Though society has come a long way in recognising chronic pain, many people living with a chronic illness still find it difficult to work while managing their condition. In this article, we’ll explore this issue, using real chronic pain stories from To Better Days, a brand that specialises in helping and supporting individuals living with chronic pain through active patches that promote nerve, joint and muscle health.
Chronic Pain and Working Full Time
For many living with chronic pain, it’s best to find a job with flexible hours that lets you work from home, as this will leave you freer to schedule work around physical therapy, medication and anything else you need to do to manage your chronic illness.
However, that’s not possible for everyone. What about those who are living with chronic pain and working full time?
Luckily, there are a lot of ways you can manage such a situation. There’s no reason working with chronic pain should mean limiting your options. If you want or need to pursue a full-time career, you absolutely can.
This includes those at the top of the work pyramid, too – check out this video, for instance, from Neuro-Insight CEO Shazia Ginai, where she talks about running a successful company while managing a painful condition.
Even better, as recent events have proved, more jobs than we might have thought allow us to work from home. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that there’s no need to choose between working full time and having the flexibility and comfort that comes from working from your own home – both are achievable. This is especially useful for those with a chronic illness that makes it hard to drive or use public transport.
Working with Chronic Pain
There are a few things you may want to keep in mind when looking for work when you suffer from chronic pain.
Firstly, you should make sure your CV, LinkedIn and any other documents you need to apply for a job are up to date with ways that your condition could impact your work life. While there’s no legal requirement to do this, it’s best to step into your new role with a clear, shared understanding with your employer.
Secondly, you should know your rights. As outlined here, there are a lot of protections in the UK for those working with chronic pain. Make sure you’re up to date on these so you know and can ask for all the support you’re entitled to.
What sort of jobs to look for
While low-stress careers and roles with flexible hours are usually worth looking for, the specifics will vary based on the nature of your condition and what sorts of treatment you’re receiving, as well as your own skills, goals and drives.
Careers such as editing or software engineering will leave you largely able to set your own hours, and non-profit organisations often have a more laid back office culture than for-profit companies.
At the same time, you should know that you don’t need to limit yourself. Something like freelance writing from home might be great for some, but it’s not for everyone, and there’s no reason you should feel backed into any particular type of work just because you’re working with chronic pain.
To Better Days customer Daniel, for instance, was able to keep working in construction despite having chronic back pain by shifting to a more managerial role, which allows him to avoid heavy lifting while remaining on his feet.
Perhaps even more encouraging, another To Better Days customer named Calvin was able to pursue a career as a gym coach and trainer; he has found some tendonitis pain relief through To Better Day’s active patches. And these are just two examples of the wide range of careers open to those working with chronic pain!
We hope you found this article useful – especially if you or someone you love is working or searching for a job with chronic pain. Hopefully you’ll come away with some ideas on how you can find a fulfilling career, whether you prefer working full time, maintaining flexible hours, working an active job or working from home.