Coping with arthritis at work place?

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Coping with arthritis at work place?

Pain and stiffness of joints limits the working ability of an arthritis patient. Apart from regular exercises, a healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle, there are a number of simple steps which you can adopt to help you manage arthritis at work.

  • Your workstation: If you have a desk job, get a comfortable chair, which can support your back, thighs, hips and is adjustable in height so that it can be properly positioned with your working area. A good chair or footstool always makes a big difference in your comfort level at work.
  • You can organize your work area by placing all the commonly used items within reach.
  • A hands-free telephone headset can be beneficial in minimizing neck bending required to hold the receiver if you have to handle many calls.
  • If you work at a counter that requires you to stand most of the time, then adjust the counter height to make it more comfortable. If possible, try to use a foot-rest.
  • If your job necessitates standing, get a sit-stand stool, which will allow more mobility and variety in your working postures. You can use rubber matting or anti-fatigue matting to stand.
  • If you have to frequently access items placed on high shelves, keep a step stool handy. Sticks or extended reachers can be used to reach for the items dropped or lying on the floor to avoid bending, kneeling or squatting.
  • Working style: While working, try to adopt an upright, relaxed posture so that you are not bending or twisting, as it may worsen your condition. While sitting, your hips, knees, ankles and elbows should be at 90 degree angle with your shoulder and arms in a relaxed position.
  • Identify the most comfortable timings during the day so that you can keep the most important work activities for that period (when you are energetic or your symptoms are less).
  • Try to work at a moderate and reasonable pace.
  • Take frequent breaks, get up and stretch every half-hour. Move around and if your doctor or physiotherapist has suggested any exercise, do that.
  • To prevent muscle or joint strain, alternate your postures between standing, sitting and walking.
  • Avoid lifting or moving heavy objects. Use a trolley or a cart if you can’t avoid it.
  • To lift any object from the floor, you must sit on your knees first and then pick the object; otherwise you might hurt or injure your back (if you try to pick it up by bending your back alone).
  • Dressing at work: High heels should be avoided especially at work. Shoes with in-soles or anti-fatigue soles can help decrease strain on the feet, legs and lower back. Shoes that can provide support, bounce and are of proper size are the best ones to be worn at work.

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