What Is Chronic Pain and How Can It Affect Work?

Posted On By Leen Bakker

Pain is a sign of growth, but too much pain can be detrimental to your performance. Pain is what makes athletes and fitness enthusiasts take breaks, as this is a sign that muscles need rest. It is similar when it comes to work and chronic pain, which is pain that is experienced regularly over a period of time. Chronic pain shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here’s how chronic pain can affect your work.

According to statistics from the International Labor Organization, there’s an average of 374 million cases of illnesses and non-fatal injuries related to the workplace. These injuries often result in extended absences, which can harm not just the productivity of the workplace, but risk the health of workers as a whole. On top of this is an annual estimate of 2.78 million fatalities related to work accidents.

While countries are spending quite an amount to address woes related to a healthy workplace, it’s important to play your part as an employee in identifying certain injuries and reporting them immediately to avoid becoming part of a statistic. Here’s how chronic pain can affect the workplace.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain can be described as any pain that persists longer than 12 weeks. This is very different from acute pain, which can alert us if injuries exist. Injuries can last for months on end if left untreated. One may experience chronic pain from a previous injury, or an ongoing issue, like an illness.

How Do You Diagnose Chronic Pain?

Unfortunately, given that pain is a subjective and personal experience, there’s no clear way or clear test of locating pain with a fair degree of accuracy. This means much of the diagnostic process relies on how the patient describes the experience, the timing of the matter, and where they think the pain is located. Descriptions such as sharpness or dullness, consistency and regularity, or feelings of burning from time to time are denoted as “pain history,” which can help diagnose situations when pain arises, such as chronic pain.

What Are the Effects of Chronic Pain?

Unfortunately, chronic pain doesn’t simply manifest as chronic pain in and of itself. The pain sometimes comes with its own set of problems that can affect a person’s overall health, and even affect other aspects of their lives, such as work. Some effects of chronic pain can include the following.

You Can’t Prepare Properly or Get Motivated

Chronic pain can have devastating effects on your preparedness to go to work and your general motivation. This is because chronic pain in your system may actually ruin your mood. Since you have to pay attention to your pain rather than to your work, juggling responsibilities may take a physical toll on your system. Not only that, but the stress of dealing with chronic pain can cause fatigue and sleep disturbance, which can greatly reduce the energy you have for work.

You Can’t Perform Properly on the Job

Chronic pain can affect your everyday life in drastic ways, and part of this is its tendency to make you underperform because of physical limitations. For instance, chronic pain can cause sensations in the body that can decrease your flexibility and strength because the pain can be overwhelming. In some instances, stamina and concentration decrease because you are more focused on the pain than the work.

In fact, chronic pain can make you lose focus on your objectives because you’re more attuned to the pain than your surroundings.

If this article told you anything about what chronic pain is and how it can affect work, it’s that while chronic pain is a real occurrence, it certainly isn’t something you should allow to happen to you. Click here to learn more about your options when you experience chronic pain.

Category: Law

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