Ankylosing Spondylitis on the Job: 11 Tips for Working Well
Ankylosing Sputylitis is a rare type of arthritis that can cause pain and inflammation in your spine and other parts of your body.
If you sit or stand for long periods of time, you can be affected by the symptoms of this inflammatory disease.
It is possible to work with AS. Here are the things you can do to make your workspace more comfortable every day on the job.
You can work with AS in most cases. It just takes a bit of navigation and a dash of patience to make adjustments for your comfort and create a work environment that is right for you.
Understanding how AS can impact you on the job is important.
AS can affect your ability to work. If you sit for a long period of time, it can cause pain and inflammation in your hips and lower back, which can become worse if you sit for a long period of time.
It can cause fatigue and neck pain. It is possible that long shift work at a hospital will make this fatigue worse. While teaching or styling hair, standing on your feet in one place can cause symptoms to Flare up.
Many of these issues can be addressed with modifications. If your job requires heavy lifting or repetitive movements, you may be unable to complete the tasks.
Managing your AS may involve additional doctor visits or missed workdays.
According to an older
Another study from 2014 that looked at 88 people living with AS found that there was a correlation between missing work and scores on the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI), which measures disease activity.
AS can add challenges to your workday. It is important to track your symptoms and modify your work as needed, or stay home to rest when you can.
Many employers will work with you to create a positive working environment. There are protections for people who manage chronic health conditions.
The kind of work you do will affect the modifications that make working with AS easier. Suggestions for creating a more comfortable workspace or work environment are given.
Practice good posture by avoiding working or sitting in a hunched position
Adding a support cushion or accessories to increase your comfort is a good way to increase your comfort.
The top of your desk should have your elbow resting on it. You can sit in the chair with your feet flat on the floor.
You could use a standing desk for the entire workday.
Keep supplies and other items at arm’s length and within easy reach
If possible, arrange your desk so that the items you use most frequently are easy to reach. If you are working in a shared space, you should speak with your manager about how to organize your items for comfort.
Elevate your monitor or laptop screen to eye level
“The top of your screen should be at eye level so that you don’t have to look down to see it. If you need to use a stack of books or paper reams, you can use risers designed to elevate your laptop.”
Consider the best way to get to and from the job
“Do you need disability parking? Is public transportation an option? Is it possible to walk to work? It’s important to know which way to get there and which way to stay for the rest of the day.”
Take regular breaks that include movement
You can try to walk for a while. If you need to set a reminder timer, you should.
Incorporate a healthy diet and hydration into your day
Consider snacking on foods that reduce inflammation.
- The berries are large.
- They have cherries.
- They have avocados.
- There is broccoli.
- Asian mushrooms are called shiitake and maitake.
- It is a type of food called hummus.
- There are nuts and seeds.
- Dark chocolate is in moderation.
It is a good idea to drink water throughout the day. Adding fruit to your water can be a great way to add variety.
Create an activity log to identify any pain points or symptom triggers
You can keep your activity log in a notebook or app. When you notice symptoms, be sure to down exactly what you are doing. You can find patterns of pain or symptom triggering by reviewing your log entries. If you notice a consistent trouble area, you should schedule a time to speak with your employer about possible ways to address it.
Work with your colleagues, managers, or HR department
“You don’t have to share health information with your coworkers. You may find that telling them of your needs and limitations allows for better communication.”
Determine whether your job is the right fit for you
“If your job is too physically demanding or doesn’t work with AS, you may want to look for a new position.”
“You can switch to a remote-only role if you’re more comfortable working from home.”
Sometimes, a total career change is best, especially if your industry creates difficult working conditions for AS. You can research online or speak with a career counselor to determine if there are other roles that require fewer physical demands.
Work with an occupational or physical therapist (or both)
An occupational therapist can help you find the best methods and tools to increase your comfort when completing daily tasks.
They can suggest changes to your workspace. They can offer tips on exercises that can increase strength and reduce pain from AS symptoms.
Occupational therapists help people overcome barriers that affect their physical, emotional, and social needs, so it can be useful for both of those things.
It is worth exploring your options since most insurance plans include coverage for this type of therapy. You can ask your rheumatologist or primary care doctor for recommendations.
You can get help with exercises to strengthen your body.
Take time off as needed to rest and recuperate
It is important to take time to schedule doctor visits and therapies that support your health.
If you have been diagnosed with AS, you can take many steps to support yourself at work.
The biggest thing to remember is that you’re not alone if you have any concerns. About 300,000 Americans have AS — meaning that thousands of people out there are potentially feeling the impact of their condition at work.
You can build connections with others having the same experiences through AS support groups, which you can find online or through local hospitals or medical centers.
You can also find information and connection through organizations like the Spondylitis Association of America and the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society.
If you work for a larger company, you will have access to HR staff who can help you navigate any concerns and make adjustments to your role to fit your needs.
If you are unable to work because of AS pain, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
It is important to do what is best for you, because your health comes first.