coccyx painTHE COCCYX

The lowermost part of the spine is known as the coccyx or the ‘tail bone’ and is composed of 3 to 5 fused vertebrae. The name is suggestive considering the fact that the tail bone represents the vestigial remnants of what was once the tail.

Contrary to popular belief the coccyx is not an immovable piece; rather it does possess some limited movement due to the presence of fibrous joints between the vertebrae. A damaged coccyx can lead to tail bone pain which could be due to the limited movement between the vertebrae. Alternatively it could even force the joint out of position due to some external forces or an injury.


One of the commonest causes of tail bone pain is arguably a damaged coccyx. Conversely when the bones of the coccyx move beyond their acceptable range it invariably presents with severe episodes of tail bone pain which may require pain relieving medicines during the acute phase of this condition. To further elaborate, when external force impacts the vestigial disc or damages the ligaments it results in severe tail bone pain.

One of the lesser known reasons for tail bone pain may not be due to a damaged coccyx; rather it is attributable to the presence of haemorrhoids. Statistics indicate that 80% of all adults in North America andEuropehave experienced haemorrhoid pain at least once in a lifetime. Hence evidently the condition is far more common than one would believe.


Haemorrhoids are simple inflamed or swollen veins present in the anus or the rectal region. The inflammation can occur due to a variety of reasons ranging from pregnancy and old age through to even chronic diarrhoeas and constipation. Haemorrhoids can cause tail bone pain and the scientific perspective being that as the haemorrhoids are located close to the tail bone, when they are inflamed you would experience a severe pain in the region of the coccyx.


Tail bone pain while sitting for a long time is fairly common and if you are experiencing such a pain, it could be due to sitting on hard surfaces. If you have a history of sitting on a hard and narrow surface in the past then in all probability this is the cause for your tail bone pain.


If you have been experiencing tail bone pain due to prolonged sitting then it is best controlled with correction of posture. When sitting it is advisable to maintain an upright position with the neck straight and the back slightly arched. When getting up from a chair bending slightly forwards by arching of the back can help alleviate tail bone pain symptoms. Alternatively you could bend forwards slightly before getting up.

Technology comes to the rescue too considering the fact that ergonomic chairs help maintain proper posture and are now the preferred option for those seeking to alleviate their tail bone pain symptoms effectively. Ergonomic chairs are predominantly customized with a cut out gap in the region where the tail bone would come to rest while sitting. The seat is made of a comfortable foam mattress material which is soft and takes on the contour of the person using the chair hence minimizing the pressure when sitting. There are also seat wedges with the coccyx cut-out, these rotate the hips and coccyx taking some of the weight off the problem area and also has the cut-out to remove the pressure point.

Alternatively many people find the use of kneeling chairs to be effective way of sitting pain-free with a damaged tail bone. The rotation of the hips and pelvis has a dual effect, firstly taking the weight off the problem area, as the user is now sitting down kneeling but also returning the spine to it’s neutral sitting position ensuring even pressure distribution throughout the spine, ensuring good posture.