A common myth of arthritis is that it is a disease of the elderly. In fact, arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in Canada. Of the nearly 4.5 million Canadians affected by this disease, about 60 per cent are of working age (under 65). It’s anticipated that more than seven million Canadians will be diagnosed with arthritis by 2031.
People with arthritis are affected at work regardless of their job – from those who work in offices or manufacturing plants, to people who work outdoors or in retail. Arthritis symptoms, such as pain and fatigue, can make it difficult to perform any job. Anxiety and frustration are common emotions.
Even if you are confident that the demands of your job can be managed, you might worry how much longer this routine can be sustained. Or perhaps you feel you have to compensate for your disease by “going the extra mile.” According to a national study of arthritis in the workplace, many Canadians with arthritis are giving up breaks to complete tasks, sacrificing sick days and taking vacation time to rest at home in order to continue working.
Managing arthritis in your workplace
Pain, fatigue, stiffness and limited joint movement are the hallmark symptoms of arthritis and can interfere with everyday activities. However, it’s possible to make adjustments in your routine and develop strategies that allow for a more productive workday
Some steps you can take include:
- Assess your work environment
- Plan ahead and pace yourself
- Maintain a good posture
- Be careful when moving or lifting
- Pick appropriate footwear
- Take care of yourself
- Use ergonomic aids
Simple workplace exercises
Being physically active is an essential part of managing arthritis. The Arthritis Society has a collection of Top 10 Exercises [PDF] that can be done at work.
Use Arthritis Friendly Products
The Arthritis Society is proud to be able to recognize manufacturers that have designed products that are easy to use for people living with arthritis. Products with the “Arthritis Friendly” logo have received an independent and favourable review. Find Arthritis-Friendly Products available in Canada.