Tips for Coping with Pain at Work
Many women with vulvodynia have to work, even though they’re experiencing pain. Coping with chronic pain in the workplace is challenging, especially if you have a busy schedule or stressful job. Here are some suggestions for helping you cope. (18)
- Identify Aggravating Factors: Examine your work situation and identify activities that worsen your pain, such as sitting for long periods of time. If prolonged sitting is a problem, stand whenever possible, e.g., while you’re on the phone or reading a document.
- Prioritize Your To-Do List: Prioritize your tasks and finish the most important ones first. If possible, delegate tasks that exacerbate your pain.
- Make Your Work Space More Comfortable: Try to find ways to make your workspace more comfortable. There are a variety of specialized cushions that reduce pressure on the vulva and mesh chairs can be helpful because they don’t retain as much heat as upholstered chairs. Ask a physical therapist for other suggestions.
- Company Wellness Programs: Many companies offer wellness programs. Contact your human resource department to inquire about participating in a wellness program.
- Take Breaks: Take frequent work breaks during the day, especially if you’re sitting at a computer. Give yourself a time limit for sitting and then get up to do another task or take a break.
- Exercise and Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep is critical for people living with chronic pain. Research shows that regular exercise can help to reduce chronic pain, improve the quality of your sleep and reduce stress. Contact your provider before beginning an exercise regimen to discuss what is appropriate for you.