Shouldering the pain: working with shoulder arthritis

working with shoulder arthritisThe Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, recently urged UK employers to make adjustments within the workplace for those suffering from arthritis. Current statistics reveal that around 30 million working days are lost each year due to arthritis and similar health conditions.

Living and working with shoulder arthritis pain can be extremely challenging for patients. While some employers have gone above and beyond to accommodate those with painful arthritis, many others are yet to follow suit. Here, we’ll look at the challenge’s employees with shoulder arthritis experience, the adjustments that can be made and preventative measures that can be taken to stop arthritis developing within the shoulders.

What challenges do those working with shoulder arthritis experience?

Shoulder arthritis can be debilitating, causing a wide range of issues within the workplace. Just some of the challenge’s patients can experience include:

  • Tasks take much longer to complete
  • The inability to perform all of their tasks
  • Becoming fatigued very quickly
  • Stress from the job causes the condition to flare up

Musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, are known to be one of the major contributors to short-term employee absence rates. However, the practicality of making adjustments within the workplace for those who do suffer from arthritis can be a major challenge for employers.

The adjustments which can be made

So, what adjustments should employers be making for workers who are suffering from arthritis? According to sufferers of the condition, flexible working hours can be a great start.

As the condition can flare up and worsen at unpredictable times, having a working schedule which allows a little flexibility can prove vital. It would allow working hours to be adjusted to fit around appointments, as well as to work later or earlier in the day to accommodate any flare-ups.

Employers could also consider introducing a physiotherapist into the workplace, or an exercise programme which employees can take part in. One of the key arthritis management tips for patients is to keep moving the affected joints so they don’t stiffen. So, in office environments for example, providing an exercise space or anything which encourages employees to move around, can help to reduce the symptoms and ease shoulder pain.

Standing desks can also be a great investment as these are known to help reduce back, neck and shoulder pain.

Preventative measures

Living with shoulder arthritis is both challenging and painful. Therefore, it is recommended patients with a weak shoulder, undertake preventative measures to avoid developing the condition.

Exercise of the joint is highly recommended to both keep it moving and to build up its strength. A physiotherapist can recommend specific exercises to help build up the muscle and prevent injury. However, it is important to note that shoulder arthritis cannot be fully prevented.

As there are many different causes of shoulder pain, patients are advised to seek a proper diagnosis before seeking treatment. Arthritis of the shoulder is just one condition which could be causing shoulder pain. Book a consultation with a shoulder specialist today to get to the root cause of the problem and identify the best course of treatment.