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Arthritis in Work: Tips to Help You Get Through the Day

The day-to-day demands of work can pose many challenges when you have arthritis. That’s true whether you work at a desk job or a job that requires lifting and bending. Fortunately, a few simple principles can help most people get through the day without undue pain. Ergonomically designed chairs, desks, and specific equipment can also…

The day-to-day demands of work may pose many challenges when you have arthritis. That is true whether you work in a desk job or a job that requires lifting and bending. Luckily, a few simple principles can help many men and women get through the day without undue pain. Ergonomically designed chairs, desks, and specific equipment may also help take the strain off painful joints. Here are eight tips from arthritis specialists.

1. ) Take Breaks From Repetitive Motions

Whether you work at a computer or onto a construction site, chances are your job requires some repetitive motions. “Repetitive movements can cause repetitive stress injuries, which can exacerbate arthritis pain,” says Andrew Lui, PT, assistant clinical professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation at the University of California, San Francisco, where he counsels people with arthritis and other joint pain. “Whenever possible, take frequent breaks if you have to do work that involves repetitive movements.”

2. Use Good Arthritis Body Mechanics

Whether you do a lot of moving at work or sit or stand in 1 position, your joints are less inclined to act up if you keep them in what physical therapists call a neutral position. For knees, for example, the neutral position is slightly bent — the position they are in when you sit in a seat with your feet stretched forward a little.

For wrists, neutral position places your forearm and hand in a direct line, therefore the nerves passing through your wrist aren’t pinched. The neutral position to your neck when you are working at a desk is with your head straight. “Whatever kind of work you do, pay attention to the position your body is in,” says Lui. “Try to eliminate unnecessary strain by finding the most comfortable position.”

3. Stay Mobile With Osteoarthritis

Staying in any one position for too long also puts stress on your joints. “As much as possible, try to change positions frequently during your working day,” states Kimberly Topp, PhD, professor and chair of the department of physical therapy and rehab services at UC-San Francisco.

If you are on your feet a lot at work, take regular breaks . Another strategy that may assist: placing one foot on a footstool as you’re position, so as to change your own knee posture and relieve strain on your spine. (Be sure to switch between your left and right foot.) If your job involves working with your hands, such as typing or carpentry, alternative tasks frequently so that you change your body posture. If your work entails sittingtake breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk round. Desk chairs that allow you to fix positions can also help prevent unnecessary strain on joints.

4. Lift Wisely and Save Your Joints

“If your job involves lifting objects, be sure to bend your knees when lifting,” says Kate Lorig, RN, DrPH, professor emeritus at Stanford University School of Medicine and author of The Arthritis Helpbook. “This puts less strain on your back. Hold objects close to your body in order to reduce the load on your arms and wrists.” Store heavy items in locations which minimize the total amount of lifting you need to do. When possible, ask co-workers to assist if your arthritis is acting up.

5. ) Reduce Joint Pain and Strain

“By using a little advance planning, you can avoid unnecessary strain on troublesome joints,” says Lorig. In case you need to climb stairs to get something, for instance, think about anything else you may have to bring down or up. This way you are able to minimize the amount of trips you have to take.

6. ) Use Arthritis-Friendly Wheels

The wheel was a terrific invention. So use it. Folding metal carts, wheeled tea carts, utility carts, and wheeled briefcases or suitcases are Fantastic ways to move items from location to place without needing

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