Living with Chronic Pain


Staying employed while living with chronic pain can be very difficult. Many people show up to work despite the chronic pain and are less productive. The reduction in productivity is a worry, as repeated sick days and low productivity could result in being fired. Some individuals have mixed feelings about notifying their employer of a disability or chronic pain diagnosis, as they believe it may harm how their employer or other employees perceives them. The risk of being treated unfairly is a valid consideration.

The Americans with Disability Act is a set of rights to protect individuals with disabilities. The definition of disabled person in the act is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. " Please note that this is a legal definition, not a medical one. Under the ADA, employers are required to make accommodations for your disability. The accommodations have to be reasonable. There are other programs that can help, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA.

Despite the risk of having an employer who is not open minded towards employees with disabilities, communicating your specific situation to your employer may help as modifications may need to be made at the work place in order to optimize and to maximize productivity. If you are unsure about your rights and your company had a human resource department, that may be a good place to start.