Anyone can experience chronic pain at work; it’s not just limited to physical laborers. Chronic pain is any kind of consistent stress on the body that lasts more than a few days. It can come in many forms, including an achy neck and back, numb hands or feet, or a stiff back. Regardless of your pain, these seven tips can help you manage pain during the workday. With a regular pain management routine, you can steadily decrease discomfort and eliminate it.
1 Upgrade the furniture and accessories you use every day at work
Got a desk job? Even though office jobs don’t necessarily take a toll on us through physical labor, they can still cause bodily pain. When our chairs, desk, computer, and accessories aren’t ergonomically designed, we can make injuries, disorders, or chronic pain worse. A good first step to manage chronic stiffness at work is upgrading to posture-friendly furniture and accessories. Try the following things:
- A chair that supports your lower back
- A desk at the right height to place your hands-on
- Computer accessories that reduce hand strain, such as a wrist rest
2 Wear safety gear at hazardous jobs
Let’s say you’re a construction worker. This means you’ll be up on your feet for significant amounts of time, always carrying heavy loads from one place to the next. There’s lots of risk of you dropping something heavy on your toes, like a pile of bricks. If you’re in this situation, then you’re going to need a darn good pair of work boots that will offer you both safety and support. It’s probably best if you get a pair with steel toes. They will be a bit heavier to walk around with. But this minor downside is offset by the fact that your toes are guaranteed to stay in one piece, should you ever drop that pile of bricks on a bad day. Steel toes are strong enough to withstand hundreds of pounds of force. The reason for this is that your toes are fairly fragile. But if anything isn’t going to get hurt with you wearing steel toes, it’s your toes! Good work boots cost a pretty penny. But make that investment. When you put in a little extra effort to protect your body during the workday, you’ll feel better all around.
3 Take physical breaks
Regardless of the type of work you do, you should always take regularly scheduled physical breaks. Step away from your desk, get out of the workshop or remove yourself from the office to move your body and check in with any pressure points that might be present. These are good habits not only for physical health but also for mental well-being as well.
- A short walk
- Brief stretching
- A simple switch to a standing desk
All of these solutions will make a big difference in physical comfort.
4 Practice good posture
Bad posture might seem like a harmless habit, but slouching, sitting, or standing improperly can cause and/or worsen the pain. Bad posture will exacerbate current injuries or health issues, throw you off balance, and decrease your range of motion. Correcting your posture can relieve neck, back, and head strain, as well as reduce the chance of pain in these areas. Feel better at the end of the day by watching the way you hold your upper body. Need some help? It might be a good idea to set a few reminders on your phone to check-in on your posture and reset if needed.
5 Keep an emergency pain kit on hand
If you struggle with chronic aching at work, it’s better to be prepared than to be left hanging in discomfort. Do the future version of yourself a favor by creating an emergency pain kit to keep nearby for any time pain might strike. Also bring along items like:
- Advil, to combat any headaches
- Hot/cold packs for regulating your temperature
- A loose and comfortable outfit
- A small snack that will take the edge off
6 Practice stress management
When you’re stressed about your pain, it might only make it worse. By practicing stress management techniques in and out of work, you’ll be able to stay calm during bouts of pain, reduce inflammation, and give your body the rest it needs to function well. Things like meditation, healthy eating, exercise, aromatherapy, and getting quality sleep each night will help. You can also combine this tip with your physical breaks to create a few moments of serenity in between work sessions. Listening to a guided meditation while taking a walk, for example, would be a great way to rest and reset before returning to the next project.
7 Be flexible to possible work adjustments
If your chronic pain gets worse, you may need to make some adjustments at work. While this might not be what you want, you have to remember that it is only for your good and the good of the company. By delegating certain tasks to other employees or shifting responsibilities around, you can be more comfortable at work without the stress and worry of not being able to perform due to your chronic issues.
Pain is Temporary
Whenever your pain hits, remember that it is only temporary, and relief will soon come. By using the seven tips above, you can avoid or reduce your pain to a tolerable level so you can remain productive at your job. Hopefully, they’ll be able to make you feel a little better when the pain creeps up at work.