Maybe you slipped in the shower or on the ice; maybe you spent a little too long sitting on the bleachers at your child’s football game. Maybe you work a desk job and over the last couple of weeks, you’ve noticed the pain getting worse. No matter what caused it, you’re living with tailbone pain, and it doesn’t seem like it will ever go away.
Living with a coccyx injury can be extremely uncomfortable, but having a cushion for coccyx pain can make your recovery much more pleasant. Read on to learn more about these cushions and why you need one in your life.
What Is Your Coccyx?
Before we dive into the best coccyx pillows, let’s talk some about what your coccyx actually is. You may know this bone by its more common name: your tailbone. Your coccyx is the small triangle-shaped bone that forms the very base of your spine.
Your coccyx is the last remnant of the tail you once had early in your development in the womb. The word “coccyx” comes from the Greek word for “cuckoo” since its triangular shape resembles a bird’s beak. Your coccyx is actually made up of a few different bones fused into one small bone that, along with the bones of your pelvis, bears most of your weight when you sit down.
Common Coccyx Injuries
Coccyx injuries are common and can range from bruising and soreness to stress fractures and breaks. You may break or bruise your coccyx if you fall down, especially on ice, or if someone pulls a chair out from underneath you. It’s also possible to dislocate your coccyx during a traumatic event.
You may also injure your coccyx by placing too much strain on it for too long. This can happen if you sit on a hard surface for too long or as a result of a difficult childbirth. You may also develop infections, tumors, or abscesses in your coccyx that can cause pain.
Impact of Back Pain
Most of us think of low back pain as no big deal; after all, we all deal with aches and pains from time to time, right? And in the case of short-term back pain, you may be able to take it easy for a few weeks and move on with your life. But long-term pain can begin to cause more severe problems throughout nearly every area of your life.
When you’re in pain, you may not want to go out and do the activities you once loved. You may begin to feel isolated from your friends and family, and you might have trouble keeping up at work. Over time, this can leave you at higher risk of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
Coccyx Injury Recovery Process
If you injure your coccyx, you could be looking at a long recovery process. After all, even bruised bones can take about a month to heal. If you fracture your coccyx, you’re looking at a recovery time of between two and three months.
The coccyx injury recovery process is further complicated by the fact that this bone bears a large part of your weight when you sit down. You may wind up re-straining it every time you sit, and sitting can be very painful. But you can’t avoid sitting down for three months while it heals, so how do you manage treatment and avoid further strain in the meantime?
What Is a Coccyx Pillow?
A coccyx pillow is a special kind of seat cushion designed to reduce or remove strain on your tailbone. These seat cushions are somewhat u-shaped and have a small cutout at the back of the seat. Your tailbone sits in this notch, protected from the strain of bearing your weight when you sit.
Because coccyx pillows are modified seat cushions, they have all the same design features as the original models. They may have a ridge at the front to separate and support your thighs and knees. And they will be slightly tilted to gently pull your hips into a more natural and healthy position.
How Does It Help?
A coccyx cushion gives you the freedom to sit down while you’re recovering from your injury without further straining your coccyx. Think of it as crutches for your tailbone; this cushion removes all weight from your coccyx while it’s healing. This helps to speed up the healing process and make it less painful for you.
Having a coccyx pillow can also help to prevent injuries to your tailbone in the first place. When you remove pressure from your coccyx, you can prevent stress fractures and bruises from ever developing. Maintaining a more natural tilt to your hips can also reduce the amount of strain on your tailbone.
Who Needs a Coccyx Pillow?
If you work in an office and spend most of your day sitting down, a coccyx pillow is an excellent idea. Most office chairs, even those marketed as being “ergonomic,” don’t provide enough give to protect your tailbone. The more time you spend sitting down each day, the more pressure your coccyx is under.
A coccyx pillow is also a good idea for anyone who has long commutes. Car seats can place even more strain on your tailbone since they are tilted back, placing your weight further back on your rear. And if you fly a lot, a coccyx pillow should be at the top of your carry-on packing list.
What to Look for in a Coccyx Pillow
When you’re shopping for a coccyx pillow, there are a few features you should keep an eye out for. For one thing, look for a cushion with a removable, washable cover to make laundering the pillow simple. You may also want to look for a cushion with a no-slip base that will keep your cushion in place as you shift throughout the day.
Most importantly, you need to make sure the cushion you get is made of memory foam. As we’ll discuss more in a moment, memory foam is the best material for redistributing your weight and reducing pressure on your coccyx. It also has a variety of other health benefits that can keep you living your best life for longer.
What Is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is a dense polymer foam that can be molded into a variety of different shapes. You may hear it referred to as “viscoelastic foam,” though this name is just a fancy way to refer to memory foam’s remarkable properties. This foam can give under your weight (elastic) while maintaining its shape for a time after you get up (visco).
One of the more remarkable qualities of memory foam is that it softens as it heats up. This means as your seat cushion absorbs your body heat, it will begin to give way under points of highest pressure. However, it won’t collapse entirely, ensuring areas of lower pressure still get the support they need.
Memory Foam Benefits
Because of its remarkable softening capabilities, memory foam is great at redistributing your weight more evenly across your entire seat. By giving way under the areas of highest pressure, memory foam places more weight on lower-pressure areas, ensuring no one part of your rear is bearing your entire weight. This can reduce strain on your hips and tailbone.
Memory foam can also help improve your circulation since it evens out pressure across your seat. Reducing pressure on specific points prevents your blood vessels from being compressed or even closed off. This can reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, a dangerous condition that can lead to a stroke or even pulmonary embolism.
How to Clean Memory Foam
Even if you have a removable cover on your coccyx cushion, you will need to launder the cushion itself from time to time. To do this, begin by running a sink or tub full of lukewarm – not hot – water. Mix in a little gentle laundry detergent and swirl the water to get the soap incorporated.
Immerse your pillow in the water and squeeze it to make sure it gets soaked. Then drain the sink or tub; run it full of cold, clean water; and rinse your pillow until the water runs clear. Roll your pillow in a towel and squeeze it to remove as much excess moisture as possible, and then let it dry for at least twenty-four hours.
Setting Up Your Coccyx Cushion
Making sure your coccyx cushion is set up properly is crucial to prevent further pain and injury. Start by taking a look at your cushion; make sure the no-grip base, if it has one is down. There will be a small notch on one side of your pillow that should go towards the back of the chair.
Set your cushion in the seat of your chair with the notch facing towards the back. You’ll want to situate it all the way towards the back at first, though it may take some adjustment to get it to the right spot in your chair. Keep in mind that you may also need to adjust the height of your chair after you set up your coccyx cushion, since it will raise your hips by a few inches.
Where to Use a Coccyx Cushion
As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to use a coccyx cushion in any location where you plan to sit down more than four hours a day. For most of us, this starts with the chairs at our offices. But it may also include your favorite chair at home or, in some cases, even your car.
If you have an existing tailbone injury, you should plan to use your coccyx pillow anywhere you plan to sit down for more than two hours. This could include planes, friends’ houses, or sports stadiums. You want to keep pressure off your tailbone, so look for a cushion that can travel with you as needed.
Other Coccyx Care
In addition to getting a coccyx pillow, there are a few other things you can do to help your tailbone heal faster. Talk to your doctor about how to safely use pain medicine to reduce swelling and discomfort while your coccyx heals. You may also want to consider using a stool softener to reduce straining when you’re in the bathroom.
If you don’t have your coccyx cushion with you, avoid sitting as much as possible to prevent further damage to your tailbone. Hot baths and gentle stretching can also help to relieve pain and relax tight muscles in the area. You may also want to apply a hot or cold pack to your back for no more than thirty minutes at a time a few times a day.
Additional Support Pillows
If you want to live a truly pain-free life, there are some additional support pillows you may want to get. At your office, consider a lumbar support pillow that sits in the curve of your low back and supports your lumbar spine. You may also want to get a footrest, especially if you’re shorter and using a coccyx cushion.
At home, you should consider getting a knee pillow to sleep with. This can help to keep your hips in a more natural position at night and reduce pressure on your low back. Memory foam sleeping pillows or a neck pillow can also help to keep your spine aligned and your back feeling good all day.
Find the Best Cushion for Coccyx Pain
Coccyx injuries can be painful and may take weeks or months to heal up. Having a cushion for coccyx pain can make your recovery easier and more comfortable. Be sure to use your pillow anywhere you’ll be sitting for extended periods of time, and talk to your doctor about other steps you can take to speed up your healing process.
If you’d like to start living your best pain-free life, check out the rest of our site at Everlasting Comfort. We offer everything from memory foam pillows and cushions to essential oil diffusers and humidifiers. Shop our collections today and discover what it feels like to live in the lap of comfort.