Exercise for Tailbone Pain - child pose
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Exercise for Tailbone Pain

About the Tailbone

The tailbone in the human body is a small triangular bone at the end. This bone is referred to medically as the coccyx. It normally is not noticed, but it can be a site of pain that can get so bad that even simple movements like walking and sitting will become very difficult. The medical term for tailbone pain is coccydynia. In this article, the causes, treatment and management or exercise for tailbone pain will be discussed. 

What is the cause of tailbone pain?

The coccyx is made up of fused vertebrae that are located below the sacrum, which is a triangular bone near the end of the spine. The tailbone of most adults curves underneath slightly, while in some other people, the tailbone curves a bit too much or not at all. This anatomical variation alone can even lead to pain since the tailbone and the ischial tuberosities bear the body’s seated weight. Tailbone pain can also be caused by pregnancy, childbirth, injury, abscesses, tumours, recurring strain, prolonged sitting, and deterioration over time. 

What are the symptoms of tailbone pain?

The symptoms appear suddenly in some cases. In others, they start slowly and then progress to excruciating levels. The pain may last for a few days, or the symptoms can be felt for weeks or even months. These symptoms include:

  • Pain during defecating 
  • Pain that rises from a sitting to a standing position
  • Pain that increases with prolonged periods of sitting down
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain that may be dull or shooting

The pain can also cause other symptoms like anxiety, depression, poor sleep, and compensatory or transferred pain as the body tries to relieve the pain by compensating with other muscles. 

What are the ways to relieve tailbone pain?

In the case of short-term tailbone pain, there are various ways that it can be relieved. Some of them include:

  • NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – These drugs help relieve both the pain and the inflammation. It is usually over-the-counter medication but can also be prescribed. 
  • Cold therapy – Pressing ice packs in ten-minute intervals can help ease the pain and soreness experienced.
  • Sitz bath – This can help heal any tears that occur during childbirth and can also help provide warmness that can relieve tailbone pain.
  • Donut cushions – These can prove helpful in relieving the pain and pressure that occurs during childbirth. They are also helpful as nursing pillows when the pain recedes. They can also come in the form of V-shaped pillows.
  • Sleeping positions – Sleeping on the back can exacerbate the pain. Sleeping on the side and using pillows to maintain that position can help in relieving the pain.

Exercises for tailbone pain 

These exercises can stretch and strengthen the muscle and the fascia in and around the butt, lower back and the pelvis. They also work to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles for better support of the pelvic bowl. These exercises should be done at least several times in a week, if possible daily. It is important to go slowly and listen to the body. It is also imperative to follow the doctor’s advice on the safe practice of exercise. Some of them are:

Single-leg knee hug

This exercise works to strengthen the piriformis and the iliopsoas muscles, which can become quite tight, limiting the mobility of the pelvis. The piriformis has its origins in the tailbone and can irritate the sciatic nerve if it becomes inflamed. Slowly increasing the stretch can allow the expansion of a person’s range of movement. 

How it is done: The person gets on their back, bends one knee towards their chest, and then extends the feet straight out. They then hold onto the bent knee and pull it down gently onto their chest. They hold the position for about 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Kneeling hip flexor stretch 

This exercise aims to stretch the iliopsoas which are the main muscles that help the hip to flex. Stretching these muscles is helpful to relieve stiffness, especially the one that comes from prolonged sitting. It is a good exercise for tailbone pain.

How it is done: While kneeling upright on the floor, move one leg in front and place the foot flat on the floor. The thigh should be at a 90-degree angle to the shin. Rest the shin and knee of the back leg on the ground with the toes pointing backwards. A towel under the back knee may be required for comfort. With the chest upright, rest the hands on the hips for stability. Tuck the pelvis under and lean forward slightly, keeping the pelvic tilt. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.  

Pigeon pose 

Exercise for Tailbone Pain - pigeon pose
Picture courtesy: Pexels

This stretch is a yoga pose and helps open the hips. It stretches the iliopsoas as well as the butt muscles on the bent leg. It may be unsuitable for people with knee problems. 

How it is done: Start on all fours with hands slightly in front of the shoulders and the shoulder distance apart. Bring the right knee forward, slightly behind, and to the left of the right hand, with the ankle pointing at the left hip bone. Slide the left leg back and straighten it so that the thigh is facing down towards the floor. If the hips are not square, tuck the back toe under to compensate. Lower the torso forward and rest on folded arms to increase stretch if necessary. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.  

Child’s pose 

Exercise for Tailbone Pain - child pose
Picture courtesy: Freepik

This is another yoga pose, an excellent exercise for tailbone pain. It lengthens the spine, easing lower back pain and targeting the hip muscles and muscles of the pelvic floor. 

How it is done: Begin kneeling with the knees spread, sitting back on heels. Place both hands flat on the floor, slowly slide the arms and the body forward, keeping the head facing down. Continue slowly shifting to extend the arms fully. If possible, bring the forehead to the floor. Rest in this position for 20-30 seconds.

Kneel and twist 

This stretches the iliopsoas while also improving mobility through the lower back. 

How it is done: Start in the same position as the kneeling psoas stretch with the front leg at a 90-degree angle in the front of the body, and the knee and the shin of the back leg on the ground. Keeping the body upright, raise the arms to shoulder height out to the sides. Focus on tucking the shoulder blades down and back to prevent the shoulders from rising. From the torso, rotate slowly towards the left side of the body until the arms are almost in line with the legs. Slowly return to the centre and rotate towards the right side. Rotate four to five times to each side, only turning as far as possible without causing discomfort. 

The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health. Read more

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