Tailbone pain (coccyx pain) usually is worse when sitting. This is because when we sit we put more of our body weight on the tailbone (as compared with standing, which put far less pressure on the tailbone). This can be true for a wide variety of causes of tailbone pain, including tailbone pain due to conditions such as: coccyx fractures (fractured tailbone, "broken tailbone", chipped tailbone, "cracked tailbone"), coccyx dislocations (dislocated tailbone), coccyx sprains (sprained tailbone), coccyx injuries from pregnancy (tailbone injuries while pregnant or from childbirth, labor and delivery), tailbone injuries from sports and other causes (bruised tailbone from trauma) and tailbone pain, aching, soreness or tailbone discomfort that began without any trauma or injury at all. This article will focus on how patients often cope with this pain by changing the way that they sit.
Web Search for Tailbone Doctor Web Search for Tailbone Doctor The best first step is to find out what is causing the tailbone pain, ideally by seeing a physician with experience in evaluating and treating a variety of causes of tailbone pain. But in the meantime, the following simple steps can help make sitting more tolerable.
Notice whether the pain is worse with sitting on soft surfaces (like a couch) or hard surfaces (like a bench). When possible, avoid sitting on the types of surfaces that worsen your pain.
Many patients find it helpful to sit leaning slightly forwards (bending forward at the hips/waist). This helps because it takes your body weight off of the coccyx (tailbone). When sitting leaning forwards, most of your body weight is on the back of your thighs and the lower part of each separate buttock, instead of the pressure being over the tailbone (which is in between the buttocks).
Many patients find that the pain is less if they lean to one side or the other. By leaning to the right (or to the left), less body weight (and thus less pressure) is placed on the tailbone. Many patients will alternate between leaning to the right versus leaning to the left.
Some patients will sit with one foot/ankle placed beneath the opposite buttock. For example, a patient may position their right foot up on the chair underneath their left buttock. (Or, the left foot underneath the right buttock.) Doing this lifts the tailbone up off of the chair, so that there is less pressure on the tailbone.
Avoid sitting for a long duration of time. Especially avoid sitting for a long time in one single position. Instead, change positions frequently.
From among the different options above, find the sitting position that is most comfortable for you. Or, alternate between positions.
Consider using a tailbone cushion (coccyx cushion). For more details about tailbone cushions, please see the eHow article "How To Pick a Coccyx Cushion (Tailbone Cushion) for Coccyx Pain (Tailbone Pain)", available online at http://www.ehow.com/how_2243781_cushion-coccyx-pain-tailbone-pain.html
Many patients find that their tailbone pain is worse when they first stand up after sitting. It may be helpful to get up slowly when standing up after sitting.
When possible, avoid sitting while the seat is bumping or shaking. For example, many patients with tailbone pain avoid sitting on buses or on subway cars since the bumpy ride can worsen the tailbone pain.
Be careful because the altered ways of sitting (sitting leaning forwards, sitting leaning to one side, sitting on your foot, etc.) can cause pain in OTHER body regions. For example, people who sit in an abnormal posture due to tailbone pain may eventually end up also having pain at the lower back, at the back of the thighs, the outer parts of the hips, or at the lower part of either buttock.
Disclaimer: This web site is for general informational purposes only.
The information should not be considered as medical advice.
The information is not a substitute for appropriate in-person care by a healthcare provider with expertise in evaluating and treating tailbone pain. This website is not meant to represent official views of any university, medical school, hospital, etc.