How To Sleep Soundly with Tailbone Pain: From Coccyx Pain to Restful Slumber
Tailbone pain is typically caused by an incorrect posture or injuries from falls and accidents. In order to sleep well, you may lay on your side with a pillow in between your legs. This will help with relieving tension from your lower back. Consider steering away from sleeping on your back as that can put even more pressure on your tailbone, leading to more pain.
Sleeping on your side is the most recommended sleeping position for healing a painful tailbone.
Other remedies include ice or heat compresses, back-focused massages, and physical therapy.
If your tailbone pain comes with numbness or tingling in the legs, consider seeing a doctor for assessment of any underlying medical conditions.
Did you know?
Women are five times more likely to experience tailbone pain than men.
Have you ever experienced a persistent, nagging ache in your lower back? If so, you might be familiar with the discomfort of tailbone pain. While this ache often arises from incorrect posture and falls or accidents, it can occasionally signal something more serious, such as underlying medical conditions.
When grappling with tailbone pain, finding the right sleeping position is essential for a peaceful night's rest. Two recommended positions are sleeping on your side with a pillow positioned between your legs or lying on your back with a supportive pillow beneath your knees. To enhance relaxation before bedtime, consider indulging in a soothing warm shower to loosen tense muscles and sipping on a cup of comforting herbal tea.
Read on to discover the intricacies of tailbone pain – its potential causes, symptoms, and effective remedies for how to sleep with tailbone pain.
What is Tailbone Pain?
This is pain around the coccyx, or tailbone – a small triangular bone that is found at the bottom of your spine. It is referred to as the tailbone partly because it resembles a tail-like structure that is meant to offer weight-bearing support when we sit down.
Injury to this bone causes tailbone pain, which can also be referred to as “coccydynia”, “coccygodynia”, “coccygeal pain”, “coccyalgia”, or simply, “coccyx pain”.
Tailbone pain can range from a mild ache to a chronic pain depending on the exact causes of the condition. It typically intensifies when you stand up for too long or go to the bathroom. However, if the pain’s origin is not serious, it usually goes away within a few weeks or months.
How Common Is Coccydynia?
Coccydynia is more common than you think. However, one report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) details that tailbone pain is more likely to affect women than men. Coccydynia is also more common among people with higher-than-average Body Mass Indices (BMI) as well as adolescents (compared to children).
Symptoms of Tailbone Pain
If you want to know whether the tenderness in your lower back is tailbone pain, then look out for pain that intensifies when you:
- have been sitting or standing for too long
- are passing stool
- bend forward
- engage in sexual intercourse
- have a period (for people who menstruate)
What Causes Coccyx/Tailbone Pain?
Before addressing the specific recommendations on how to sleep with coccyx pain, it is important to understand the potential roots of this discomfort. The good news is that for most of the causes we discuss below, relief is possible by making a few adjustments. So, let’s explore these factors and discover how you can find relief:
1. Fall-related Accidents: A significant fall can lead to bruises, fractures or dislocation of the tailbone.
2. Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI): Activities like bicycling and rowing, which involve repeated leaning back and forth, can strain the tissues around the tailbone when performed excessively.
3. Pregnancy and/or Childbirth: During the third trimester of pregnancy, hormonal changes can soften the area between the tailbone and sacrum to facilitate childbirth. In some cases, this can lead to excessive stretching of the muscles and ligaments around the tailbone, causing pain.
4. Carrying Extra Weight: Excess body weight can increase pressure on the tailbone, causing it to lean backward and result in pain.
5. Lack of Fat in the Lower Back Area: Having less fat in the buttocks can reduce cushioning, causing the tailbone to rub against surrounding tissues and lead to inflammation.
6. Prolonged Sitting or Standing: Sitting for extended periods, particularly on hard surfaces, can place excessive pressure on the tailbone and contribute to pain.
What Else Causes Tailbone Pain, Other Than Injury?
While most people are curious about how to sleep with a bruised tailbone, the reasons for this discomfort are many. Tailbone pain without a history of injury can, in very rare instances, be associated with underlying medical conditions, including cancer. Some of the cancers that are most likely to cause tailbone pain include:
Chordoma: Chordoma is a rare type of cancer that can develop in the bones of the spine, including the coccyx. It can lead to tailbone pain as one of its symptoms.
Prostate Cancer: In some cases, prostate cancer can metastasize (spread) to the bones, including the coccyx, causing pain in that area
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer: Colorectal cancer may also spread to nearby bones, potentially leading to tailbone pain.
If you experience tailbone pain without a clear injury, you may want to check for the following additional symptoms before you see a medical professional:
- Difficulty with urination or bowel movements
- Feeling or noticing a mass around your tailbone area
- A tingling or numb feeling in your legs or groin area.
Best Sleeping Positions For Tailbone Pain
Falling asleep with tailbone pain can be close to impossible. However, with the right posture and support, you will be able to get your ZzZs as your back heals. Therefore, the recommendations below help with questions around how to take pressure off the tailbone when sleeping:
1. Sleeping on Your Side with a Pillow Between Your Legs: This position can help protect your tailbone from further injury or pain. Place a thin pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned and reduce pressure on the tailbone. Ensure that the pillow under your head is firm and thick to maintain spinal alignment.
2. Sleeping on Your Back Using a Pillow Beneath Your Knees: Sleeping on your back is an ideal position for minimizing tailbone pain, but it's essential to use additional support. Put a wedge pillow beneath your knees to allow your lower back, including your tailbone, to relax into the bed. This reduces stress on the lower back discs and promotes comfort.
In both cases, a bolster pillow can be an excellent companion as your tailbone pain heals, whether placing under your knees or between your legs. Our Cuddling, for instance, is designed for relieving pressure on your lower back as you relax at night.
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3. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. This position is generally not recommended for anyone, but especially for individuals with tailbone pain. This is because sleeping on your stomach flattens the natural curve of your spine and twists the top of your spine due to the need to turn your head to breathe. This can worsen your tailbone pain after sleeping.
Can My Sleeping Position Cause Tailbone Pain?
Are you wondering, “Why does my tailbone hurt when I lay down?”. No worries, there is a possible explanation that has to do with your posture when you lie down.
serving unhealthy sleeping habits can worsen an existing problem. So, if you’re looking for tips on how to relieve tailbone pain while sleeping, then you may want to steer clear of stomach sleeping. Sleeping position is rarely the root cause of tailbone pain. However, sleeping on your stomach or ob
Also, maintaining a healthy sleeping routine, and ensuring you have the right bedding is key to minimizing the impact of tailbone pain. Even more importantly, having the correct posture can help you avoid increased tailbone pain when lying down.
Home Remedies For Tailbone Pain
There are some simple practices you can incorporate in your day-to-day to keep tailbone pain at bay. You may want to try as many of these tips as possible, particularly before bedtime. These are some of the most effective ways to relieve your lower back of any tension that may be behind the coccyx pain:
- Drink warm herbal tea like peppermint tea.
- Apply heat packs or ice packs to the affected area in your lower back.
- Apply warm castor oil around your tailbone area.
- Take an epsom salt bath.
- Try simple stretches for tension relief.
- Use a bolster pillow when sitting or laying down.
Other Ways To Help Ease Tailbone Pain
While looking for tips on how to sleep with tailbone pain, you may also supplement your healing process with other practices. Therefore, consider making the following changes in your day-to-day life:
- Sleeping on your side as it is the best tailbone pain sleeping position.
- Increasing your vitamin intake.
- Staying active throughout the day.
- Getting a back-focused massage or acupuncture.
- Evaluating surgical options with your doctor e.g partial or total coccygectomy.
Can I Prevent Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain)?
It is possible to reduce the likelihood of experiencing tailbone pain because typically, it is caused by accidents. While there are easy tips on how to sleep with a tailbone injury, you may still consider preventing this discomfort from happening altogether. Therefore, to lower the risk of fall-related injuries, consider these measures:
- Keep floors and pathways clear of obstacles.
- Install railings on stairs and ensure they are well-lit.
- Avoid distractions like looking at your phone while walking.
- Exercise caution during physical activities that could potentially injure your lower back.
Also, avoid prolonged sitting or standing without taking breaks to stretch. When sitting down or simply laying in bed, consider using a body pillow. Our Cuddler, for instance, is ergonomically designed to offer contoured support while you type at work, lay on a couch, or even drift off in bed.
When To See A Doctor
If you're experiencing persistent tailbone pain, it's important to consult a doctor, especially if you suspect an underlying issue. Prolonged tailbone pain is referred to as chronic coccydynia. So, if you’re wondering, “When should I be worried if my tailbone hurts”, we have some answers for you.
Tailbone pain, while often not indicative of a serious underlying medical issue, may warrant a visit to the doctor if you experience the following signs:
- Persistent Tailbone Pain (Over a week)
- Additional Pain in Other Areas (Like your hips or lower back)
- Fever (103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
If you’re wondering about how to sleep with tailbone pain, then good news… relief is possible! One effective approach is to sleep on your side, with a pillow thoughtfully placed between your legs. Alternatively, resting on your back with a firm pillow beneath your knees can offer significant relief.
Before you go to bed, consider trying a warm compress on the tender area for about 15 minutes, to help ease any strains on your lower back. For enhanced support and alignment as you sleep, consider a bolster pillow like our Cuddling, ergonomically designed to cradle your back and melt tension away from your tailbone as you sleep.
Should the discomfort persist beyond a week or worsen, seeking professional medical guidance is advisable. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your condition and recommend appropriate treatments, which may include local anesthetic injections or, in rare cases, surgical intervention.