During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us with office jobs got used to working from the comfort of our own homes. But now as the pandemic is dying down, many are going back into the office whether it’s on a full-time or hybrid schedule. Having to work from an office all day can be really hard on people dealing with chronic pain or a recent injury. So, if you’re worried about returning to the office, don’t fret too much! There are many ways to help alleviate pain at the office and make your return that much easier.
Pain management while working
1. Get into a morning routine
How you start your morning will set your entire day up for success or failure. It can be a struggle to roll out of bed in the morning, but here are a few of our favorite tips to getting your morning started right:
● Wake up early enough: With chronic pain, it can be hard to get out of bed–especially if you know you’re headed to work. Give yourself some extra time in the morning to wake up properly and get your day started right.
● Eat a healthy breakfast: They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and they’re not wrong! Eat a filling and nutritious breakfast to feel energized and ready to take on the day. Think oatmeal, eggs, fruit, and more!
● Stretch, meditate, or do yoga: Put aside 5-10 minutes in your morning to move your body and focus on your breathing. This will help you destress and put your mind in the right state to start your day!
● Dress to impress: Have you ever heard of the saying, “look good, feel good”? While it may seem silly, dressing up for work can make you feel more confident and boost your mood throughout the entire day. Wear clothing that you feel both comfortable and confident in to help you feel good when you walk out the door in the morning.
2. Set your desk upright
The right desk setup is absolutely crucial to keep your pain levels to a minimum. Make sure to keep your laptop or monitor at eye level at all times. This will reduce the strain on your neck and back. Keep your feet flat on the floor and have your knees at 90 degrees as much as you can. Many offices nowadays have desks that can transform from a sitting desk to a standing desk. If you have the option of using a standing desk while working, do it! Standing for part of the day helps stretch out your muscles and reduce any stiffness that can come from sitting in one position for too long.
3. Keep track of your pain levels
Pain levels can vary from day to day and even minute to minute. The severity of your pain all depends on your stress levels, activity for the day, quality of sleep the night before, and more. This means that it’s important to figure out what triggers your pain to get worse. If you can pinpoint triggers for flare-ups, you can avoid them during the work week. Try to keep a journal or list of things you’ve eaten, activities you’ve done, or hours spent at your desk along with your pain levels for the day. This information can help you greatly to lower the chance of heightened pain, especially while in the office.
4. Don’t stay still
Like we previously mentioned, staying still and sitting in one position all day is a recipe for flare-ups. Sitting in the same position can stiffen the muscles and tendons causing pain that can last for days. If you can, get up to walk around for a few minutes each hour and try stretching at your desk. This can help to loosen stiff muscles and reduce the risk of a future injury. If you are prone to stiffness, you can also use a heating pad or hot patch to relax the muscles while you’re working.
5. Communicate openly
One of the most important things that you can do is talk to your boss about your chronic pain or injury. Everyone experiences pain differently so whether you’re recovering from a recent injury or deal with pain on a more regular level, it’s crucial to let your supervisor know what is going on. Pain levels can change drastically by the day or even the hour which means your boss should allow you the flexibility to manage your symptoms as needed. If you let your boss know what you’re going through ahead of time, they will be more understanding if you need to leave work early one day, have to work from home another, or ask to take regular breaks.
6. Manage stress and anxiety
When we deal with high levels of stress, we release a hormone called cortisol and our body basically goes into fight or flight mode. When your body is stressed, it tenses up to protect itself. This can leave your muscles aching and make you more prone to becoming injured. To reduce stress levels at work, incorporate focused breathing and yoga into your routine. And always remember that work is a part of our lives but it’s not our entire life! Enjoy time with friends and family and always do the things that make you happy.
7. Pain relief patches
Pain relief patches are one of the easiest ways to manage pain while at the office. The SINSINPAS AREX Cool & Hot Pain Relief Patches are a great option to have at your desk at all times. The AREX Patches provide a heating and cooling effect to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles. This pain relief is long-lasting and moves with you throughout the day. The AREX Patches come in small and medium/large sizes to target your specific pain relief needs. They are also available in a Gel Patch form for the most sensitive of skin. Stash a few patches in your desk for a discrete and fast-acting way to relieve pain!