For most people, work is a vital part of life. It offers us social outlets and helps us to feel like productive members of society. That is why it is important to find ways to create a good work-life balance while managing pain.
Everyone wants to perform well at work. But what do you do when your pain is getting in the way? Here are some strategies and solutions:
Talking to a boss and colleagues
Aside from family, fibromyalgia patients need the support of the people they work with more than anyone else. That means talking to them about their condition, explaining why they have to step out for doctor’s appointment and suggesting ways to make up for missed time.
Ergonomics at work
When working at a desk, it is important to check chair height and keyboard position. The right adjustments, no matter how small, can help make a big difference. Poor posture can lead to musculoskeletal pain and stiff, sore muscles. Taking a moment to get up to stretch from time to time, shifting positions and keeping items close at hand to avoid reaching can also help make for a better work day.
For those fibromyalgia patients who work on their feet, repeated movement can aggravate pain, especially if they are standing for long periods of time on a hard surface. Bending and lifting heavy objects should be avoided. Otherwise, lifting should be done with the legs, not the back, keeping objects close to the body to create a stronger lever.
Whether a job involves sitting or standing, short breaks are always recommended throughout the day to stretch and walk around. They can help work out the stiffness and take pressure off the lower back.
Home office technologies
New technological innovations are making it easier and easier to “telecommute” – or work from home – and actually be more productive. If they work in an industry where it is possible, people living with fibromyalgia should inquire about working from home on days when their symptoms are more severe than usual. With teleconferencing and voice recognition dictation, they can work on the sofa propped up with pillows and no one will even know. Go online or visit your favourite electronics stores to explore the latest technologies.
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