Tailbone (coccyx) pain and discomfort, medical term coccydynia, can be a disabling condition. The coccyx, a tiny triangular bone at the base of the spine, is frequently the site of trauma or injury. Being uncomfortable while sitting and performing your daily activities might have an adverse effect on your quality of life. In this article, we’ll look at the causes of tailbone discomfort and some simple exercises you can do to find relief.
Tailbone pain can be caused by a fall, prolonged sitting, repetitive activities, and infections.
Due to their wider pelvic structure, women are more at risk of having tailbone pain.
Incorporating specific exercises and adjustments into your daily routine can provide relief.
If tailbone pain gets progressively worse or is not relieved by rest and exercise modification you must seek advice from a qualified medical professional.
Why do we get tailbone pain?
There are several reasons why your tailbone might hurt, including:
- Trauma or injury. Coccyx pain can result from a fall onto the tailbone, especially if the surface is hard. This might happen during a sporting event, an accident, or childbirth.
- Prolonged sitting. Prolonged sitting, particularly on hard surfaces or with bad posture, can put pressure on the tissues around the tailbone and cause soreness.
- Repetitive activities. Activities like cycling or rowing, which put a strain on the coccyx repeatedly, can make the tailbone painful.
- Inflammation and infections. Conditions like pilonidal cysts (cysts at the base of the tailbone) or coccygeal bursitis (inflammation of the bursa sac near the tailbone) can cause discomfort and pain.
Who is at risk?
While tailbone pain can affect anyone, certain individuals may be more susceptible to experiencing this condition:
- Women. Women may be more susceptible to tailbone pain due to their wider pelvic structures, especially during pregnancy and childbirth.
- Obese people. Extra weight can increase pressure on the tailbone, which can cause soreness.
- Athletes. Activities or sports like gymnastics or ice skating, which frequently involve falls or direct impacts to the coccyx, might increase the risk of tailbone soreness.
5 tailbone stretches and tips to relieve soreness
A sore tailbone can have a negative effect on your quality of life. Thankfully, there are some easy stretches that you can do from the comfort of your own home. These are five of our favorite tailbone exercises and tips that could help ease your pain.
- Tailbone cushioning. When sitting, use a cushion or pillow specifically designed to relieve pressure on the tailbone. This helps reduce discomfort and promotes healing.
- Tailbone stretch. Lie flat on your back and gently pull both knees towards your chest. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, then release. Repeat this stretch several times to alleviate tension in the tailbone area.
- Cat-cow stretch. Position yourself on your hands and knees and gently arch your back upwards like a cat while tucking your tailbone. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your back and raise your tailbone upwards, creating a curve. Repeat this stretch several times to improve flexibility and reduce tailbone soreness.
- Pelvic tilt exercise. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly tilt your pelvis upward, pressing your lower back into the ground, and hold for a few seconds. Release and repeat this exercise several times to strengthen the muscles supporting the tailbone.
- Seated forward bend. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly bend forward from your hips, keeping your back straight until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back and tailbone area. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then return to an upright position. Repeat several times to relieve tension in the tailbone region.
Who can benefit from these stretches?
Numerous people can benefit from the stretches and exercises indicated above, including:
- Individuals with employment that requires a much sitiing, such as office employees or drivers, who want to avoid or lessen tailbone pain.
- Athletes or fitness buffs who want to lengthen and strengthen the muscles surrounding the tailbone to avoid pain and injury.
- Pregnant women looking for relief from discomfort in their tailbones brought on by the pressure of the developing fetus.
- People who suffer from acute or persistent tailbone pain.
Why you shouldn't ignore tailbone pain
Like any persistent pain in the body, tailbone soreness should not be ignored. Your discomfort may be due to a medical condition that needs specific treatment and care. Complications from ignoring tailbone discomfort include the following:
If left unaddressed, tailbone pain can interfere with daily activities, and eventually develop into chronic pain. Simple activities, such as lifting up a child, sitting down to dinner, and picking items off the floor can become excruciating.
Limited mobility and functionality
Tailbone pain can limit movement and make it difficult to sit, stand, or engage in physical activity, which affects overall functionality. If your pain is stopping you from having an active lifestyle, then you could be at risk of developing conditions that arise from this lack of activity, such as weight gain, loss of muscle strength, reduced immunity, and poor circulation.
Emotional and psychological effects
Chronic pain can negatively impact mental health and result in depression, anxiety, and irritability. Being in pain makes us less likely to socialize and exercise — both of which release endorphins, which are happy hormones that enhance our mood and well-being.
Ignoring tailbone pain could result in other complications, such as abscesses, infections, or persistent inflammation. It's vital that you visit your healthcare team if your tailbone discomfort persists or becomes progressively worse.
Although your quality of life might be greatly affected by tailbone pain, relief can come from incorporating proper stretches and exercises. If you are suffering with tailbone soreness you can find relief, increase flexibility, and accelerate healing by adhering to the recommended routines.
It is crucial to take tailbone pain seriously since early treatment can reduce future consequences and long-term suffering. Consult a medical provider for a precise diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan if the pain persists or gets worse.
- MedlinePlus. Health risks of an inactive lifestyle.
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics. Coccydynia: tailbone pain.
- Dr. Lauren Keller. A real pain in the butt: understanding tailbone pain during pregnancy and postpartum.
- South Oregon Sports and Spine. Pain relief exercise: the lower back.
- NHS. Tailbone (coccyx) pain.