As if work isn’t stressful enough, try adding arthritis into the mix. The average work week has its ups and downs for everyone, but it can be extra challenging for people with arthritis. But being employed while having arthritis has its benefits. Research suggests that holding a job increases self-esteem and improves mobility in arthritis patients.1
Depending on your work environment and responsibilities, there may be a few changes you can make to alleviate arthritis pain in the workplace and improve your work days. Here are some ways you can make working with arthritis a little easier.
If you need accommodations at work...consider talking to your boss.
Whether or not to tell your boss or coworkers will depend on your level of comfort. That said, research by the American College of Rheumatology shows disclosing your arthritis to your boss and colleagues typically will not have negative impacts on your work performance. In fact, people with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis or osteoarthritis who told their managers and coworkers about their conditions reported reduced stress at work. In addition, support from colleagues resulted in fewer disruptions, help with tasks and less hours taken off work.2
If you aren’t comfortable at your desk...create a more ergonomic workspace.3
Ensuring your workspace is comfortable can make a major difference when it comes to easing pain caused by arthritis. Here are a few ideas from the Arthritis Foundation on how you can adjust your space for optimal comfort:
- Find the right chair. Your chair should be adjustable for seat height and tilt.
- Adjust your armrests. Reposition your armrest so it allows your elbows to bend comfortably at 90 degrees.
- Keep your feet flat. If your feet don’t reach the floor, use a footrest or adjust your chair so that your feet can rest comfortably on the ground.
- Reposition your computer screen. Adjust your computer monitor so that your eyes are level with the top of the screen to prevent neck and shoulder strain.
- Use a document holder. Use a document holder device to raise materials to eye level, rather than having to bend your neck.
Check out this video to see some ergonomic adjustments in action.