Is Your Job Chronic-Pain-Friendly?

Teacher In ClassroomIf you suffer from chronic pain, it’s bad enough that you can’t call off work every time you have a flare up, but depending on what you do for a living, your job just might be exacerbating that pain. And while you won’t necessarily want to jump into a different career, it’s good to be aware if your job carries more risk of aggravating chronic pain so you can be prepared. When it comes to pain, the best medicine is prevention. Here’s a list of some of the best and worst jobs for chronic pain:

  1. Elementary School Teacher: WORST. While this happens to be one of the noblest professions, it’s not that great when it comes to chronic pain. In fact, it’s pretty awful. Hours of standing in front of the class, stooping down to low child-size tables, sitting in small child-size chairs and sometimes having to lift small, but not-so-light, children can take a toll on your back, for starters. And this profession is even worse if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. If the pain is too much for you, you might consider teaching slightly older children to eliminate some of the bending and lifting.
  2. Nonprofit: BEST. Here’s another noble profession, but this one’s likely to be more pain-free. Working for a nonprofit, especially one that advocates for your type of chronic pain, is a rewarding atmosphere that is likely to boost a person’s sense of well-being, which can actually help decrease pain. Since a nonprofit is not focused on the hard line that money draws in a traditional corporation, supervisors tend to be more understanding of chronic pain conditions and will be more likely to work with your needs. Boynes Shuck who works with the Arthritis Foundation says, “You can help others instead of focusing on your own problems and pain. If you have to live with an illness, it is nice to use it for something good.”
  3. Health Care: WORST. Ironic that working in a healing field can just cause you more pain, but all the high-stress, long hours on your feet, lifting patients or heavy equipment and stooping, bending and running to assist patients can make it all too easy to forget to keep an eye on your own posture and pain triggers. This can lead to an achy back, neck, knees and arthritis flare-ups.
  4. Software Engineer: BEST. If you’re not careful, this job could switch to the WORST category because it entails a lot of sitting (which is rough on the back, neck, hips and shoulders) and potentially comes with a lot of stress. However, if done right, you can be quite pain free in this career. Software companies tend to be more progressive, so they may let you choose your own hours or take more frequent breaks to get up and stretch as needed. You’re also likely to receive great benefits so you can stay on top of your medical care.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

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