How Employers can Accommodate Employees with Chronic Pain

Jul 18, 2017

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As an employer, your employee’s comfort can largely determine the quality of his or her work.

As an employer, your employee’s comfort can largely determine the quality of his or her work. Happier employees are more likely to stay with you longer, communicate openly, and volunteer help to their co-workers. Learning how to work with someone who has chronic pain may seem frustrating at first; many people with this condition do not want to appear as if they are making excuses. If someone who works for you opens up about their pain, their explanation may initially come off as vague or confusing. As an employer, you have the ability to accommodate your employees by creating a more comfortable work environment.

Establish a Procedure

Chronic pain affects over 3 million people a year. As an employer, it’s highly likely some of your current employees experience chronic pain symptoms. While those with chronic pain will not feel their worst every day, it’s important to establish procedures that help facilitate their workflow. Your employees most likely have their methods for addressing episodes of chronic pain, whether that is a mental exercise, stretching routine, or a five-minute walk. Work towards integrating these practices with their work schedule.

Consider the Working Environment

If you are an employer of a more active workforce, pay attention to whom you assign tasks. Anything that requires heavy lifting, for example, is off-limits to most employees with chronic pain. Although employees in an office environment do not move around as often, they can be at similar risk for intensifying their condition. Long periods of sitting and slouching can apply pressure on the spine and push sensitive nerves.


You may have a friend or family member who lives with chronic pain, or you may experience chronic pain yourself. When interacting with your employees who suffer, be sure to lend an understanding ear to their requests for accommodation. Items like special chairs, tables, or a unique space in the office can help an employee feel more comfortable and aid productivity. By making an effort to understand their plight, you play a significant role in helping your employees manage chronic pain.

Is there someone in your life who may need the expertise of a board-certified pain management doctor? Garden State Pain Center is a pain clinic in New Jersey with over 50 years of combined experience treating patients who suffer from chronic pain. Call 732-376-0330 or click here to book an appointment.