Best 5 Exercises for Coccydynia
Coccydynia, also known as coccygeal pain or tailbone pain, is a condition that affects many individuals. The coccyx, or tailbone, is a small triangular bone located at the base of the spine. When this bone becomes inflamed or injured, it can result in coccydynia, which is characterised by pain and discomfort in the tailbone area.
The coccyx is a very cool small bone. I recall opening a box at university and finding a whole load of sacrum’s and coccyx’s. I was amazed at the different sizes and shapes these bones come in. The coccyx is a lovely small bone that was named by the Greeks as it looked like a cuckoo’s beak.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of coccydynia. One of the most common causes is trauma to the area, such as from a fall or injury during childbirth. Repetitive strain injuries are pretty rare, and while some people say that sitting for prolonged periods can cause it, this is not our experience. We do have quite a few patients that see us at Surrey Physio who feel like their coccyx has been displaced during childbirth. There are internal techniques performed by a small number of osteopaths that actually claim to re-align the coccyx – this is not something we do, but anecdotally I have heard very good results with these techniques.
There is also a claim that poor posture can also contribute to the development of coccydynia. Some sources say that when the muscles of the back and pelvis are imbalanced or weak, they can place undue pressure on the coccyx, leading to pain and discomfort. However, this is not our experience and we don’t think this explanation holds much credibility. There are also thoughts that degenerative changes in the spine, such as arthritis/spondylosis can also lead to coccydynia, but again this is not our experience. By far the most common pain is caused by a fall or childbirth.
Symptoms of coccydynia can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. Individuals with coccydynia may experience tenderness and pain in the tailbone area, difficulty sitting or standing for long periods of time, and pain during bowel movements or sexual activity. When the coccyx is inflamed, pain may be exacerbated by sitting on hard surfaces or when pressure is applied to the area.
Diagnosing coccydynia typically involves a thorough physical examination (basically pressing the coccyx and around it to see if it hurts), as well as imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans. At Surrey Physio, we’ll need to enquire about your medical history and any previous injuries or conditions that may have started it all off.
Treatment for coccydynia typically involves a combination of pain management strategies, exercise therapy, and electrotherapy. Dry needling acupuncture can also be absolutely brilliant. I’ve personally had several very good successes of dry needling acupuncture around the coccyx. If you see a consultant, they will probably focus on pain management strategies may include the use of anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections. At Surrey Physio, we would recommend ice or heat therapy, and ultrasound, dry needling acupuncture or electrotherapy to reduce pain and inflammation.
Exercise therapy can improve the strength and flexibility of the back and pelvic muscles, thereby reducing pressure on the coccyx and alleviating pain. Specific exercises can include strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles, stretching and mobility exercises, and core stabilisation exercises. We’ve listed some exercises here that we think may help you:
1. Ice to your Coccyx
Place an ice pack or pack of frozen peas under your coccyx in the centre of your butt, at the top. Be careful that it is not too cold, you may need to wrap it in a thin towel. Using ice can help reduce inflammation and pain. Please note, the video shows the ice pack slightly too low, so place it slightly higher up. Hold for 10 minutes, twice per day for around 3 months. Yes, it will take a while.
2. Glute Stretches
Lie on your back, and bring your knee towards your opposite shoulder to feel a stretch in your bottom. Tip: changing the angle you take the leg will change the position of the stretch and you can play around with the position to find the stretch that feels most effective for you. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat twice each side.
Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent, squeeze your bottom muscles and lift your body upwards. Keep your arms by your side and use them to help you balance. Make sure you maintain good posture (do not over-arch your lower back) and contract the deep abdominal muscles by squeezing your tummy towards your spine. This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal, lower back, gluteal and hamstring muscles. Repeat ten reps.
Living with coccydynia can be challenging, but there are steps that individuals can take to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Maintaining good posture, avoiding activities that exacerbate pain, and practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can all help to alleviate symptoms.
4. Lumbar Rotation with Control
Sitting crossed legged, round your back forwards and reach to the side. You will feel a stretch in your lower back, buttocks and side slightly. You can stretch to one or both sides. Repeat five to ten times each side.
5. Spikey Ball on your Piriformis
Sit down on the floor, and place a spikey ball under your right buttock. Cross your right leg over your left knee. Use your hands to support your body, and to control movement over the ball in a circular direction. You will feel the ball massaging deep into your gluteal (buttock) muscles. Roll on the spikey ball for 2 mins per day.
You can buy spikey balls from www.rehabme.com
If you are experiencing tailbone or coccyx pain or discomfort, it is important to get an opinion with one of our team at Surrey Physio. Kay, Lucy, Niamh and Helena are all excellent with this area.
We can treat it, but also help you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of your coccydynia and helps to alleviate your symptoms.
Coccydynia is a common condition that affects a large number of people. Although it can be difficult to live with, there are a variety of effective treatments available. Coccydynia patients can manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life through close collaboration with a healthcare professional.
(Therapists, osteopaths, sports therapists, chiropractors reading this page… if you love the exercises here, then please check out the amazing exercise prescription tool www.rehabmypatient.com. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial, and it’s affordable to buy, with pricing starting from £11.23 per month.
If you want more info on cervical spondylosis, this article written by Rehab My Patient is good: https://www.rehabmypatient.com/pelvis/coccydynia
If you are a patient, in pain, or suffering with coccyx pain, please call us to discuss your case further. Surrey Physio have an amazing team of therapists to help you recover from pain, and get you back to living a normal life. Call us on 0208 685 6930 or click the link at the top to book online.)