Almost one in three Americans don’t know how to manage work related pain, and for most of them this effort is complicated by working. Having a job with its stresses, professional responsibilities and social interactions can often exacerbate chronic pain conditions, so it is important to utilize pain management techniques with some discipline. You probably have a busy schedule, but forgetting to manage your work related pain can produce more pain down the road.
First of all, you should understand the role that your job plays in your recovery. It may seem that your job is an obstacle to your recovery, but in most circumstances, staying busy and active is beneficial. Even if your pain symptoms compromise your ability to perform all of your professional duties, it is still better to perform at least light responsibilities if you are able.
Secondly, be mindful of your body in the workplace. You want to produce as little strain as possible on injured or sensitive areas. If you work at a desk for long periods, then assume a position with your head and shoulders directly above your hips; keep your feet flat on the ground, about shoulder length apart. Avoid crossing your legs. This will minimize the strain on your back muscles.
If possible, be as active as you can be while at work. One of the most effective pain management methods for work related pain issues is to regularly engage in light stretches or exercises. You can perform many of these like finger extensions, shoulder rolls or arm stretches while at your desk, but it is better for you to move around your workplace if possible. This should promote circulation and healing of damaged tissue.
You may wish to consider an adjustable or a treadmill desk if your job requires you to remain sedentary. These products will enable you to assume a more natural standing position or improve circulation without abandoning your professional responsibilities.
For many people, professional duties include moving objects. It is important to adhere to proper lifting techniques like use your legs, avoid contorting your back and neck, and wear appropriate safety gear. Learn these habits early and use them without exception in order to minimize risk of injury.
There are also some issues that are linked to work related pain, but you may not realize it. If you smoke, it is critical that you stop. It may appear that smoking has little influence on your chronic back or joint pain, but smoking introduces many toxins that inhibit the healing process as well as make pain more intense.
You can also mitigate work-related pain by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Obesity caused by overeating and lack of exercise is often a contributing factor for many chronic pain conditions. A more nutritious diet that limits unnecessary calories and emphasizes beneficial nutrients can help you manage your pain symptoms more than you realize. Combining a healthy diet with a regular exercise regimen appropriate for your condition can greatly improve your overall health and your ability to manage your chronic pain.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
M.D. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of Robert Moghim, M.D. and do not necessarily represent and are not intended to represent the views of the company or its employees.