Chronic pain – pain that you deal with on a day-to-day basis or one that persists for more than three months – doesn’t have to wreck your work life. Dealing with chronic pain is challenging but possible. Start by tuning in to your body’s needs through deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and tai chi. Focus your mind’s energy on minimizing pain by meditating or practicing mindfulness. Reach out to doctors, therapists, and even coworkers for extra help and support.
Millions of people who work must cope with chronic pain. In fact, it’s estimated that 13 percent of the total workforce had a loss in productive time during a two-week period due to a common pain condition, according to the American Chronic Pain Association. Pain costs an annual $294 billion in lost workdays, medical expenses, and other benefit costs.
Pain management on the job is possible, but requires that employees with chronic pain take a proactive approach to the challenges they face. Effective coping skills include:
Advocate for yourself. Don’t feel as though you have to manage pain in silence. Talk to your human resources department about accommodations that could help minimize your pain and maximize your productivity. If you feel comfortable, talk with your boss and co-workers about your pain so they can understand and possibly assist in your pain management practices.

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.”
Adopt healthy habits. On or off the job, you can help your pain management efforts by eating well and exercising. Inquire about any wellness programs offered by your employer; these can be a valuable source of information about healthy living. And be sure to stay on top of taking your prescribed pain medications.


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