Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to use our site you are agreeing to the storage of cookies on your device. To find out more please read our cookie policy.

Employers' guide to chronic pain

Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than three months. It’s severity can vary from mild to excruciating and can be continuous or sporadic. It can be caused by another condition such as arthritis or diabetes nerve pain, but is often an illness in its own right. 

How does chronic pain affect people?

As you would expect chronic pain affects people differently. Some common symptoms include pain described as:

  • shooting
  • burning
  • aching
  • numbness
  • soreness
  • stiffness.

Other effects include:

 

  • feeling tired
  • difficulty sleeping
  • poor immune system
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • irritability

Recruiting people with chronic pain

If someone declares that they have chronic pain during a recruitment process you could:

  • ask if there are any adjustments they need to attend
  • discuss any aspects of the role they might find difficult and see how this could be managed
  • alter the time of their interview so that they are able to attend more easily.

Supporting staff who experience chronic pain

There are a number of ways you can support staff you experience chronic pain.

  • Talk to the employee to see if there are any ways in which they would like to be helped.
  • Think about offering flexible working so that they can manage their condition better. For example some people might find it harder to get up because of pain, so starting work a bit later would help them.
  • Put restrictions on manual handling.
  • Find out if they want colleagues to know about their condition so that they understand how chronic pain affects daily life.

Useful information about chronic pain

You might need to make some adjustments to help your employees. These could include specialist equipment like chairs and IT equipment. Grants are available through Access to Work (external site)  to help to cover the cost of items that are identified as necessary to support employees who are disabled or have a health condition.

Take a look at our case studies to see how we have transformed the lives of disabled people