We have all heard the well-known adage that work is good for your health, but when you have a musculoskeletal disorder, like arthritis, it does not always ring true.
Whether your job is physically demanding or you are sitting at a desk all day, work can have an adverse effect on your joints and posture. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the strain your body is under at work.
Arthritis Ireland is running a number of Young Arthritis Seminars around the country for young people (aged 18-40) living with arthritis, which will focus on the topics of pregnancy and parenting with arthritis and working with arthritis.
The second of a two part series on the new Arthritis Ireland Blog will focus on working with arthritis with 10 key things to keep in mind in the office.
- Plan and prioritise tasks, completing most important first. Pacing yourself throughout the day will conserve your energy, reducing pain and fatigue.
- Stop before you get tired. Bad habits creep in when a person is tired and not concentrating.
- Leave working splints in your drawer and use when needed. They will assist in relieving pain and increasing strength of joints.
- Adapt your work station for your individual needs. Using ergonomic keyboards, mouse, chair and desk will reduce strain on your body.
- Avoid prolonged standing or sitting positions to minimize muscle stiffness, pain and fatigue. Use a timer on your phone to remind you to change position.
- Complete stretching exercises when seating such as ankle rotations, wrist rotations and shoulder rotations, circle the joint in one direction for several seconds, and then change direction
- Utilise heat e.g. hot water bottle or ice packs to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Discuss options for flexibility in work schedules and tasks with your employer to allow you to plan for changes in function that come with an arthritis flare up e.g. if you find the mornings difficult explore possibility of working flexitime.
- Explore the possibility of adapting your role, cutting down on tasks you find most difficult or transferring to a different role within your workplace.
- Utilise peer support e.g. discuss matters with your line manager, occupational health specialist and other young people with arthritis through the Young Arthritis Network!
The Young Arthritis Seminars will feature expert speakers, including rheumatologists, clinical nurse specialists, occupational therapists and patients, who will focus on pregnancy and parenting with arthritis (click here to read 10 tips on parenting blog post) and working with arthritis.
The events will take place in:
- Athlone: Sheraton Hotel, Saturday 19th January, 11am.
- Dublin: The Gresham Hotel, Sunday 20th January, 11am.
- Cork: Maldron Hotel, Saturday 2nd February, 11am.