Lymphedema & Your Work Environment

Challenges of LymphedemaWork and Lymphedema

Working with lymphedema can have its own challenges. Some work environments are not lymphedema-friendly and can hinder one’s ability to work. Limited mobility, time-consuming therapy regimens, pain, and psychological stress can all affect job performance. Work can also negatively affect one’s lymphedema, especially if it involves heavy lifting, repetitive movement, or sitting or standing for long periods.

Work and Lymphedema 3Ways to Manage Your Lymphedema at Work

You can make some adjustments to help manage your condition while working. The support you receive can also help with the psycho-social effects of living with lymphedema, creating a positive work environment for managing lymphedema more effectively. Here are The Compression Closet’s top 12 tips to create a better, more friendly work environment for those dealing with lymphedema.

12 Tips to Create a More Friendly Work Environment!

  • If your job requires long periods of sitting, try getting up and taking a short walk every hour. Movement helps lymph flow. Additionally, when you can, try elevating your legs. Elevation helps fight the effects of gravity on your lower legs and makes the flow of lymphatic fluid easier.
  • Conversely, if you are standing for long periods, sit down when you need to and listen to your body. A stand-lean chair works well for this purpose.
  • Work at a comfortable speed that does not stress your affected limb.
  • Vary repetitive tasks with other duties. Switch from heavy to light functions throughout the day.
  • If you cannot get up from sitting, do some stretching exercises while sitting. Even rocking ankles back and forth will help move lymph fluid and support your lymph system.
    Work and Lymphedema 4
  • Discuss flexible hours or the possibility of remote work options with your employer.
  • Reduce tasks that involve heavy lifting.
  • Use a compression garment to help manage swelling and protect the skin.
  • Wear protective gloves when doing tasks that could break the skin.
  • Use electric tools to prevent the strain of repetitive muscles.
  • Finally, to address your lymphedema and your work environment, request help when needed! Don’t strain your body unnecessarily.

Lymphedema and Disability Benefits

If your lymphedema has progressed to the point where you cannot work for at least a year, you might want to check into disability benefits. You may qualify through either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income programs in the United States.

However, the Social Security Agency does not list lymphedema as a disabling condition. Instead, they will decide whether or not your lymphedema is medically equal to other listed conditions, such as chronic venous insufficiency and joint dysfunction.

If your lymphedema does not qualify, it may still be evaluated for functional limitations. Disability benefits vary from country to country and from time to time, so you will want to check your local disability agency or a disabilities attorney.

Self-care and Lymphedema

Most importantly, listen to your body. Know when to stop and when to ask for help. Self-care is not selfish; it is essential when dealing with lymphedema. Just a few adjustments throughout your day can make a big difference in your ability to manage your lymphedema at work. Your comfort, productivity, and job satisfaction will improve when you address lymphedema and your work environment.put your feet

Disclaimer: This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, the information contained in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice – always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on your specific condition.

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