Many of us with FM have to work, and we may be faced with a major dilemma: Our fibro interferes with our jobs. This creates stress, often extreme financial stress if the job cannot be performed properly. Whether the FM was caused by a work injury, or whether work is aggravating the pre-existing FM, changes may have to be made in how work is approached to minimize pain and functional impairment.
Job considerations: Different factors influence our job abilities. We have a difficult time reaching, using our arms overhead, bending, lifting and being in one position for a long time. We have no business even being in some of the jobs we do since the job duties are so unrealistic for us.
Even jobs that involve little or no lifting may not be tolerated if it involves a lot of reaching or repetitions. Some examples of "high risk" jobs for us include assembly-line jobs, hairstyling, bus driving, computer work, and cashier jobs. Even sedentary, less physically demanding jobs can be stressful because it's hard to focus, concentrate, and be productive if we hurt all over, have headaches and brain fog etc.
We can come up with a list of work things to do that's best for our FM. I mean things that we can modify at work to keep us productive and with minimal pain despite our fibro. Here are some examples of things that you, your doctor, and your therapist can try to do.
--Hours: stay on day shift, avoid overtime, can you have a flexible schedule? Decrease commute time? Is part-time more feasible? Can you make up missed time?
--Building: Can you park close? Use elevator instead of stairs?
--Work environment: Can you control the thermostat? Avoid drafts, bright lights, noise. Minimize interruptions/disruptions. Is your furniture and work station ergonomically efficient?
--Physical: Can you alternate positions? Sit more? Lie down during breaks? Pace your work?
--Work load: Can you rotate tasks? Can you prioritize deadlines? Delegate to others? Can you ease pressure on work quotas? Are others depending on your work before they can finish theirs?
--Insurance: Is it adequate? Paid medical leave? Pharmacy plan?
Reasonable accomodations: The employee, the employer, and the doctor can work together to create a safe workplace with minimal pain, hopefully. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide equal employment opportunities for people who are able to do the job but who are limited by physical disabilities. The employee has a right to reasonable accomodations provided by the employer to help overcome any physical limitations.
Examples of reasonable accommodations for FM workers might include:
--allowing frequent breaks during the workday
--rearranging work stations and providing ergonomic tools or furniture to optimize proper body mechanics and use fibronomics.
--providing phones with headsets
--using a drop keyboard, wrist bars and arm rests on your computer
--no direct air conditioning drafts
--restrictions on repetitive activities.
Family Medical Leave Act: the FMLA was passed to allow workers to take time off work when they (or family members) are incapacitated and require medical treatment for a serious or chronic health condition. I complete these forms often when necessary and will state that FM is a chronic condition that may unpredictably flare up from time to time resulting in impairment of work ability and may require time off work on a temporary basis. We try to prioritize returning to work and staying at work as much as possible.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
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Read the Original Article: The Fibromyalgia Worker