How Can I Manage My Pain As I Return To Work? Dr. Jennifer Stevens

back to work
Working with a programme, where you have a very gradual return to your normal activities, without a sudden immersion, can be incredibly helpful.

The inability to work is one of the big costs that comes, particularly, with chronic back pain and with many of the other chronic pain syndromes as well. And the costs associated with those are financial of course, both for the country and for the individual. 

But it’s also the other things that you get out of work. You get your social life, or a lot of your social life out of work. You get these interactions with all sorts of people. You get your identity a lot of the time out of your work. And so part of recovery can be reengaging in work. So your occupational therapy provider or your return-to-work provider will work with you closely to do that. 

But some of the other things that we find helpful are avoiding the sort of boom-and-bust cycle. So people tend to have good days and they tend to have bad days, and the trap can be on your good days to go out, work like crazy, think you can do it all and then by the next day, you’re back in bed feeling terrible.

So working with a programme, where you have just a very gradual return to your normal activities, there’s not just a sudden immersion again, can be incredibly helpful.

Dr Jennifer Stevens is a Pain Specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney and Pain Australia

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