How to Use a Coccyx Cushion
When you get up from your desk at the end of a long day, do you find yourself wincing and rubbing your tailbone? Do you dread long meetings because you know it will mean hours shifting in a painful chair? Do you have to get up and take walks around the office to relieve some of the pressure on your tailbone?
If any of this sounds familiar, you could benefit from a coccyx cushion. Read on to learn more about these cushions and how they can help you live a happier, pain-free life.
What Is a Coccyx Cushion?
A coccyx cushion is a specialized kind of seat cushion designed to protect your tailbone or coccyx. Your coccyx can become inflamed and painful for a variety of reasons. Sitting on normal seat cushions can put pressure on this bone, making the injury worse.
A coccyx cushion has a notch cut out of the back where your tailbone will sit. This helps to provide support for your hips and spine while removing direct pressure from your coccyx. Many of these pillows are a sort of modified wedge shape, though as we’ll discuss later, they can come in different shapes.
Quick Overview of Your Back
Before we dive into why it’s important to protect your coccyx, let’s talk a little about the anatomy of your back. You have twenty-four vertebrae that are divided up into three sections. There are seven cervical vertebrae at the top of your spine, twelve thoracic vertebrae in the middle of your back, and five lumbar vertebrae in your lower back.
Your coccyx is a small triangular bone located at the bottom of your spine. It is composed of three smaller segments of bone that align to resemble a shortened tail. Your coccyx is attached to your sacrum, a large bone that sits just below your last lumbar vertebra.
Impact of Back Pain
So now that we know a little about the bones that make up your back, let’s talk about the impact back pain can have on your life. We all suffer from temporary back pain from time to time when we sleep in a bad position or lift something too heavy. But long-term back pain can have a serious impact on nearly every area of your life.
When your back hurts all the time, it may be hard to go out and engage in any of your normal activities. You may begin to withdraw from family and friends and isolate yourself, trying to escape from the pain. Over time, this can lead to anxiety and depression, as well as damaging the relationships in your life.
Importance of Good Posture
We’ve all been told to stand up straight before, but did you know that your posture can have a huge impact on your back health? Our backs have natural curves and alignments that they want to fall into. Unfortunately, when you have poor posture, you place strain on the bones, muscles, and connective tissue in your back.
Slouching, slumping, or hunching over pulls your back out of its natural, healthy curvature. Your back may begin to ache, and you may find yourself slouching even more to accommodate it. Your muscles weaken, and over time, if you don’t correct your posture, it can become difficult and painful to realign your back to its proper position.
Common Causes of Bad Posture
So if your back is designed to sit in these natural positions, why are they so hard to maintain? The simple answer is that our modern lifestyle was not designed with natural back positioning in mind. Many sources of bad posture can be traced back to modern living habits.
Many of us spend our days hunched overworking at computers, which can place tremendous strain on your back and neck. When we’re at home, we slump on couches or kick back in recliners. Poor sleeping position in beds not designed for ergonomic health leaves your back twisted into a mockery of its natural position.
How a Cushion Can Help
Using a coccyx cushion or other seat cushion can help you maintain a better posture with almost no effort. The alignment of your hips plays a huge role in the position your back sits in. Tilting your hips forward a little can encourage your back to fall into a more natural curvature.
If your coccyx has become inflamed or sore, sitting on a normal seat cushion will only place more pressure on it. It won’t have time to heal, and you may find yourself compensating for that pain with poor posture. Not only does a coccyx cushion give your tailbone time to heal, but it also prevents further injuries by removing pressure from the base of your spine.
Placing the Cushion Properly
When you get a coccyx cushion, it’s important to use it properly in order to gain all of its ergonomic benefits. First of all, you should never use a coccyx cushion along with another seat cushion, as this can throw off the balance of the cushion. Place the cushion directly on the seat, removing any other pillows that may be there if possible.
It’s best to use a coccyx pillow in a chair with good back support when possible. If you have to sit down on a soft couch or chair, try to put a heavyweight such as a large, flat book under your cushion before you sit down. A coccyx pillow will also raise you a few additional inches off the ground, so use a footrest if needed to keep your knees at a comfortable, ninety-degree angle.
Most of your waking hours will be spent at work, so it should come as no surprise that you will need to use your coccyx cushion there. If possible, get a desk chair that has good back support – especially good lumbar support – at your desk. If this is not possible, look into getting a lumbar support pillow to keep your back in its natural, healthy curves.
Of course, you should have a coccyx pillow at your desk. But if you have to have meetings that last longer than an hour or two in another location, it’s a good idea to bring your coccyx pillow with you. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you’ll also sit taller in the meeting, and a confidence boost never goes awry!
Most of us spend the rest of our waking hours at home, especially since the start of the pandemic. You need to have a coccyx pillow at home, too. Your couch may be amazingly soft, but it’s likely not doing you any favors, especially if you’re trying to recover from a tailbone injury.
Get a chair that has good back support and a solid seat base for your to place your coccyx cushion on. A rocking chair can be a great choice, and you can find some wonderful ergonomic armchairs. Bring your coccyx pillow with you anytime you’re sitting down for more than a few minutes time at home.
In the Car
You may be surprised to learn that you should use a coccyx cushion in your car, too. This is especially important if you have a long commute. Your car seat isn’t necessarily built for maximum ergonomic comfort, and standard seats do nothing to alleviate pressure on your tailbone.
If possible, adjust the angle of your seat so you aren’t sitting so far back on an angled seat. Adjust your seat back so you’re sitting up straight when you sit on your coccyx cushion. Remember, this cushion will give you a little added height, so you may need to move your seat closer to the steering wheel or adjust the seat height to get back in proper driving position.
There are a few different shapes of coccyx cushion, though they do all have one defining feature. No matter what the rest of them looks like, all coccyx cushions feature a small cutout at the back where your tailbone will sit. Some even include gel packs that sit in that divot and can be warmed and cooled to help manage inflammation and pain.
A coccyx pillow may be a simple wedge with a notch cut out at the back. It may have longer portions that extend out in front to support your thighs. A coccyx pillow may also look like a simple square made of foam with the signature notch cut out at the back and not much other posture adjustments.
Coccyx cushions can be made from a variety of materials, and you may not be surprised to learn that not all materials are made equal. The best coccyx pillows are made from memory foam, a dense polymer foam. Because of its unique structural properties, memory foam provides maximum support and cushioning for your coccyx and the rest of your pelvic area.
Memory foam softens slightly with heat, which means it will mold to your shape as you sit on it. It will give way under high-pressure points but will provide steady support to the rest of your body. This, in combination with the coccyx notch, can relieve pressure points and meet your personal posture needs flawlessly.
When you’re shopping for a coccyx pillow, you may want to look for one that has a non-slip cover. When you put your cushion down in a chair, you don’t want it sliding around on you. You need it to provide a solid base that won’t move even as you adjust your position throughout the day.
Check the outside cover of your coccyx cushion and make sure it has a non-slip cover. If it only has a non-slip surface on one side, you’ll need to double-check that before placing the cushion on a chair. If you believe there is a risk of bodily fluids getting on the cushion, you may also want to look for one that is liquid-resistant.
Although many people may not think about it, having a washable coccyx cushion cover is crucial. If you use it properly, you’re going to be sitting on your cushion all the time. Over time, an unwashed cover can lead to skin problems, not to mention some interpersonal challenges.
Memory foam shouldn’t be washed (though it can be cleaned), so you’ll want a pillow with a removable cover. Check the laundering instructions before you wash the cover for the first time. Materials like suede or velvet may require a little extra TLC during the wash cycle.
Other Ways to Improve Posture
A coccyx pillow is a great first step to improving your posture and back health. But there are a number of other steps you can take to return your back to its natural curvature. We’ve mentioned a lumbar pillow, and that is a great option at work and even in the car.
If you wake up with your back aching, you may consider getting a memory foam pillow to provide a better neck support. A knee pillow can help pull your hips back into alignment and keep your back straight while you sleep. A footrest at work and at home can also keep your knees from aching and your hips in line.
Discover the Benefits of a Coccyx Cushion
A coccyx cushion can be an amazing tool to keep your back aligned properly. You should use it at home, at work, in the car, and anywhere else you expect to be sitting for more than an hour or so. Look for a memory foam pillow with a washable, non-slip cover and pair it with other support cushions for best results.
If you’d like to find the best comfort products on the market, check out the rest of our site at Everlasting Comfort. We have everything from seat cushions and footrests to oil diffusers and humidifiers. Shop our back pain relief products today and start living the life of comfort you deserve.