Moving on: Working

JIA and the workplace 

It is important that you talk to your employer about JIA.You might not want to tell your employer because you may be worried that they might fire you, not schedule you for as many hours or tell your co-workers. However, there are many ways that you and your employer can work together to help you cope with JIA while at work.

Modifications to your workspace:

• Organise your workspace so that items you commonly use are close by.

• If you sit at a desk and use a computer, keep your chair a comfortable distance away from the computer. Keep your elbows in a relaxed 90-degree angle to the keyboard.

• Use a step stool to reach for items that are on high shelves.

• If your job requires that you stand for long periods of time, stand on rubber matting or anti-fatigue matting.

Time management:

• Work at a moderate, reasonable pace.

• Perform the important tasks during the time when you feel most energetic.

• Take breaks!

• If your workplace offers alternate working hours or shifts, use it once you find out what works best for you. Sometimes working earlier or later in the day may be helpful.

Other tips:

• To avoid putting strain on your joints, alternate your position between standing, sitting and walking.

• Remember to get up and stretch, about every hour.

Moving and lifting

• If possible try to avoid lifting heavy objects.

• If you have to move heavy objects as a part of your job, use a cart or a machine to assist you when possible.

• Try to roll or slide heavy objects when possible.

• Take your time to move objects. Rushing can cause injury to your joints.

Other solutions

• If you use a computer, try using a split keyboard. This will keep your hands, wrists and forearms in a more natural position.

• A trackball mouse can reduce your hand and arm movement while on the computer.

• Use an electric stapler or hole punch.

• If telephone headsets are available, use them. This way, your neck won’t bend when holding the phone receiver.

• Use insoles in your shoes. They will help to decrease the strain on your feet, legs and lower back.

• Avoid wearing high heels, especially at work.

You need to let your employer know about JIA, since it may affect your ability to work. This will help to keep you and your co-workers safe.

Here are some possible questions your employer might ask you:

• Is it contagious?

• How is it treated?

• Do your medications affect your ability to concentrate?

• What signs or symptoms show that you are in need of medical help?

• What, if any, are your emergency instructions?

• Do you have any activity restrictions?

• Will you need any accommodations (changes or help) to participate in work?

• Will you need to miss work very often?


Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.