Let me guess, you are here because you’re tired of being in pain from sitting down for long periods of time. You’re not alone there. I’m sure you’ve heard, sitting in general is not good for our posture, mental state, and overall health of our bodies. According to this article from Mayo Clinic, there are a number of health concerns caused from sitting. In the article, they continue to say:
“Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
The American Chiropractic Association states that “one-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.” There is more than 264 million lost work days in one year. Since sitting and working at a desk is not going away anytime soon, the question is, what do we do about it? How can we feel our best even if the sitting culture isn’t going away?
In this article, I will share three simple tips to help you feel better while you’re at work, and throughout your everyday life. If you have any questions, or you are looking for additional support on this process, send me a message so I can help. We can set up an ergonomic consultation and assessment to get you all set up and ready to go!
Tip #1: Set Yourself Up for Success
The way you set up your workspace makes a huge difference on the position of your body. Because our bodies weren’t designed to sit, there are two things that will help you prevent unnecessary strain, pain and keep you feeling good. If you sit for long periods of time, learning how to sit properly and adjusting your workspace to support your body are must-have’s.
In this article from Mayo Clinic Health System, you will learn how to properly setup of your workspace and why it’s important for each area of the body. Remember that by adjusting everything, you change the way your body is positioned. This in turn affects the amount your body has to work.
Below is a list of recommended adjustments to ensure you have the best workspace
- Your hips are either parallel to or higher than your knees. Your back and hip flexors will thank you.
- Your feet are touching the ground or a stable surface beneath you. We don’t want any of that side-lean going on, that’s not good for your hips or your low back.
- Your spine is long (check out the next tip for support with this) and your head is over the rest of your spine.
- Your shoulders are down away from the ears and hugging towards the spine on your back – stop hunching!
- Your elbow is parallel to or higher than the desk and it’s tucked in towards the side of your rib cage.
- Your computer/monitor is at eye level so you don’t have to look down at the computer all day.
- Your mouse isn’t far out to the side or high up so your hand/arm/shoulder stays in alignment
For additional support, send me a message and we can discuss the opportunity to set up a ergonomic consultation, a 60 minute session, where we also adjust your workplace setup as needed.
Tip #2: Get Support
One of my favorite tips to share is how to bring in support to our workspace instead of trying to do it all alone. For most, the hardest part about sitting is keeping your back straight all day. This is where you can grab a pillow or roll a blanket and place it at the back of your chair for support.
By placing a pillow or rolled blanket behind your low back, you not only sit up more straight. In addition, it becomes so much easier to sit up straight for long periods of time. Your body won’t work as hard and you won’t feel as many negative effects as a result.
You don’t need a special pillow, you can grab one from your bed or couch to start. You can also roll a blanket like a burrito and use that instead. The placement of the pillow or blanket depends on the size of said prop and each body’s unique alignment. As a general rule of thumb, you want it to be between your low back and mid back.My best recommendation is to give both a go and see what you think!
Tip #3: Move Your Body
This is one of the most important tips but it often gets overlooked. Even if you have the best ergonomic set up, we know sitting for long periods of time isn’t good for our bodies. Circulation isn’t flowing properly, it’s more challenging to breathe, our muscles aren’t being used properly, and so much more. Our bodies need to move!!!
One thing we can do to counteract the negative effects from sitting is to simply move our bodies. While any movement is often better than no movement, we want to focus on specific movement that helps circulation, stretches and strengthens postural muscles, and supports your overall health. This is where yoga therapy comes in as an ideal practice. You can receive amazing benefits by doing a short practice before, during or after work!
Yoga comes in many forms but my specific style is designed to help desk workers, dental professionals, and other struggling with posture and pain. According to the NCBI in this study, Yoga is used as a form of treatment for chronic pain and many other ailments.
In yoga therapy, I will help you:
- Build awareness of your body and how to listen to the signs it gives you before pain arises.
- Learn how to stretch and strengthen the muscles support good posture.
- Learn how to improve your posture and the way you move your body to prevent pain and injury.
These tools are invaluable and have helped so many people live pain free. If you are interested in learning more about yoga therapy and how it can support you with posture and pain relief, consider joining Aligned Online Membership. Aligned is my monthly yoga therapy and wellness membership program. Inside Aligned, you get unlimited access to a library of 100+ therapeutic classes, trainings and practices on demand, weekly live therapeutic classes, and so much more.
Aligned is a community and hub for your wellness journey. Click here to learn more and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or you’re wondering if it’s a fit for you.
Choose to Be The Change
While sitting isn’t ideal for our bodies, there are so many things we can do to make us feel better, be healthier and thrive in our lives. Start to implement these tips and watch your body respond. You can start with one at a time or maybe you feel inspired to do all three.
Enjoy getting your workspace set up, exploring different back support systems, and finding new ways to move your body! If you have any questions or you want additional support for this, click here to connect with me.
Free Healthy Posture Masterclass
Register to join me for a free Healthy Posture Masterclass! I’ll teach you tools to help improve your posture and feel better throughout your daily life!
About the Author
My name is Caitlin, I’m a chronic pain survivor, Certified Yoga Therapist, Registered Dental Hygienist, and founder and CEO of Caitlin Parsons Yoga Therapy, a yoga therapy and wellness company. I recently made my dreams a reality by quitting my full-time job as a dental hygienist to pursue my passion and purpose helping others get back into alignment.
Now I use my personal and professional experiences with chronic pain, stress and anxiety, and injury recovery to help women step back into their own alignment – in their bodies, minds and throughout their lives. I help empower women to create balance in their bodies and minds so they can access greater levels of freedom in their lives inside my monthly membership program (Aligned), group coaching program for hygienists (The Aligned Hygienist), a Yoga + Coaching Program for Dental Teams, and private yoga therapy coaching.
I love to share my knowledge and expertise on mindfulness and therapeutic yoga for back pain through my blog and social media platforms as well as guest appearances on other inspiring and like-minded podcasts.
Client Success Stories
“I started working with Caitlin because I was tired of being in pain all the time and had learned about yoga therapy from a friend. I had such bad hip pain, it hurts to sit down, get up, exercise and walk around. The pain moved down my leg sometimes and up into my low back.
Now I feel amazingly strong, am able to actually bend down and reach my shoes so I can tie them! I gained an immense amount of strength in my hips as well as have learned many things I can do on my own to keep going in the right direction. I really enjoyed the one on one time! And the fact that Caitlin came to my house was amazing. I had no excuses to not show up for myself and the results paid off! I have already recommended Caitlin to my friends and will continue to do so.” – Cary
“I started working with Caitlin because I had recently gotten surgery from a brain tumor. I had very little mobility in my shoulder and arm. I was concerned that the lack of mobility, discomfort and reduced strength would increase chances for more pain and injury. Working with Caitlin was amazing, I would recommend her personal approach to anyone. She is dedicated to her work, has great knowledge and communication. Caitlin does a wonderful job guiding you back to your body and yourself.” – Ania
“I started working with Caitlin because I had chronic low back pain and regular flare-ups. I was told by multiple doctors that I would always be in pain and my posture would never improve unless I had surgery. The pain got so bad that I couldn’t play volleyball anymore, which created a negative spiral in my mood, energy and throughout my life. The results I got with Caitlin was amazing. I no longer have chronic pain or chronic acid reflux which I was on medication for. I’m much healthier and happier now than I ever have been!” – Russ M.
“I started working with Caitlin because I had neck pain, shoulder pain, neck congestion and ringing in my ears. I was working a lot, taking care of my family, and I was beginning to spiral downwards in a state of stress and pain. With all of that, life became a chore. I wanted to learn how to take care of myself so I could live a happy life and take care of my responsibilities from a place of joy, not dread. I wanted to get my neck to a place where it wasn’t painful and tightening every time I was stressed.
Now I no longer have neck pain or tightness, I’m stressed and ear ringing has greatly reduced. My body feels so much better as a whole. Caitlin helped me find peace. Caitlin has an innate sense of knowing how to tailor each session to fit how I’m feeling in my body and what I need. Caitlin helped me change the way I react to stress; now I’m more mindful of my reactions and the way I take care of my body. I’m stronger in my body and mind now which has positively affected my entire life.” – Donna M.
“I started working with Caitlin because I was completely disconnected from my body because of a genetic disease, having constant, chronic pain, extreme trouble sleeping and anxiety living in my own skin. I wanted to feel better- I wanted to have less pain and have a better quality of life–building strength and reconnecting with my body were a bonus. Working with Caitlin exceeded my expectations- I sleep so much better now and my pain has improved significantly. I’m less anxious and have practices to help when my symptoms flare. I’m more grounded and embodied, I have a daily yoga practice that continues to build on the foundation Caitlin helped me create.
Caitlin is incredible, she validated me and helped me work on my whole self. She customized everything to work specifically for me. I 100% recommend working with Caitlin. She believed that healing was possible and she held that vision for me and brought it to each session, and eventually I believed and embodied it too. She helped me find the power in every single baby step towards a more whole and healthy life, and I am completely transformed by it. This work isn’t the quick fix, it’s deep, holistic, soul-led healing.” – Hayley
“Working with Caitlin was the best thing I ever did for myself. I thought that I would always have pain because I’ve done so many things to try and help but they haven’t worked, until yoga therapy with Caitlin. Now I am living with less pain, my posture has improved, I am getting stronger, and my clothes are getting looser.” – Joan
“Before I came to Caitlin, I was taking Motrin and Tylenol on a daily basis like clockwork. I would skip going to the pool or out with my family after work due to the pain in my body. I was very depressed and isolating myself from activities that I really enjoy doing with my family and friends. I had pain on a daily basis in my lower back, shoulder blades, hips and left knee. Some days I had so much pain and inflammation in my body I felt like I couldn’t make it through the day.
Since starting FTF I am slowly starting to get control of my pain and inflammation through the online program one-on-one sessions with Caitlin. Inflammation is decreasing, I’m sitting up taller and I’m more aware of my posture both at work and in my daily routines outside of work. I am no longer having to take Motrin and Tylenol on a daily basis and I am able to walk longe distances without pain in my knees. “
“I never thought I would get out of back, knee, and postural pain. I also have a curvature in my back that I have been told most of my life cannot be changed. When I came to Caitlin, I wasn’t playing my favorite sport and I was miserable at work. Even doing simple things was really painful. Caitlin completely personalizes her services based on your needs. She takes considerable time to answer all of my questions and targets my sessions for exactly what I need that day and what my goals are. Caitlin always asks me what is going on and listens really well. She is a wealth of knowledge about yoga, human anatomy, and how humans should move. No two sessions are the same. We changed the way I move while doing simple things like sitting in a car or at my desk, putting dishes away and bending over to clean dog poop so that my back is protected from re-injury. I am healing my back partly to return to playing volleyball. I now understand how to be in my volleyball stances and movements so that I can avoid injury when I get back to playing. I am already standing up much straighter and feel more confident. I never thought I would feel this good in my body and I am so wow-ed by Caitlins mastery of her craft.” – Russel
“Caitlin really knows how to curate yoga program for sustainable strengthening. My shoulders and core used to be weaknesses but after a few sessions I see my posture has improved and the range of motion in my shoulders. She’s caring, fun, and a pleasure to work with. I’d recommend her to anyone interested in trying yoga therapy.”
“Caitlin is fantastic. I’ve gone to many of her classes, specifically those with a focus on healthy backs. I’ve worked with her as a therapist on issues I have with my neck and shoulders from work. She’s patient, attentive and offers focused one-on-one sessions. The exercises I’ve done really help me combat the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day, highly recommend working with this lovely and professional woman!!”
“Caitlin has helped me grow and learn a lot about myself. She helped me realize the strong power of breath when I was over stressed and unaware of my mental needs. Caitlin helped me focus my energy, both good and bad, on my breath. With every deep inhale and cleansing exhale, I felt my stress and anxiety lessen and lessen. Eight years later, my main mantra is to ‘just breathe.’ It has literally changed my life. Along with the power of breath, Caitlin has helped me keep a constant awareness of how I physically hold myself. Not only has my posture changed, but I have also become stronger and my confidence has increased. I recently began running and was having pain in my hip and side leg. Through working with Caitlin, my pain subsided. She put together an easy to follow yoga sequence that helped my muscles and ligaments heal. I fully trust in Caitlin as a yoga professional, and recommend her gentle way of teaching to anyone.”
“This program has been so amazing for my pain. In just one class, my neck and shoulder tension released more than it has in years. This program has been so instrumental in managing and controlling my stress. It’s so easy to be “on the hamster wheel”. I look forward to my yoga time and meditation and have noticed a huge difference in my pain level. My family has even noticed my calmer demeanor. I couldn’t believe how much my pain was linked to my stress.”