9 Ways to Make Your Workday Easier With RA
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect every part of your life, including your job. Does your workspace make it easier on you? If not, there's a lot you can do to change that.
Whether you’re on your feet all day or you sit in front of a computer, use these nine tips to feel better.
1. Pay Attention to Posture
Whether you sit or stand on the job, good posture is extra important with RA. If yours is off, it will stress your joints and can boost fatigue, even when you’re sitting down.
To get back in alignment, imagine a string from the ceiling to the top of your head. Then lift your head, neck, and shoulders upward along that string. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your pelvis upright -- don’t let it tilt forward or backward. And don’t lock your knees.
2. Mix Up Positions and Tasks
If you work at a desk, make it a point to get up and move around throughout the day. Stretch at your desk, go for a brisk walk at lunchtime, and take the long way to the fax machine or restroom. If you can, switch between standing and sitting.
Try to do different things during the day to give your joints a rest. If your job involves repetitive movement, such as turning bolts on machinery or typing, break it up with other duties if possible. Switch back and forth between light and heavy tasks.
3. Tweak Your Stance
Do you stand for most of your workday? It helps to put one foot on a step, low stool, or book so that it’s a little higher than the other. This helps keep your pelvis in alignment. Switch feet every now and then.
Women who wear high heels might want to reconsider their footwear. Go for shoes with good cushioning and support -- and keep heels to an inch high or less. Special inserts in your shoes (orthotics) may also help.
Organize your work area to make it easier on your joints, so that you don't have to lift, reach, or carry too much. If you work in different areas throughout the day, consider whether an apron or tool belt would be an appropriate way to carry the items you need.