Working with osteoarthritis and facet arthropathy

Posted by bockerman @bockerman, Sep 21 6:32am

Hey, I am new to this group. I was just curious if any of you have changed jobs from a physically demanding one to less demanding to ease your back, knee, hip or foot pain? Trying to make some decisions. I will see a pain specialist the middle of october for my lower back pain and hoping for some relief. I currently am a cook so on my feet for 8 hours a day, with a lot of walking and standing. Thinking I might be better off going to a job with less of these.

Hello, and welcome to the Mayo Connect community. We are people living with a wide variety of diseases and conditions, who try to help one another along the way. We each strive to be informed medical consumers, and our own best advocates in our care. We are not medical professionals, so not able to provide medical advice. We can tell you what has worked for us (or not) and provide you with information and conversation about your question.

As to your question, you are asking me to think back a while, as I retired some years ago! My job was physically demanding only in the sense that it required a great deal of cross-country travel by air, schlepping a bunch of computer equipment, and teaching adults. I was in my 40's and early 50's at the time, and had to make a lot of adjustments to make it work. After 10 years, it became "too much" and I stuck pretty close to a desk job for the last 3 years, with only random travel. It was easier – and during that time I had 2 hip replacements, and managed to continue working.

So yes, for me a more sedentary job helped. The only downside was the temptation to stay seated, which led to stiffness and pain.

What kind of work are you thinking of pursuing?
Sue

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Probably would go back to an office job. My last office job, and my education, is in medical records, but not sure that is the area I want to be in. So, I guess the answer is, I am not sure other than an office job.

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@bockerman

Probably would go back to an office job. My last office job, and my education, is in medical records, but not sure that is the area I want to be in. So, I guess the answer is, I am not sure other than an office job.

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That sounds like a reasonable plan.

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Hello, @bockerman. I'd also like to welcome you to Mayo Clinic Connect. As Sue wrote, we are not medical professionals however we are medical consumers so we can offer our own experiences and support you through yours.

It sounds like all that standing and walking are major contributions to your pain. It's great that you plan to see a pain specialist. Are you going to a clinic where you can see multiple specialists, for example, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychologist, physical medicine physician?

I will share that I've had one total hip replacement two years ago. I had just retired from a teaching position where I did a lot of standing in one place and walking. So, a little like you in terms of what my body endured. I've have lower back pain off and on for many years and with the hip replacement I still have it. My surgeon told me that the hip replacement would not "solve" the lower back pain because like you I have osteoarthritis. Well, a girl can hope, can't she? I'm now working part time in more of a sedentary job and I notice that if I don't move frequently–as in get out of my chair and away from the computer–my hips and lower back are stiff and painful. Are you interested in working somewhere that allows you to move around a little more with less of a sedentary position? I don't know what that might be for you but perhaps this is something you can talk with your pain specialist team about. What has worked for others who have come to the pain clinic? Any work positions they'd recommend for you given your background?

I wish you blessings as you go forward.

Helen

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Hi and welcome. I retired from the medical field basically working in Chemistry. I drove 30miles to work to be doing cals and controls to start the day at 6 AM. I have been in a lab since 1965 and on my feet and a lot of up and down loading the specimens and then resulting in the computer. I finally retired from the medical field only to return full-time to our farm. During all this time I finally ended up at the pain clinic for my neck, back, hips, and tailbone(which was broken in the '70s by a mean Ram). When the pain gets too bad I have radio done on my nerve endings. Also every three months, I have my thumbs, right shoulder(which needs a new one, the left one is already replaced), and left-foot shot. My shoulder joints are bad so the left one was an RSP. I do not know what is in store for the right one. I have had a lot of PT and that only lasts so long. Then they suggest doing it again. My cushions are slowly disappearing along with my bone. The funny thing about it all is that since I retired I have had more pain than when I worked. Because working I was always moving and really not feeling too much pain until I stopped my routine and retired. My flock of sheep all went to the market to ease my farm chores and to help with the pain. But now I do not get all the exercise I had before they are just different. I do work in the yard and my garden and also help during hay season and this year we cut a second hay crop and baled and put it up in the barn. This year the weather has not been good for the garden but maybe for the grass and weeds. So my advice, when thinking of changing jobs, look at how much exercise you might do while at work. I never realized how much I got till I retired. Sometimes I miss not working and being more active. Good luck on your decision. Keep in touch, I would like to follow you on your new journey i life. Stay healthly and safe and thanks for sharing. KLH

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@kilh

Hi and welcome. I retired from the medical field basically working in Chemistry. I drove 30miles to work to be doing cals and controls to start the day at 6 AM. I have been in a lab since 1965 and on my feet and a lot of up and down loading the specimens and then resulting in the computer. I finally retired from the medical field only to return full-time to our farm. During all this time I finally ended up at the pain clinic for my neck, back, hips, and tailbone(which was broken in the '70s by a mean Ram). When the pain gets too bad I have radio done on my nerve endings. Also every three months, I have my thumbs, right shoulder(which needs a new one, the left one is already replaced), and left-foot shot. My shoulder joints are bad so the left one was an RSP. I do not know what is in store for the right one. I have had a lot of PT and that only lasts so long. Then they suggest doing it again. My cushions are slowly disappearing along with my bone. The funny thing about it all is that since I retired I have had more pain than when I worked. Because working I was always moving and really not feeling too much pain until I stopped my routine and retired. My flock of sheep all went to the market to ease my farm chores and to help with the pain. But now I do not get all the exercise I had before they are just different. I do work in the yard and my garden and also help during hay season and this year we cut a second hay crop and baled and put it up in the barn. This year the weather has not been good for the garden but maybe for the grass and weeds. So my advice, when thinking of changing jobs, look at how much exercise you might do while at work. I never realized how much I got till I retired. Sometimes I miss not working and being more active. Good luck on your decision. Keep in touch, I would like to follow you on your new journey i life. Stay healthly and safe and thanks for sharing. KLH

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My reply to @bockerman above. KLH Have you make any decisions yet?

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@kilh

Hi and welcome. I retired from the medical field basically working in Chemistry. I drove 30miles to work to be doing cals and controls to start the day at 6 AM. I have been in a lab since 1965 and on my feet and a lot of up and down loading the specimens and then resulting in the computer. I finally retired from the medical field only to return full-time to our farm. During all this time I finally ended up at the pain clinic for my neck, back, hips, and tailbone(which was broken in the '70s by a mean Ram). When the pain gets too bad I have radio done on my nerve endings. Also every three months, I have my thumbs, right shoulder(which needs a new one, the left one is already replaced), and left-foot shot. My shoulder joints are bad so the left one was an RSP. I do not know what is in store for the right one. I have had a lot of PT and that only lasts so long. Then they suggest doing it again. My cushions are slowly disappearing along with my bone. The funny thing about it all is that since I retired I have had more pain than when I worked. Because working I was always moving and really not feeling too much pain until I stopped my routine and retired. My flock of sheep all went to the market to ease my farm chores and to help with the pain. But now I do not get all the exercise I had before they are just different. I do work in the yard and my garden and also help during hay season and this year we cut a second hay crop and baled and put it up in the barn. This year the weather has not been good for the garden but maybe for the grass and weeds. So my advice, when thinking of changing jobs, look at how much exercise you might do while at work. I never realized how much I got till I retired. Sometimes I miss not working and being more active. Good luck on your decision. Keep in touch, I would like to follow you on your new journey i life. Stay healthly and safe and thanks for sharing. KLH

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I really appreciate your response to my question. I have decided to look for a different type of job. My boss did try to work with HR to see if I could go part time as a cook and then work part time elsewhere in the facility, but HR said no. So, I will be looking for another position.

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@bockerman

I really appreciate your response to my question. I have decided to look for a different type of job. My boss did try to work with HR to see if I could go part time as a cook and then work part time elsewhere in the facility, but HR said no. So, I will be looking for another position.

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Sorry that HR would not work with you. With covid, I would think they would want to keep you. I am glad I retired and did not have to work being around patients and try to stay safe. I hope you can find something to keep you moving and not stuck at a desk staring at a computer. Keep in touch and I hope you find what you are looking for so stay healthy and safe.KLH

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