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RE: tailbone pain when stretchsitting

Melissa
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RE: tailbone pain when stretchsitting
Hello Esther, thanks for all the previous advice on stretchsitting - I am taking it slower and trying to be easy on my back.  My major back symptom has always been a "stiff" or "sore" tailbone - I don't know how to discribe it other than it feels like it is broken, but it's been like this for almost two years now - I don't think it is broken.  When I stretchsit, it sometimes makes this symptom worse - am I doing something wrong?  I think I might be swaying at the L4-5 joint too much, how can I minimize this to maximize the benefits of stretchsitting? Any other tips for dealing with this symptom?

I appreciate your advice in this area - Melissa H:)
Esther Gokhale's picture
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Make sure you aren't "sitting on your tail" while you stretchsit. If after making sure you have your behind behind you (though not exaggeratedly so) you are still experiencing pain while stretchsitting, back off a little. Tailbone injuries take a long time to heal and can be quite finicky. Do all the things that you can do without exacerbating your tailbone pain, and one day stretchsitting will probably work fine.
Alaflo
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Hi Esther -- I too have frequent/persistent tailbone pain, both in stretchsitting and stacksitting.  This is not from any acute injury, it just developed. It is especially noticeable with driving.

I recently visited an out-of-town friend and was dismayed to find that, even though she keeps her pelvis anteverted, she too has this problem. She uses an ice pack on the area for 20 minutes at night.  But I'd rather prevent the problem in the first place.

I do find that, if I am stacksitting (as I am doing at my computer right now) and move my knees farther apart than my hips, I experience relief of the pain. Then I move my knees back into hip-width position. This only works if I can keep my feet on the floor in the chair -- many desk chairs don't permit this.

Does this sound like a solution? Or is there anything else you would recommend? Thanks!
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Spreading your legs further apart creates easier passage for the pelvis to "settle" between the legs. Another way is to externally rotate the legs, which you get most simply (but not easily without someone showing you how) by kidney bean shaping your feet. It sounds like more anteversion of the pelvis is your solution and that you have found a way to get there. This then allows for true stacksitting.

In stacksitting, the tailbone is away from the chair so it shouldn't get affected. Sometimes it is difficult to tell if the pelvis is truly anteverted. Especially to beginners, a sway in the low back can make the pelvis looked anteverted though it isn't.

Another idea is to use a wedge with a cutout for the tailbone. These are readily available and can be helpful until the tailbone area heals.
Alaflo
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Hi Esther -- I'm still trying to deal with this tailbone pain.  Do you think the gluteus medius strengthening exercise on p213 would bring relief? Somehow I am convinced I am just not using all my pelvic muscles and that is why I have this painful tailbone.
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Strengthening the gluteus medius (and the other glutes as well) is a good long term approach to facilitating the pelvis to default to a healthy position. For the short term any new pull or pressure in the tailbone area could potentially cause displacement and/or inflammation of the tissue around the tailbone - go by feel.

For this sort of thing, I like to use acupuncture to reset the muscles in the area.
CarolK
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Hi Ester,

I have had tailbone pain for 8 months after sitting in a new chair, which I think had my pelvis in too much posterior rotation and I sit at a computer working all day. I got rid of it and purchased your gokhale chair, and love it, and can sit much more comfortably (in both regular sitting and stretch sitting). Unfortunately, the tailbone pain hasn't resolved despite doing exercises (yoga) and lots of walking. You mentioned acupunture helps - can you suggest what points/regions you find helpful for coccyx pain - I would like to explore that and see if it will help to get rid of this pain.

Thanks,

Carol

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Hi Carol, 

There isn't an ideal set of points to be conveyed by me to the acupucturist you will see. They will know best after examining you. 

That said, one further appraoch form our side is to work on developing your glute (buttock) tone further. Ideally the buttock muscles would be sifficiently developed that they cushion the tailbone on either side, keeping it protected from hard surfaces including chair seats, beds, etc. 

CarolK
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Thank you very much Esther for your reply. I will continue working on strengthening my gluts - I try to do stairs as often as possible, squats (as if sitting on a chair), and side step with theraband loop around the ankles. Are there any other exercises that you would recommend for strengthening the gluts?

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Glute strengthening via the Gokhale Method is a lot about walking well and learning to use the glutes to propel you into the next step.  In the meantime, standing and kicking one leg back behind you (while holding onto something for balance assistance) can help get the glutes activated.  I'm also a fan of "bird dog" (from your hands and knees, reaching opposite arm and leg away).  If you are bending well (proper hip hinge), coming back up out of your bend will strengthen your glutes.

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