Treatment of tailbone pain
Pain at the tailbone, also known as coccydynia, is a problem that can lead to a lot of discomfort.
Sitting, getting up from a chair and riding a bike become painful activities and also a visit to the toilet or sexual intercourse can become very unpleasant. In this way pain in the tailbone can lead to strong limitations in daily life.
The cause for pain in the tailbone area may vary. Often it is the fall on the buttocks, like demonstrated by my daughter in the video.
Although tailbone problems aren’t rare, in the medical world still little is known about how to treat them. The doctor, physiotherapist and manual therapist often is taugth that ‘it is there’ and often that is about it in their whole education. Fortunately the knowledge available about the diagnostics and treatment is growing. For now often only among specialised therapists though.
The tailbone is the last part of the spine and consists of a few vertebrae. There are quit some people that think it is located at the level of the belt, but it is at the bottom of the pelvis, just a few centimeter behind the anus.
Pain at the tailbone often are caused by falling down or child birth and mostly present themselves as pain locally just behind the anus. The pain mostly can easiliy can be triggered by applying pressure at that specific spot. The problems often are because of an increased or decreased mobility, and/or a disposition of the tailbone.
An altered position or functioning of the tailbone can lead to an altered functioning of the muscles of the pelvic floor, that are important for going to the toilet and the stability in the pelvic area. It can also lead to an altered function or position in the surrounding area, like the pelvic joints, the intestants, the lower back, the groin and the hips and even work it’s way to the functioning of the neck and feet.
The most used treatment methods for persistent prolmens of the tailbone were uptil not too long ago a resection through surgery, or internal corection with access by the anus by an osteopath or specialised therapist. Nowadays there are less invasive techniques available to influence the mobility and position of the tailbone and with that often reducing the problems quickly, also if they are present for a long period of time.
I have that specialised training in treating the tailbone. As a manual therapist I am also able to effectively treat the surrounding areas that might be influenced by the problems around the tailbone.
Here a short demonstration of the technique:
Do you like to have some more info about tailbone pain? Watch my video presentation about it below.
An holistic approach
As you can read in the page about me as a physiotherapist, I approach physical problems from a broad and holitic perspective. I have a big trust in the natural wisdom of the body and the almost limitless recover capacity of our system. In my view it is never the therapist or doctor that heals you, it is the body that does this. We just help your system beyond factors that maintain problems or prevent recovery, if that is done nature does the rest.
Also tailbone pain I approach broader than what I learned in my training as a physiotherapist. Even though my treatment is primarily mainly mechanical and aimed at the mobility and position of the tailbone, there is always room for the psycho-emotional and energetic aspect around the problems. With every treatment and interpersonal interaction, inevitably also the psycho-emotional and spiritual/energetic layers are touched and even if a non-mechanical factor contributes most to the problems, local mechanical treatment of the tailbone can contribute to having more freedom in the entire system.
Is it also possible to see tailbone problems in a broader perspective than just a mechanical process?
From the more eastern philosophy and medicine, the body has reflex points that are linked to the tailbone and from where the problems can be influenced. Here you can see examples of these point in the foot, ear and hand.
If one of these spots are more sensitive when you apply pressure on them, then it might be worth trying to massage them every now and then to see if the sensitivity reduces and it changes anything in your problems.
Also the tailbone is situated, coincidentally or not, exactly at the level of the first chakra like they are used in eastern traditions and medicine. This root chakra is related to safety, feeling home, allowing yourself to be worthy, grounding and connecting with ‘earthly’ matters. Might you recognise that these things are a challenge for you in life, this might have a relationship with the origin or inability to recover of your tailbone problems.
The psycho-emotional link to problems
For physical problems I love to take a peek into ‘De sleutel tot zelf-bevrijding’ of Christianne Beerlandt. This ‘bible’ of psycho-emotional explanations for physical problems, often provides clarity or insights about the origin of problems. For tailbone problems she indicates that they symbolise the lack of a safe basis within yourself, being separated of you intuition and being focused on values coming from outside yourself (like from culture, society or religion). This has a strong overlap with what Indian wisdom connects to the first chakra. Also the author connects tailbone problems to being insufficiently rooted and being too much ‘in the head’. A fall down on the tailbone is often a sign that you got stuck in the related vicious circle and a wake up signal of life. As a solution to rebalance yourself, it is important to stop moving away from yourself, and ‘shining your own light and sun’ again so things start flowing again inside yourself. To place the authority in yourself again and becoming true to yourself again and not to the external in perfomance or expectations. So it is all about the process of moving towards your intuition and inner unity and I often hear from my patients that after a mechanical treatment of the tailbone, it also flows better and freer in the entire system.
What eventually causes the change is not important in the end and often hard to unravel and of course I leave it to every individual themself how they want to approach their tailbone problems. The choice for the treatment approach is always with the patient, but just know that in my treatments there is always room for talking about every desired approach.
Do you like to know more about the way I work? See the page about me as a physiotherapist.
You are more than welcome for a treatment
If you like to make an appointment with me, the door is always open for you at the practice I work at in Amsterdam Zuid, just below the Vondelpark. The Practice for physiotherapy and manual therapy is located within the healthcentrum at the Dufaystraat 19.
Everything about me as a physiotherapist you can find on this page.
If you have any questions or like to make an appointment, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For now already some tips:
Reduce the pain during sitting
In the seated position there often is direct pressure on the tailbone. That is especially the case sitting slouched and sitting on hard surfaces. Because the pelvis is a bit different for women compared to men, women often experience more problems with this. By sitting upright the pressure often is reduced.
Further decrease of the pressure can be achieved by folding a small towel into a flat roll of around ten centimeters wide. If you place this under the sitting bones, it reduces the pressure on the tailbone. You can locate these sitting bones by sitting on your hands and moving back and forth a bit. You can feel the bony structures easily. This small towel is easier to take with you that for example a sitting ring that is also often used (and effective). The Backjoy Core is a very comfortable sitting device that you can place into your chair and reduces the pressure on the tailbone.
Relax the pelvic floor
The muscles of the pelvic floor attach directly onto the tailbone. When there is an increased tension (often also caused by a dysfunction or dysposition of the tailbone) that can lead to more discomfort because it pulls at a painful spot. The ‘bekkenfysiotherapeut’ is the specialist in training and relaxation of these muscles, but with some simple exercises often can help you already a lot.
One good exercise is the next. Sit down on the inside of your hands in a way that the fingers of both hands point towards eachother and the tips are just at the inside of the sitting bones. This helps you to ‘sit wide’. Now contract the muscles of the pelvic floor and let them relax again. You contract them by ‘holding in your urine’ or actively pulling your anus a little bit inwardly. With the relaxation you can try to ‘let the tailbone go’ completely. Also you can try to breathe towards the pelvic floor to relax the area.
Stretching the deep pelvic floor muscles
The deep pelvic floor muscles, like of the anus, pull directly on the tailbone when there is a lot of tension. By stretching them you can create some relaxation of these forces.
Sit down on your hands and knees and make sure that your knees are spread apart. Also your feet are wide apart so you can sit inbetween them. The arms aim forward so it is like the child pose in yoga. Now you can stretch the deep pelvic floor muscles by (aim with the anus) moving to the left and right. You will feel yourself when there is stretch. By bringing your pelvis a bit up or down to the floor or arching or hollowing your back a bit, you can increase the stretch.
Sit on the rear end of your saddle while biking
Riding a bike often is painful with people that experience pain at their tailbone. Make sure you aren’t siting too much on the front part of your saddle (like most people do).
The more you position yourself toward the rear end, the less pressure there is on the tailbone and you use the saddle like it is meant to be used. The wide back part of the T-shaped saddle is what is supposed to support the sitting bones.