The lack of visible chronic lower back pain symptoms can lead to a variety of frustrating experiences—especially at your place of work. Every employer is different, but you may be able to minimize your work-place frustrations by sharing these four truths about your back pain with your boss:
1. You have good days and bad days
If your boss or co-workers catch you on a high functioning day, they might be led to believe that your lower back problems are resolved. But the reality of living with chronic lower back pain is that some days are better than others—so one high functioning day does not mean you no longer suffer from chronic back pain.
It’s also important to let your boss know that you don’t allow your pain to dictate your happiness—so a smile does not mean that you’re pain free.
2. You may need special work-place accommodations
Sitting in a chair for hours at a time is hard on your lower back. To help alleviate your pain, you may need your boss to supply alternatives to the everyday office chair. For example, you might find relief by using one of the following:
- Stand-up desk
- Balance stool
- Kneeling chair
- Exercise ball
Additionally, you may need an ergonomic office chair. It’s true that an ergonomic office chair can be costly, but the pain relief it can provide will likely make you a more productive worker.
3. There is no magic cure for your lower back pain
You appreciate the sentiment behind treatment suggestions from your boss and co-workers, but there is no magic cure for your chronic lower back pain. The reality is that you’ve tried a myriad of treatments to alleviate your lower back pain—some helped a little, others not at all.
Instead of treatment suggestions, what you really need is support and encouragement. A kind word or note is a lot more helpful than hearing about a new procedure a colleague read about online.
4. You may be more productive working from home
You want to make it to the office every day, but your chronic lower back pain is often made worse by your commute and from sitting for long periods of time. This logically means that if you are allowed to periodically work from home you will actually be more productive because you will be in less pain.
It’s important to let your boss know that you will not take advantage of the opportunity to work from home. It’s not a chance to shirk your responsibilities—it’s an opportunity to add more value to your company.
I hope that all 4 of the above truths will help your boss better understand your chronic lower back pain, which in turn may prevent a number of work-place frustrations.