Employment With RA
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic illness that aggravates the small joints of the fingers, knees, hands, and feet. It affects the lining of the joint and causes intense pain, inflammation, and can even lead to destruction of the bone.
It is an autoimmune disease, which means the body treats normal cells as invading cells and attacks itself. The disease can cause pain, fatigue, and joint stiffness. While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, it can be managed through different treatment options.
However, rheumatoid arthritis can make daily tasks difficult for those who suffer from it, including finding and keeping a job that a person can complete without wearing and tearing their joints.
Looking for a Job
Working is good for people in general, but especially people with arthritis. It gives them a sense of purpose and a distraction from the pain they may be feeling because of the arthritis.
In order to reap the benefits of working, you have to know your limits. You do not want a job that is going to aggravate your RA, so you have to understand what it is that causes flare-ups in the first place.
When looking for a job, you want something that is going to accentuate your good qualities, but that is not going to hurt you in the long run.
Create a list of must-haves when looking or interviewing for a job. Would you have to stand for long periods of time? Would you need flexibility in having to leave for doctor visits? What is it that you need from a job? These types of questions will allow you to better understand your needs for employment.
On the Job
In almost any job, there may be something that you are required to do that causes a person with RA a lot of pain, but there are ways to manage it while you are at work so that the tasks can still be completed. Things like typing on a keyboard or using a stapler can cause irritation, which over time, can lead to pain.
In the past, healthcare professionals told patients of RA to avoid doing any activity that may cause pain or irritation of the joints, but they realized that that is not a realistic expectation. Instead, they now direct patients to management techniques.
Next page: more about managing on the job challenges, and working from home.