Productivity Tips: How to Work with Chronic Pain

Working with chronic pain is no easy feat (especially if you’re experiencing said pain in your feet). All jokes aside, however, it’s estimated that as many as 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain. Coping with the deleterious effects of chronic pain throughout the workday can make every task that much harder.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on your feet all day or working from the comfort of a home office; chronic pain can take a toll on your body, your mood, and more. If you’re one of the many people coping with this issue, here are some of the best ways to stay productive throughout the workday.

Give yourself plenty of time in the morning

Waking up early might be hard, but you’ll thank yourself for it later. When you spend more time getting ready without the rush of the clock, you’ll feel less stressed. This extra time will also enable you to move your body more, which is essential if you’re coping with muscular, neurological, or joint pain.

There’s no worse feeling than being rushed. Feeling rushed might also cause you to forget important medications that help get you through the workday. It can also exacerbate your pain if you get dressed too quickly and injure yourself in the process. Even though 17.2% of Americans are covered by Medicaid, the last thing you want to do is miss work because you have to go to the nearest urgent care center for an X-ray.

Taking your time in the morning enables you to set the tone for the rest of the day. It allows you to gradually transition into “work mode” instead of flinging yourself into the stress associated with your job and your chronic condition. Don’t feel bad eating a delicious breakfast to fuel your body with the power it needs. Almost 60% of Americans claim that eggs are their favorite breakfast food; starting your day with something you like can make your entire day more positive.

Having the time to get ready allows you to be gentle with yourself. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, taking your time in the morning can make a huge difference.

Modify your work environment

When you have chronic pain, you might be limited to the type of work you can do. As such, many people suffering from chronic health issues are locked into office jobs where they can sit for long periods of time. Unfortunately, sitting and working at a desk can also lead to some adverse health issues.

If you’re working at a desk, one of the best things you can do is invest in ergonomic products. This includes a comfortable chair that doesn’t put pressure on your joints or a computer mouse that’s better to hold. In some cases, you can get an ergonomic assessment through your job or even your insurer. In some cases, taking frequent breaks to get up and move your body can also help. Some computer settings can also ease eye strain and set reminders to take care of yourself.

If you’re working in a labor-intensive job, you should consider how it impacts your chronic condition. Some conditions work better with frequent movement, but you might need to invest in a pair of comfortable shoes that help your blood circulation. If you happen to get a new job where a lot of movement is necessary, working in smaller increments can help you build up to working a full eight-hour day.

Keep in mind that every chronic condition has its own set of demands. If these work environment tips don’t work for or don’t apply to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor for more information.

Dress comfortably

One of the best things you can do is prioritize your own comfort. In the event you have to dress up for your job, discovering comfortable dressing options can make a world of a difference.

For example, seeking out pants and slacks with elastic waistbands can help reduce pressure on your back and your abdomen. For women, wearing dresses that are loose-fitting will allow you to move freely. If bras put too much pressure on your body, try opting for looser bralettes for minimal support or ditch the bra altogether!

Chronic pain might not go away just by dressing comfortably, but it can certainly help you better maintain your symptoms.

Take breaks

When Americans experience the estimated one billion colds per year, they won’t hesitate to take off work if their symptoms get too bad. The same can be said for those experiencing chronic pain.

There’s no shame in taking breaks when it’s needed. This goes for both physical health concerns and mental health concerns. The world can be overwhelming and it’s even worse when you’re dealing with the stress of chronic pain. Take a mental break to play a crossword. Take a five-minute break to go for a small walk. If you have to, take the entire day off if that’s what is best for your health.

It’s not always easy to work when you have chronic pain. Rely on these tips to make your workday a little more bearable.

Published in Featured Articles, Life