Working with arthritis

By December 21, 2013Arthritis

Did you know kyobomungo e-book? There are more than 100 diseases which fall under the heading of arthritis, and all of them are characterised by joint stiffness and debilitating pain. Arthritis is a chronic condition, and accounts for more than 1 in every 10 visits to the GP. Joint pain may be caused by injury or an infection but, as we age, the most common cause is osteoarthritis. The joints most generally affected are the hips, knees, shoulders and finger joints.

Working with Arthritis
Arthritis may be a part of your life, but working and earning a living is a vital part of life too. You might already be working, need to look for a new job, or have been ill for a while and now want to re-join the workforce. If you struggle with arthritis then you’ll know the symptoms of fatigue, running out of energy quickly and dealing with constant pain – and this has a direct influence on your work.
When it comes to working with arthritis, it helps to evaluate the adjustments your type of arthritis requires, and understand how to manage it effectively. This includes exploring the options available to you, and knowing your rights in the workplace.
With this in mind, it’s important to:

Know your strengths and abilities. Begin any examination of your work ability with what you can do. List your skills, interests, training, knowledge, and physical capacities – basically all the positive qualities you bring to your job.

Understand your limitations. Be honest and identify any problems that arthritis creates in your ability to function at work, such as pain, fatigue, diminished strength, or difficulty with repetitive or awkward movements. Be aware of how arthritis affects you every day, not just the “good” days.

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Consider possible adjustments. Think about what changes you can make in how you do your job and when you do it. This will help make your work life easier, more productive, and more satisfying. In other words, think about your choices.

Work with a qualified occupational therapist. An OT will evaluate your job and workplace to determine if any modifications are necessary. For example, depending on the type of arthritis and the joints affected, you can find out what the options are available for joint protection, to reduce the rate at which deformity occurs. This could mean, for example, the option of aids or splints for hand function, so that you can manage tasks independently, or shoulder straps for carrying or lifting objects. An OT can also determine whether you are positioned effectively for your role, particularly if you are seated for extended periods, and what resources you may need, for example, a telephone headset.

Find something that suits YOU. With the common arthritis cycle of flares and remissions it can be difficult to hold down a job, and there can be times when the condition isn’t under control. In particular, inflammatory types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis can be unpredictable. Employees may begin to take an increasing amount of time off, and employers become unsympathetic. Sometimes people may lose their jobs and, if that happens, depression becomes a real threat. This is why it’s important to find suitable work that is realistic and sustainable for your condition.