Four Ways to Manage Chronic Pain at the Workplace
Updated: Aug 19
Living with chronic pain from a condition like arthritis is hard, but working with chronic pain is harder. You have to deal with pain fluctuations every day, worry about causing yourself further pain, and at the same time, get your job done with a straight face. This is easier said than done, and every once in a while, it’s normal to want to give up.
If you’re among the ten million Americans diagnosed with chronic pain, you don’t have to give up because as discussed herein, it’s possible to manage chronic pain at the workplace.
How to Manage Chronic Pain at the Workplace
Being productive at the workplace with chronic pain is difficult, but achievable. Here are ways to manage chronic pain at the workplace:
Talk to Your HR
If you were to call-in sick every time you are in pain, then you would never go to work. That said, advocate for yourself by talking to either your boss, or HR so they can create a plan that allows you to get your job done without struggling.
Talk to your HR about securing an ergonomic chair, desk, keyboards and other work tools you need.
You may even use this opportunity to ask them about the telecommuting options available and whether you can enlist the help of your colleagues for demanding tasks.
Create a Schedule around Your Pain Flare-ups
Chronic pain flare-ups occur at different times for everyone. Some chronic pain patients experience intense pain flare-ups when they wake up, while others experience the same at midday. Identify when your worst flare-ups occur, and what triggers them.
For instance, if you experience intense pain first thing when you wake up, and you’ve realized rushing only makes them worse, wake up a little earlier so you can handle your morning routine at your own pace.
If you experience your pain flare-ups in the evening, you can ask your boss to allow you to leave a little earlier, or place you on morning shifts.
Working excessively will only worsen your pain. So, as much as you would like to get things done, accept your limitations and make breaks an important part of your workday.
Use these breaks to exercise and stretch as this goes a long way in easing chronic pain. Take a short, 10 minute walk around your work block or if you are too busy, do a short walk around your office. This will help you stretch out, and ease the pain flare-ups.
Set Self-Imposed Deadlines and Meet them
Working with chronic pain means sometimes you cannot get all your job done in a day. Being unable to complete your job only increases stress, and stress only worsens your pain. To ensure you get as much as possible done during your workday, set deadlines, and stick to them.
For instance, if your pain flare-ups are worst in the afternoon, highlight the most important tasks and try to complete them in the morning. Allocate each task a certain amount of time, and try your best to get it done within the set deadline.
This way, once your flare-ups start, you’ll have done your part, allowing yourself time to do things that help with the pain.
Get Professional Help Today
Working with chronic pain can be nerve-wracking, but the tips above will go a long way in helping you manage it. Interested in learning more ways to manage chronic pain at the workplace? Get in touch with our professionals today for more inquiries.