10 Reasons Why Tailbone Hurts When You Sit

   This post has been quality checked in line with our Editorial and Research Policy.

10 Reasons Why Tailbone Hurts When You Sit

As you sit there reading this article, you may be in an uncomfortable chair. You need not worry because we have some good tips to manage your tailbone pain and make your work experience more enjoyable! You can follow these steps to make sure your chairs are always as comfortable as possible. What else is there to do but to be comfortable at work?

I found in my practice that tailbone pain may occur as a result of an array of factors. In most cases, tailbone pain is typically caused by an existing hairline break in the coccyx. 

As a general rule, sitting can damage your tailbone (coccyx). When this occurs, your tailbone tissue can become damaged, leading to coccydynia. Long periods of sitting, such as when working or driving, can exert pressure on your coccyx, resulting in discomfort and unease. 

In this post, I will explain how to deal with tailbone pain (coccydynia) as well as what to watch out for in the future.  I have been treating coccyx injuries for 30 years, so I can offer you the benefit of my experience treating tailbone injuries caused by sitting at work all day long or any other cause.

I even created a seat cushion that I ran a successful Kickstarter for to help with coccyx pain! So, I can help you reduce your tailbone pain after sitting for a long time, at work or at home, thanks to my hands-on experience.

10 Reasons How Tailbone Pain Can Get Worse

10 reasons why you have tailbone pain

  1. When a person goes to the bathroom.
  2. Going from sitting to movement can lead to pain
  3. Coccydynia can occur spontaneously.
  4. During delivery in which the baby’s head comes in contact with the coccyx.
  5. Injury from a fall or through contact sports.
  6. Repetitive stress against the tailbone from prolonged sitting or cycling.
  7. Nerve root compression
  8. Cysts
  9. Tumour
  10. Infections

 What Causes Tailbone Pain Without Injury?

An injury usually causes Coccydynia to the tailbone, which causes inflammation. There may be no actual injury, and this condition may appear unconnected, without any real cause. If I dig deeper into the patient’s history, I usually find there was a coccyx injury caused by a fall or childbirth issue.

Is It Bad if Your Tailbone Hurts When Sitting?

model of tailbone pain

Most people with coccydynia will experience tailbone pain when they sit or if something presses on their lower spine. When you sit the wrong way, the bones can get injured, or the surrounding tissues and muscles can get damaged as well. If you have tailbone pain, make sure that your chair has the following to minimise exacerbation:

  • Height adjustability
  • Seat pan width function
  • Forward tilt on the seat (at least 110 degrees tilting forward)
  • Cut out for coccyx
  • An excellent gas shock

How Do You Tell If You Have a Tumor on Your Tailbone?

A chordoma is the most common malignancy in the spine. It presents with the following symptoms:

  1. Tailbone pain or low back pain
  2. Leg weakness or numbness.
  3. A lack of bladder and bowel control.
  4. Long-lasting constipation.
  5. A mass can often be found in the lower back or tailbone and is tender to touch.

If you are experiencing these signs and symptoms you should get a proper examination by your doctor.

How to Relieve Tailbone Pain

It is common for tailbone pains to subside on their own. You should do the following if you experience tailbone pain:

  • Using coccyx cushions
  • Heat and ice therapy to decrease inflammation
  • Try to incorporate less sitting in your workstation 
  • Chiropractic or osteopathic treatment for coccygeal manipulation

You may consider consulting a doctor if you still experience tailbone pain after committing to these measures. A doctor may suggest the following:

  • Steroid or nerve block injections
  • Sporadic cases of surgery

How Long Will It Take for My Tailbone to Heal?

buttocks pain when sitting

The length of time it takes to recover from a tailbone injury depends on its severity. If the damage is a fracture, the recovery takes between 8 and 12 weeks. If a bruised tailbone occurs, the recovery takes about 4 weeks.

How Do I Know If I Have a Broken Tailbone?

The symptoms of a broken tailbone include:

  1. A very dull backache just above the buttocks.
  2. An increased level of pain when sitting and when standing up from a seated position.
  3. Tailbone swelling.
  4. When you have a bowel movement, it is more painful.
  5. An increase in pain during sexual activity.

What Is the Proper Way to Sit on a Doughnut Cushion?

In a comfortable sitting position, your hips should be in the centre of the hole, with your buttocks slightly outward to allow for increased spinal clearance.

Can Tailbone Pain Last For Years?

A coccyx injury may appear as a dull ache, sharp stabbing pain, or a bruised, broken or dislocated region in days, weeks, or months.

How Do You Relieve Tailbone Pain From Bed?

  • If looking to change your mattress, make sure it has a medium-firm density.
  • If you sleep on your back, you may need to place a pillow under your knees to reduce muscle tension in and around your coccyx.
  • For side sleepers, sleep with the involved side (side with pain) up. Use a pillow between your knees to relax pelvic muscles.

How Can I Manage My Tailbone Pain?

  1. You can support your coccyx with a doughnut-shaped cushion while sitting to decrease pain.
  2. Apply ice to reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness. You can apply an ice pack, or crush ice in a plastic bag. 
  3. Exercises for Tailbone Pain. The tailbone may be relieved of tension by performing specific stretches. This article describes the stretches for the tailbone that people can use to relieve pain.

Single-Leg Knee Hug for Muscles Around Tailbone

By doing this exercise, you stretch the pelvic muscles, which can tighten up and make it difficult to move around. The piriformis muscle, which originates from the tailbone, can affect the sciatic nerve if it becomes inflamed. The range of movement will expand by gradually increasing the stretching over time. Here’s how to do this stretch:

  1. Legs straightened out, lie on the back.
  2. Then bend the knee toward the chest.
  3. Hold the knee bent and gently pull it closer to the chest.
  4. Keep it for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Piriformis and Gluteal Muscle Stretch to Relieve Tailbone Pain

These exercises stretch the piriformis as well as your gluteal muscles. You can also pull on your tailbone while walking or running. Here’s how you do this stretch:

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Maintain flat feet with the knees raised toward the ceiling.
  3. The right leg should be bent closer to the body and rested across the left knee.
  4. For 30 seconds, wrap the hands around the thigh on the right side and pull it toward the chest. Repeat on the other side.

Why Tailbone Hurts Sitting With Pregnancy

Pregnant women commonly experience pain in the tailbone. Relaxin and hormones generally appear to be to blame. They cause relaxation and stretch of the pelvic floor, which also influences the movement of your coccyx. It’s not uncommon for pain during pregnancy to feel like lower back and hip pain.

woman sitting pregnancy

Hormones and constipation can be to blame.  Pregnancy friendly natural remedies will help relieve any discomfort or pain without putting your health or your baby’s health at risk. You can ease the pain by practising some stretches, but if your pain lasts more than a few days with no improvement, or if it gets worse, see a doctor.  Here are some of my favourites:

  • Get your sitting right.  The doughnut-shaped pillow helps relieve your aching back and spine and distribute your weight evenly, allowing you to sit for longer. 
  • Good Sleep.  In addition to the backpressure, sleeping on your left side relieves pressure on the placenta and ensures proper blood circulation. Adding a pillow between your legs may help relieve tailbone pain if this position isn’t doing much for it.  
  • Some of my patients found great relief by using a full body pillow (or sometimes called a pregnancy pillow).  A full body pillow can help maintain good sleeping alignment while relaxing the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Keep moving.  Exercise keeps you limber, soothes achy joints, keeps your muscles strong and helps prevent weight gain as well. 

Final Thoughts

By following my advice today, I’ve helped countless people avoid hip pain issues by setting up an ergonomic home office. By implementing these simple changes to your sitting environment, you should experience long-lasting benefits. 

It is, therefore, vital to make sure your home office is ergonomically sound. What you must remember is that unconsciously complacent movements will eventually lead you to break down. If you stay active and aware throughout the day, you should avoid pain and develop lasting good posture habits. 

Sources:

  1. Foye, P.M., 2017. Coccydynia: tailbone pain. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics, 28(3), pp.539-549.
  2. Khandekar, S., Tailbone pain.
  3. Keller, L., A Real Pain in the Butt: Understanding Tailbone Pain During Pregnancy and Postpartum.
  4. Wilking, A.N., 2019. What is causing this patient’s tailbone pain?. Journal of the American Academy of PAs, 32(4), pp.54-56.
**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Share This