Tips and Tricks for Tailbone Pain

Have you ever felt a deep ache or pin-point pain on your tailbone? Perhaps from a period of prolonged sitting? Or maybe it came on after pregnancy or childbirth? Tailbone pain can be a huge annoyance because many of us spend a large majority of the day sitting at a computer for our jobs or commuting to work. Our daily life only exacerbates the problem. We’ve got some great tips and tricks for tailbone pain.

Tailbone, or coccyx pain, is much more common in women due to the shape of the pelvis. With a wider pelvis and generally a larger coccyx compared to men, this small triangular-shaped bone is more susceptible to trauma in us ladies. Tailbone pain is centered at the very bottom of your spine, right above your buttocks, where this multi-segmented bone sits. The tailbone is small, but it does have a few important jobs. It helps stabilize you when you sit and it’s a hub for many tendons, muscles, and ligaments including the pelvic floor.

Tailbone Pain Can Occur for a Number of Reasons:

  • Direct trauma to the area (dislocation, fracture, poor mobility)
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive microtrauma (i.e., biking, horseback riding, long road trips)
  • Damage during childbirth
  • Bony abnormalities

Am I experiencing Tailbone Pain?

How do you know if the pain you are experiencing is coming from your tailbone? Looks for these signs: pain worsens when sitting, difficulty transitioning up to standing from seated position, rectal fullness/feeling the need to defecate, and pain with intercourse.

Tips and Tricks for Tailbone Pain

  1. There is no instant cure for tailbone pain, but making some changes in routine, or adding stretches and exercises can help relieve the pressure causing tailbone pain.
    1. Address posture while seated:
      • Be sure to sit up straight. Avoid slouching as this will tighten the pelvic floor muscles and create more pulling on the tailbone.
      • Consider using a cushion for additional support. Wedge cushions work well to place pelvic floor muscles in a more relaxed position. This should help reduce pain.
    2. Find comfortable positions during acute stages of pain:
      • If pain comes on acutely with sitting, trial a reclined position or consider resting on your side.
    3. Reduce sitting time:
      • If you are a frequent computer user during the day, consider standing while working.
      • Alternate between standing and sitting through the day to avoid spending excessive amounts of time in one position.
    4. Temporarily avoid activities that exacerbate pain:
      • If biking, for example, tends to make your problem worse, then avoid the activity until acute pain has subsided.
    5. Relax the pelvic floor muscles:
      • Perform deep breathing with emphasis on expanding through the lower abdominal cavity.
      • Trial a “happy baby” (below left) or “deep squat” stretch (below right) to relax pelvic floor muscles. Hold Each stretch below 30-60 seconds 2-3 times each.
Dr Molly Tailbone Pain exercise
Dr Molly Tailbone Pain exercise

Getting Help

If you have tried the above options and nothing seems to work, then consider coming in for a physical therapy evaluation or speaking with your doctor about alternatives. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles helps support your tailbone.

Sources:

Granado M; Richman S; CINAHL Rehabilitation Guide, EBSCO Publishing, 2018 Jun 08 (Clinical Review - PT practice, tables/charts)

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