Most offices don’t spring for the most expensive, most comfortable office chairs, leaving their employees to instead sit in uncomfortable office chairs for long periods of time that can cause damage to the neck, back, spine, buttocks, and hips over the years.
However, upgrading to a new office chair, especially one made to treat tailbone or another type of lower back pain associated with prolonged sitting, can be expensive. Instead, you should look into other more affordable relief options, such as alternative chair types and seat cushions.
What Causes Tailbone Pain?
Tailbone pain or coccydynia refers to the pain that you experience around the small bone at the base of your spinal column. This bone, the coccyx, is located right above the cleft of your buttocks and can become damaged for many reasons—causing you pain.
While we want to focus on how tailbone pain occurs without injury, let’s briefly take a look at some injuries that can cause tailbone pain. Sometimes you can injure your tailbone without knowing it, so it’s essential to understand how injuries occur in order to take them out of the equation.
If you’ve experienced a fall or another type of trauma, you could be experiencing tailbone pain related to that event. When you fall on your tailbone, you can cause a bruise, some dislocation, or even a fracture to the bone.
However, more commonly, tailbone pain doesn’t occur as a direct result of a traumatic incident like a fall. Instead, a common cause of tailbone pain is repetitive movements or unsupportive chairs in the office, at home, and even in your vehicle.
Tailbone pain is also more common in overweight people, as there’s more pressure on the tailbone when sitting down. Tailbone pain may also come from tumors in infrequent circumstances.
Did you know that women who experience childbirth are five times more likely than men to experience tailbone pain? That’s because ligaments connected to the coccyx naturally loosen to make room for the baby around the third trimester of pregnancy.
If you’ve recently been pregnant, it’s even more important to find comfortable seating options to prevent damage to your vulnerable tailbone.
Aside from these specific instances, tailbone pain most often occurs because of prolonged sitting. Most chairs aren’t made to support the coccyx properly. This results in too much pressure being placed on it when you sit, causing damage over time and resulting in pain throughout your workday.
What Does Tailbone Pain Feel Like?
If you’re experiencing pain in the tailbone, you may have symptoms such as:
- Dull and achy pain that occasionally flares up with sharper pains
- Pain that worsens when you’re sitting down, moving from sitting to standing up or standing for long periods
- Pain that makes it difficult to carry out daily tasks and activities such as driving, sleeping, and bending over
However, tailbone pain is different for everyone. Some people may experience pain in the lower back, hips, thighs, and neck because of their posture or the chair they sit in every day. You may not experience tailbone pain alone.
Complications Associated with Pain from Prolonged Sitting
The most common complication from prolonged sitting is sciatica. Sciatica is damage to the sciatic nerve, a nerve that runs from your lower back, through your butt, and down to your knees. Sitting too much may trigger or worsen exciting sciatica pain. Sciatica normally lasts between four to six weeks but can last longer in more serious circumstances.
People who sit for too long every day have a much higher risk of developing diabetes. Sitting can cause insulin resistance, meaning your body will go on strike from making it—which can cause a host of different problems.
You can also develop some types of cancers, including lung, uterine, and colon cancers, because of prolonged sitting, although these are incredibly rare in this situation.
Varicose veins (also known as spider veins) are also more common in people who sit more frequently. They cause blood to pool in your legs. You can avoid developing varicose veins by remembering to prop your legs up every once and a while.
Treatment for Tailbone Pain
There are many different options for treatment for tailbone pain. In most cases, if you see a doctor, they’ll instruct you first to try to relieve your pain at home. More severe injuries to the tailbone, such as breaks or fractures, may require surgery. The only way to know is with a physical exam and a scan like an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
If you’re a candidate for it, you can have surgery performed to remove the coccyx. This is only recommended when all other treatment options have failed and you’re left with pain that refuses to subside. Most people do not get this surgery.
Occasionally, when at-home treatment doesn’t work, you can opt for physical therapy. A physical therapist will show you how to relax your pelvic floor to provide relief for the pain you’re experiencing. They can also help you adjust poor posture and reduce joint pain.
Many patients find relief for their tailbone pain (and other pain associated with prolonged sitting) by getting a massage. A massage can help relieve tension in the muscles, reducing any discomfort. You can also try manipulation, which is done through the rectum. During manipulation, the muscles attached to the tailbone are massaged to relieve pain.
How to Find At-Home Relief
At home relief for tailbone pain can easily be achieved through a variety of methods, including:
- Over-the-counter medications: (Ibuprofen: Advil and Motrin, Acetaminophen: Tylenol)
- Hot and cold pack treatment like a heating pad or an ice pack
- Stretching and yoga
- A better chair or a seat cushion to help prevent further damage and pain
Office Chair Alternatives
Of course, the best way to prevent and relieve pain is to change up what caused you the pain. If you have an uncomfortable office chair, upgrading your chair is the way to go. However, genuinely ergonomic office chairs are costly.
Instead, try a standing desk that allows you to switch between sitting and standing. You can get a desk topper that does this, and it’s much cheaper than buying a nice office chair. A standing desk will also relieve the pressure associated with sitting while allowing you to keep working.
There are also a variety of chair options other than the standard desk chair. You could try a kneeling chair, an ergonomic stool, or an exercise ball chair. If none of those options work for you, or if you’re looking for something more affordable, you could always add a seat cushion to your office chair for improved support.
Why You Need a Seat Cushion
An office chair can help you get the support you need without breaking the bank. There are so many different seat cushions, including ones designed specifically to support the coccyx and prevent tailbone pain.
We offer a coccyx seat cushion, wedge cushions, lumbar back support cushions, footrest cushions, as well as many other supportive products. Our cushions are constructed from high-quality memory foam and gel inserts that provide both protection to the body’s shapes and cooling properties.
With the proper seat cushion, you can make any chair (whether it’s an office chair, hard chair, bench, or bleacher) more comfortable. You deserve relief for your tailbone pain, and a seat cushion is the most affordable way to relieve pain while also preventing long-term or recurring pain.