(BlackDoctor.org) — Whether it’s an aching neck, sore feet, or simply overall discomfort, if you’ve had to work through pain on the job, you know how challenging it can be.
Did you know: According to a national survey, nearly 90 percent of employees with chronic pain would rather go to work than call in sick, even though nearly half say pain affects their ability to do their job.
In some cases, your workplace can be the direct or indirect cause of pain. Government figures report that 30 percent of workers’ compensation claims are due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.
The next time pain strikes on a workday, try these techniques:
Practice Good Posture. A great number of chronic pain problems are caused by people slouching or sitting improperly in a chair, says Kathryn L. Hahn, PharmD, a pain management specialist in Springfield, Oregon.
“Whether you are sitting or standing, poor posture is a major culprit in causing back pain or making it worse,” she says. “Slouching or being hunched over can stress or pull the back muscles and cause pain. Having good posture helps maintain the natural curves of the back and keeps it strong.”
Set Up an Ergonomic Workstation. One simple way to ensure good posture and avoid workplace pain is by practicing correct ergonomics — the concept of keeping the body in proper alignment while at work. Ideally, you should learn how to position your hands on the keyboard to avoid the pain of repetitive strain injury.
“For office workers or anyone who finds themselves regularly using a computer in their job, posture training is key to ensuring that good ergonomics are maintained,” says Moshe Lewis, MD, a pain management specialist in private practice in Redwood City, Calif. “Ideally, an ergonomic assessment by an occupational therapist who is trained in the prevention of workplace injuries is recommended,” adds Dr. Lewis.
Move During Your Breaks. Taking a break every couple of hours or as needed is critical to avoid chronic pain while working. Lewis suggests going the extra step of getting up and walking around as much as you can to keep the body limber and strong.