Staying Safe at Work After an Arthritis Diagnosis

Feb 15, 2021

Arthritis is a leading cause of work disability, but many people continue to stay employed despite their diagnosis. The rewards of work like a paycheck, connecting with others, and the satisfaction of employment-related achievements make a job worthwhile. The downside for people with arthritis, however, can include pain and a worsening of the condition.

Everyone with arthritis should know how to minimize the risk of their job worsening their condition. The work performed, the workplace conditions, and how each employee handles their work can influence their health. Here are a few tips about how to keep arthritis under control while working.

Choose Flexible Workplaces

Arthritis pain can worsen from repetitive movements and sitting or standing too long. The best work environments for people with arthritis are jobs that allow them to do various tasks. Desk jobs that enable people to get up and move around the office a few minutes every hour or so are better than one that would keep someone at their desk for hours at a time.

Any job that enables the employee to sit, stand, and move around at a comfortable pace will fit well into the life of someone with arthritis. Jobs to avoid would include those that require constant squats, bending, or a lot of heavy lifting. These movements in a controlled environment can help people with arthritis stay flexible. The need to hurry at work could mean people forget to use the proper form and that may cause more pain or injury.

Consider Self Employment

Freelancers, consultants, and many other self-employed workers often have more flexible schedules than those employed by someone else. Self-employed individuals can adjust when they work and the tasks they complete. Flexible schedules enable people to do physically taxing work when they feel best and reduce their responsibilities when needed.

Avoid Outdoor Careers

Many people choose outdoor careers because they want to spend their in nature. Arthritis can make any workday spent in nature unenjoyable when the weather becomes less than ideal. Changes in barometric pressure increase certain chemicals released in the body and this may cause inflammation. The increase in inflammation can make arthritis more painful.

Jobs that take place inside or only require people to be outside during pleasant weather are better choices when someone has arthritis. Use caution if time outdoors is necessary. Dress warmly and wear water-resistant or waterproof shoes and clothing.

Select Calmer Environments

Workplaces that consistently cause an elevated level of stress could worsen arthritis pain. Stress can cause increased pain and inflammation because of the chemicals released in the body when people become stressed. Every workplace can have anxiety-raising moments, but people with arthritis should make sure they choose jobs with a manageable amount of tension.

If stress becomes heightened at work, consider the use of relaxation methods. Some recommendations include meditation, socializing with loved ones, or deep breathing techniques. Take advantage of work-allowed breaks and vacations to avoid allowing work stress to become overwhelming.

Keep Employers Informed

A condition like arthritis may make an employee feel vulnerable in the workplace. Employees should discuss their diagnosis with their employer rather than ignore the issue and work through their pain. A discussion can enable the employer to understand the physical limitations of the employee, so they can develop a plan that keeps the employee productive but safe.

People may worry about the loss of their career after an arthritis diagnosis. Mindful choices regarding work environments can make a difference. The decision to manage arthritis with a safe and effective health plan can also help. At Sarasota Arthritis Center , we work with our clients to give them better pain management and more control over their life. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

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