How To Work Smarter With Arthritis

Most people know that arthritis sufferers can experience severe stiffness and pain in their joints, sometimes causing some patients to lose mobility and to become seriously impaired. But many people do not realize how difficult it can be for arthritis sufferers to accomplish simple everyday tasks such as brushing their hair, getting dressed, and even getting in a car. Obviously, this can be the source of stress in the workplace as well. If you suffer from some form of arthritis, here are some tips to keep yourself healthy and pain-free in the workplace. No matter what kind of job you do, there is always something you can do to make your work experience more comfortable for you.

First, don’t hide the fact that you have arthritis from your colleagues or supervisor. Many people tend to overwork their bodies at work, or tend to work in ways that can cause exacerbate their condition. Be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot do. Avoid taking on too much. Even if you think you feel OK at the moment, overexerting yourself at work can eventually catch up with you later. If like many people you work in an office setting, there are several simple steps that you can take to relieve stress on your body. You should avoid, for instance, causing undue stress on your neck. Many people put stress on their neck during the workday without even realizing it. Now there are many ergonomic accessories that can relieve this pressure significantly. Try placing a document holder next to your computer monitor. Document holders that can be attached to the monitor let you work at eye level, relieving the pressure on your neck. Another accessory that you may want to try out is a hands-free telephone headset. These work well, especially if you tend to be on the telephone for most of the workday. Another important consideration is the position of your computer and keyboard in relation to your body. Your upper body should be separated from the computer monitor by at least 20 inches. The top of the computer should be in line with the top of your head. Your elbows should ideally be at a right angle as you type. Type with your wrists relaxed; your arms should be hanging loose at your side.

Another important consideration for working smarter is to dress appropriately. Even if you work in a business environment, you should make certain you are comfortable in your attire. Women should avoid high heels. High heels place incredible stress on your feet! If you absolutely cannot part with your high heels, opt for shoes with lower heels (one inch high). Better yet, go for a pair of fashionable flats instead. Putting too much stress on your feet and knees can greatly increase your risk for developing osteoarthritis. Also, don’t forget to take several breaks throughout the day. Sitting or standing all day can greatly exacerbate most forms of arthritis. Do not lock yourself into one position. Rather, take several breaks throughout the day to walk or sit.