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Understanding Coccyx Pain Postpartum: A Guide to Relief

Updated: Apr 29

Hey there, mama-to-be or new mom! If you’re experiencing discomfort around your tailbone area after giving birth, you’re not alone. Coccyx pain, also known as coccydynia, can be a common issue postpartum. But fret not, understanding what’s going on down there and how to find relief can make a world of difference.



First off, let’s talk simple anatomy. Your pelvis is an amazing structure made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. At the bottom of your spine is the coccyx, also known as the tailbone. It’s small but mighty, providing support and stability to your pelvic floor muscles, an attachment site for your glutes, and aides in pooping.




During pregnancy and childbirth, your pelvis goes through a lot of changes.


The coccyx extends during a vaginal delivery to allow space for baby to move through the pelvis. The pressure from carrying your baby and the strain of labor and delivery can put added stress on your coccyx and surrounding tissues. This can lead to irritation, discomfort, and pain.


So, what are the symptoms of coccyx pain?


Duh, pain at the tailbone or around the upper butt crack region.


But when might it show up?


1. Sitting, especially on hard surfaces, or really soft (I know, that's confusing). Super soft surfaces can cause pain as the spine melts into the soft surface, the flexion increases neural tension from head to tailbone causing a tug effect on the tailbone is restricted in the flexion movement and that restriction leads to pain.

2. During or after poop, especially the "hard to get out" poops. Straining for poops can aggravated a tailbone that isn't happy, so keep the stools soft and smooth.

3. During or after sex, due to indirect or indirect contact of the attaching muscles or the tailbone depending on position.

4. Doing random things, like walking, stair climbing, running, or weightlifting.


Typically coccyx pain happens when provoked, touched, or aggravated by something. But it may just be a constant nagging pain in the arse.


One interesting thing to note, the coccyx is highly innervated by nerves from the sacrum. Therefore, I often find that coccyx pain, may be due to sacral dysfunction or even tension within the fascia, muscles or nervous system higher up the spine. If direct treatment for the coccyx doesn't offer relief, don't disregard the lumbar, thoracic or cervical regions as the root of the pain.


Now, for the good stuff – relief!


Tips to help ease coccyx pain:


1. Sit Smart: Use a wedge cushion or donut-shaped pillow to take pressure off your tailbone when sitting. Avoid sitting on super hard (or super soft) surfaces for prolonged periods. Be "Goldilocks" and find what's just right.


2. Gentle Movements: Incorporate gentle stretches and movements into your daily routine to improve flexibility and reduce tension in your hips, spine and pelvic area. Motion is lotion, joints and nerves thrive with mobility.


Some examples are cat/cow, childs pose, spine rotations, supine figure four, hamstring and glute stretches.


3. Pelvic Floor Therapy: Seeking help from a pelvic floor physical therapist can assess what the situation and provide targeted hands on treatment, exercises and techniques to alleviate coccyx pain.


Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body and give yourself time to heal. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe coccyx pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment options.


Stay strong, mama! You’ve got this.


With love,


Dr. Ashley






Citations:

1. "Coccydynia (tailbone pain)" - Mayo Clinic

2. "Pelvic floor muscle problems in pregnancy and postpartum: an overview" - International Urogynecology Journal

3. "Anatomy and Imaging of the Normal Coccyx and Coccygeal Pain Syndrome" - Radiologic Clinics of North America

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