Try These 10 Stretches to Reduce Tailbone Pain


Does your backside hurt? Try these exercises to get rid of your tailbone pain.

Your coccyx, or tailbone, lies at the base of your spine and supports your weight when you sit. It consists of three to five fused vertebrae or bones, as well as a network of tendons, ligaments, and muscles. However, as with any other joint in the body, you can experience tailbone pain when it becomes inflamed or damaged, also known as coccydynia. The pain can be sharp or a dull ache that is more pronounced when you stand after sitting. You may also feel discomfort when having a bowel movement or during sex.

Tailbone pain typically develops after trauma to the bone or from sitting too long on a hard surface. Pregnant women tend to be more prone to tailbone pain due to added pressure on the lower back. The tailbone can also start to ache from repetitive back-and-forth motions, like those involved in cycling and rowing. The good news is that you can usually alleviate some of the pain with these simple stretching exercises.

10 stretches to reduce tailbone pain

Taking inspiration from yoga poses, these stretches can be effective in relieving tailbone pain and improving mobility. One study concluded that exercises to strengthen and stretch the piriformis and iliopsoas muscles in the buttocks and hips helped reduce pain in those who performed them. 

Be sure to go slowly at first, and don’t push past your pain tolerance. If you need more guidance, don’t hesitate to consult a physical therapist.

1. Child’s pose

Position yourself on all fours on a mat with your shoulders underneath your wrists and knees underneath your hips. Spread your knees to the edge of the mat, keeping your feet together. Move your pelvis back toward the heels while lowering your torso to the mat. You can rest your forehead on the mat. Stretch your arms out in front of you, or clasp your hands behind your back. Hold for five breaths or as long as it feels comfortable.

2. Bow pose

Lie on your stomach with arms at your sides and forehead on the mat. Bend your knees and hold onto the outside of your ankles (if you can’t do this, just reach toward your ankles.) As you inhale, raise your torso off the mat, with the soles of your feet lifted upward. Then, in a seesaw motion, raise your chest and feet higher. Hold for five breaths and lower your body. Repeat three times.

3. Cat cow

Start on all fours with your back straight; keep your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. As you inhale, slowly lower your stomach to the floor, arch your back, and tilt your head upward (cow). Exhale and round your back with your chin tucked to your chest (cat). Alternate between these two positions at least 10 times.

4. Bridge pose

Lie on your back, bending your knees and bringing your heels a hand’s width away from your buttocks. Your knees should point toward the ceiling, hip-width apart. Bend your arms and place them to the side of your body, palms facing each other across your chest. As you exhale, press into your feet, the backs of your arms, and the back of your head as you lift your hips upward. Then, relax your buttocks, with the strength of your legs and the pressure into the backs of the arms and head to support the stretch. Lift your chin to the sky. Take five breaths then lower slowly on an exhale.

5. Pigeon pose

Start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and slightly in front of you. Bring your right knee forward and place it slightly behind and to the left of the right hand. The ankle should point toward the left hip bone. Slide the left leg back, keeping it straight so the thigh faces down to the floor. Tuck the back toe under to keep the hips square. Lower your torso forward and rest on folded arms to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

6. Single-leg knee hug

Lie on your back and bend one knee toward your chest. If you can, extend your feet straight out. As you hold your knee, gently pull it toward your chest. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.

7. Lumbar rotation

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. For stability, place your arms out to the side. Slowly lower your legs to one side until you feel a stretch, always keeping your knees together. Turn to look in the opposite direction. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

8. Kneeling hip flexor stretch

Kneel upright on the floor, with one leg in front and the foot flat on the floor. The thigh should be at a 90-degree angle to the shin. Place the shin and knee of the back leg on the ground with toes pointing backward. Keep the chest upright with your hands on your hips. Tuck the pelvis under and lean forward slightly. Don’t over-stretch; instead, maintain a pelvic tilt. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

9. Foam rolling gluteus maximus

For this exercise, you’ll need a foam roller. Start by sitting on the foam roller with one foot over the opposite knee in a figure-four pose. Roll on the roller from front to back from the lower spine to the bottom of the buttocks. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and maintain proper back posture during the exercise.

10. Triangle pose

Standing with both legs straight, place one foot parallel to the back edge of the mat, with the heel of your front foot in line with the arch of your back foot. Lift your arms parallel to the ground as you inhale. As you exhale, tilt the side of your body forward while lowering your front arm toward the floor. Keep both legs straight and your hand on the inside of the front leg. Slowly move down as it feels comfortable, stopping at mid-calf or thigh. Your torso should be open and your arms aligned as if you’re pressing your body against an invisible plane of glass behind you. Take five to seven breaths before rising up and repeating on the other side.

We help people overcome pain

As a leading sports medicine center, New York Bone & Joint Specialists has helped hundreds of patients overcome pain. If your tailbone or any joint in your body hurts, we have a solution for you. Contact us today for a consultation.

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