with muscle pain/weakness , headaches, blurred vision etc. I also have had terrible side effects with steroids etc and have only just reduced to 15mg after almost a year. So many flare ups too along the way. I really do hope you can continue to work as it definitely is good for your sanity!!!! Caroline

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