Can You Work With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis could actually steal a lot from your lives. Most often that includes the ability to work or make a living. Apart from this, it can also take away your self-respect, standard of living, relationships and many more. If you or any of near ones is suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis and want to know about if you can work with Rheumatoid arthritis, then this article is going to help you a lot.

Can You Work With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Can You Work With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can impact more than just an individual’s joints. It can also attack different body systems. You can suffer kidney failure and also may require dialysis, experience lung problems and breathing issues or may also have digestive issues with Rheumatoid arthritis. In case of rheumatoid arthritis, you will require frequent visits with your rheumatologist who specializes in treating several autoimmune diseases. As rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, you can get sick very easily.

Today, there has been a dramatic change in the impact of Rheumatoid arthritis on people’s ability to work. One of the factors responsible for this is the use of newer and more effective medications in treating the condition that slow down the progress of the autoimmune disease and most often suppress it symptoms. However, it is actually not easy to manage a job or work with rheumatoid arthritis. This is because even with the newer and more expensive treatments; individuals with Rheumatoid arthritis may still experience fatigue and pain like symptoms that would make their work difficult.

As per a recent survey of people with Rheumatoid Arthritis, researchers found that employees with Rheumatoid arthritis took off about a 2-3 weeks from work in a 3 month period. In one earlier study, researchers found that many employees with Rheumatoid arthritis not only altered their hours of working but also either changed their jobs or tried pursuing a different career.

The newer and more effective medications for Rheumatoid arthritis seem to work really great for employees who have been diagnosed with the condition for less than 10 years and who do not have joint deformities. However, medication is not the only factor that interfere in a person’ s ability to work with rheumatic arthritis. Occupation, education level and duration of disease all together predict the work disability among people with Rheumatoid arthritis.

Jobs That Cannot Be Performed By People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are specific works which cannot be performed by people with Rheumatoid arthritis. It is true that one’s ability to work can greatly impact because of the disabling effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Citing an example, in case Rheumatoid arthritis has attacked your joints then you may not be able to stand for long periods or sit longer because of the severe pain. You will have to reposition yourself frequently which can also impact your ability to perform many jobs.

In case if rheumatoid arthritis has impacted different body systems like kidneys and dialysis is required then you will require medical visits frequently and would be unable to perform properly. This is why you cannot work in a factory or a warehouse where you would require standing for long periods.

Apart from this, Rheumatoid arthritis can also impact any joint; you may find your fingers and wrists getting impacted significantly and cannot move properly. Because of the limited mobility of the hands and your fingers; and also because of the pain you suffer, you may find it difficult to perform jobs requiring extensive use of finger or grasping small items. This would limit you from working on data entry, secretarial or product inspection jobs.

Moreover, in case your condition in Rheumatoid arthritis has left you unable to lift, carry or reach; then you cannot work in retail especially in shipping and receiving department in any distribution center, or also as a first responder in emergency services.

What Can People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Do to Make it Easier to Work?

There are some special suggestions provided by The Arthritis Foundation which would make it easier to stay in the workplace. Below are some of them.

  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis should create a well efficient work environment so that you limit the amount of lifting, reaching, carrying and also walking you do.
  • Also try not to sit in one position or do repetitive activity for long periods of time
  • Set your priorities and pace yourself. Do the most important tasks while you feel strongest and feel more energetic.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis patients should maintain a proper schedule. Go to bed at a regular time and have enough of rest so as to carry you through the next working day.
  • Apart from all these, make sure that your employer knows about your limitation and ask if you can take breaks throughout the day while working.
  • Do not overdo anything.

Modification in Work Place for the Employees with Rheumatoid Arthritis That Can Help:

There are some work place modifications which can be done by the employers of people suffering from arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis which includes the following:

  • Adjusting height of the desk if any employee make use of a scooter or wheelchair
  • Allowing a flexible work schedule or allowing the employee suffering from rheumatoid arthritis to work from their home.
  • Installing automatic door openers.
  • Implementing an ergonomic workstation design for the benefit of rheumatoid arthritis patients.
  • Providing arm supports and also writing and grip aids.
  • Providing a page turner, note taker, book holder in case required
  • Providing the parking area close to the workplace for staff members suffering from rheumatoid arthritis
  • Supplying sensitivity training to co-workers
  • Replacing small switches with cushioned knobs that can be turned with reduced force.
  • Reducing or eliminating physical exertion of the employee.
  • Scheduling periodic breaks away from the workstation.

Hiring a Disability Attorney to Win Disability Benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you are suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis and want to apply for the disability benefits then you need to maintain detailed medical records so as to prove your case and being approved for the disability benefits. You will have to provide all your detailed medical records including test results like X-rays, MRIs and blood tests.

Moreover you will also require including physician notes, information about any medications and their side effects and any treatments which you have undergone along with the test and treatment results. Apart from this, you will also have to require your doctor’s statement regarding your work restrictions and any other limitations, along with documentation about how rheumatoid arthritis has impacted your life and has caused functional limitations in you.

It is advisable that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis should hire an experienced disability attorney or SSD lawyer who has significant knowledge about what the judges would be looking into which can significantly impact the outcome of your case for winning the disability benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 22, 2018

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