Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints, often leading to disability and decreased productivity. If you are living with RA and struggling to manage pain at work, know that you are not alone. Many people want to know what the best types of work for people with rheumatoid arthritis are. Here are some things to consider for your workplace and tips that may help you reduce pain and continue working with RA.
Make Ergonomic Adjustments to Your Workstation
Proper posture and body mechanics can help reduce stress on your joints. Consider using a standing or adjustable desk, a wrist rest for your mouse and keyboard, and a comfortable chair with good lumbar support.
Take Breaks and Stretch
It’s important to take breaks and stretch throughout the day to reduce muscle fatigue and prevent stiffness. Stand up, walk around, and stretch your arms, legs, and back for 5-10 minutes at least once an hour. If you can do this every 30 minutes, that is even better.
Use Assistive Devices
If you have trouble gripping objects or typing, consider using assistive devices such as ergonomic pens, splints, or voice recognition software to make tasks more accessible and comfortable.
Communicate With Your Employer
Talk to your employer about your condition and how it affects your work. They may be able to accommodate your needs with flexible work hours, the option to work from home, additional breaks, or specialized equipment.
Work With your Healthcare Team
Your healthcare team, including your primary care doctor, rheumatologist, and physical therapist, can help you develop a plan to manage your RA and minimize pain at work. They may recommend medications, physical therapy, or other treatments to help you maintain function and reduce pain.
Practice Stress Management Techniques
Stress can worsen RA symptoms, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress at work. Consider practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, or talking to a mental health professional about coping strategies.
Stay Active Outside of Work
Regular physical activity can help reduce pain and improve overall health. Consider low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, or cycling, or try activities that are easy on the joints, such as tai chi or yoga. It’s important to always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can help reduce inflammation and support overall health. Consider incorporating foods such as fatty fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts into your diet, and avoid foods that may worsen inflammation, such as processed and fried foods. Staying hydrated is also a key part of a healthy lifestyle.
Get Enough Sleep
Adequate sleep is essential for managing pain and maintaining overall health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and establish a consistent sleep routine to help improve sleep quality.
Contact a Disability Attorney
Living with RA can be challenging, but with the right strategies and support, you can manage pain and continue working once you find the best types of work for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and communicate with your employer and healthcare team about your needs. If you have tried many of these options and are still unable to work without pain, it may be time to consider applying for disability benefits. Being diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis does not necessarily qualify you for disability income, but with extensive documentation about how this renders you unable to work in your current job position, it is possible to be approved for SSDI. Contact The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill to learn more about what to document to help your disability case for RA.