Working with arthritis
If you have arthritis, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 23 percent of all adults in the United States – roughly 54 million people – have arthritis, a term that refers to more than 100 diseases and conditions that affect the joints.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, according to CDC. Other forms include lupus, gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
Pain, aching, swelling and stiffness are among the symptoms.
The pain associated with arthritis can be a challenge for workers. To help cope, the Arthritis Foundation recommends these tips:
Work around your symptoms. If you know, for example, that your arthritis tends to be more painful in the morning, ask your supervisor if you can start your workday later. Also, look into flextime or telecommuting options.
Don’t tire yourself out. If you work in a large facility, try to schedule meetings in the same area to prevent unnecessary walking.
Rest. Take a quick break every 20 to 30 minutes to walk or stretch, which can help keep joints flexible.
Use mobility aids. If walking is painful, ask your supervisor for a scooter to help you get around.
Use arthritis-friendly office equipment. Work at a desk? Check with your supervisor to see if any tools can make working with arthritis easier. Options include an ergonomic keyboard and mouse; voice recognition software, so you don’t have to type; and an adjustable chair and rocking footrest.
Talk to your supervisor about making changes. Are there duties you can take on that aren’t as strenuous on your joints?
Keep your condition in mind. Are you looking for a new job? Understand the limitations that arthritis places on your life as you search.
Additionally, CDC touts the importance of staying active to help manage arthritis symptoms: “Physical activity – such as walking, bicycling and swimming – decreases pain and improves function, mood and quality of life. People with arthritis should try to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.”