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The Tailbone Pain Solution

physicaltherapy womenshealth Mar 31, 2021

Let me tell you about one of our brave active mothers that came to Inside Out Strength and Performance with 13 years of tailbone pain (coccydynia). She had pain with sitting for short and long periods of time, especially on an airplane and at the beach. She had fractured her tailbone in high school while participating in cheerleading and then re-fractured it during childbirth. Her daughter was 2 years old when she came to us.  That’s a long time to be experiencing day to day tailbone pain. Through our evaluation, manual therapy treatment and targeted exercise she was pain free after two sessions and continues to live an active and pain free life. 

Stories of progress and results like this are common here at Inside Out. Let's continue reading to learn more about tailbone pain, common mechanisms of injury and simple strategies of what you can do to get started on the road to get. out of pain and back to living the active life you love to live!

Coccyx 101

Your tailbone (coccyx) is made up of 3-5 separate or fused segments of bone. Coccyx anatomy varies from person to person. As small as the coccyx is relative to other bones in our body the functions of the coccyx are very important. The functions of the coccyx include an insertion site for pelvic floor muscles and gluteus maximus. One of the muscles that is located on each side of the coccyx is the coccygeus muscle which some people deem it the “tail wag” muscle when these two muscles work together they bend the tailbone forward into flexion primarily after bowel movements. There are 22 degrees of range of motion of the coccyx for flexion and extension movements. 

Tailbone injuries happen sometimes with a sudden event but also with activities overtime. Below are some of the common examples of tailbone injuries

Flexion Mechanism of Injury

  • Fall on coccyx
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Slipping
  • Horseback riding
  • Snowboarding

Extension Mechanism of Injury

  • Childbirth
  • Fall on coccyx

Common Symptoms of Painful Tailbone (Coccydynia)

  • Pain during or after sitting or limited length of time sitting
  • Pain with transition from sit to stand
  • Pain with sitting on soft surfaces
  • Deep ache around coccyx
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Shooting pains down leg
  • Sensation of sitting on a marble, knife, rod
  • Painful sex, pooping and periods

What Can You Do?

  • See a Pelvic Health Physical Therapist - Whether you’ve recently injured your tailbone or it has been years, we recommend seeking out a trusted pelvic health physical therapist to assess the position, mobility and range of motion of your coccyx as well as look at the bigger picture of the pelvic floor muscles and muscles in the surrounding areas of your body like hips, glutes and core.
  • Symptom Management Strategies

Crocodile Breathing

  • If you recently fell on your bottom and experienced a potential flexion tailbone injury you some crocodile breathing for 5 minutes with an emphasis on relaxing lengthening the pelvic floor with the inhale. 
  • Once you’ve completed the crocodile breathing then go through a round or two of glute squeeze isometrics for 5-10seconds while laying on your stomach. This works with your anatomy and the natural functioning of the muscles and the bones of your lumbar spine, sacrum and tailbone. 
  • Sitting on a donut pillow to offload your symptoms if you experience pain with sitting.

Tailbone pain is literally and figuratively a pain in the butt. Don’t let your symptoms limit your quality of life or stop you from being the active mom you know you are.

Most people don’t know how to stay healthy and fit without getting hurt. At Inside Out Strength and Performance we provide a clear plan to get you in the best shape of your life, without getting injured, so that you can be active and confident that you’ll feel your best for years to come.

We help North County San Diego’s active moms and runners dealing with pain or injury get back to living a pain-free, strong, and confident life.

We are the Strength Docs who help active adults and runners live a strong, confident, and pain-free life. Fill out our contact form here to get a clear plan and get started.

Frustrated with your current care or dealing with a pain or injury that just won't go away? Talk with one of our Docs today to find out the best way to get back to your best self.

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