By Rebecca Gillett, MS OTR/L – Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast Co-Host
As things begin to open back up and some of us return to the office for work, you may need to re-evaluate your workspace. Listen to the latest episode of the Live Yes! With Arthritis podcast to learn strategies to keep your joints healthy at work.
Happy Summer! It feels good to kick off the summer — knowing that maybe we can enjoy some of the things we missed pre-pandemic for those who are now fully vaccinated and feel ready to do so. I know it might still be uncertain or uncomfortable for some of us to just go back to the way things were before our anxieties reached an all-time high about being high-risk for COVID-19. So, the last thing anyone wants to think about is going back to the office! Wait, WHAT!? I can’t work from home anymore? Or maybe the rules have changed, and work will remain remote or offer flexibility with where you put in your work hours.
Regardless of your situation, if you are heading back to a traditional workspace, continue to work from home or maybe will do a hybrid of both, make sure your space is set up to be joint-friendly to keep arthritis pain and symptoms at bay.
If you’ve tuned in to the podcast before, you know we’ve talked about ways to adapt your space or the activity you are doing to protect your joints, thanks in part to the occupational therapist (OT) nerd that I am. (Speaking of that, if you didn’t tune in to the Occupational Therapy Benefits for arthritis episode, download it and take the time to listen.)
Some of us spend a lot of time at work, doing repetitive things or sitting or standing for long periods. It’s important to learn and understand how to protect your joints throughout the workday so you don’t cause additional pain or stress on them. That’s why understanding ergonomics is key to truly understanding how to prevent joint pain. After all, at the end of the day, you need to have enough energy to enjoy the little things that make you happy like spending time with your family, hanging out with friends or going on that evening walk with your furry friend.
I have to say that although I am an OT, I am always learning new things about my own workspace ergonomics, constantly tweaking it because I notice a new problem or issue. Recently, I realized my monitor height needed to be adjusted because I caught myself looking up too much and it was affecting my neck. So, I got a new monitor stand and re-assessed my entire workspace again. This is my wheelhouse and my area of professional expertise, but we all need some reminders and support. And we all need to make a few little tweaks here and there because our arthritis pain tells us it’s needed.
Tune in to the latest episode on Workplace Ergonomics, with a returning guest speaker, ergonomics specialist Nikki Weiner, a licensed occupational therapist and founder of The Rising Workplace. Nikki helps us break down the important principles of keeping our joints healthy while we work.