Coccyx pillows can minimize tailbone pain while seated. Coccyx symptoms can be severe and might make sitting a true torture or an anatomical impossibility for patients with the worst expressions. There is a wide range of pillows and cushions available to help coccyx pain sufferers. Some are generic in their design, simply providing padding for the region, while others might be specifically engineered to provide a reduction in pressure on the tailbone while seated.
We at The Cure Back Pain Network are usually quite skeptical when it comes to back and neck pain products, since so many items are little more than overpriced scams marketed towards people who will pay anything for a bit of relief. However, when it comes to tailbone pillows, we have certainly softened our stance. This is because these products are generally fairly priced, effective and provide good solutions for many patients, without the risk of drugs, surgery or other risky forms of treatment.
This product guide explores the variety of coccyx cushions that can help patients to better cope with pain that is experienced while sitting.
Coccyx Pillow Indications
Coccyx cushions are padded seating surfaces that help to eliminate pressure on painful tailbones. Most patients who purchase a coccyx cushion have chronic pain in the tailbone region that has defied standard conservative treatment. Additionally, most patients describe their symptoms as mild to moderate, since very severe symptoms often preclude patients from sitting at all, even with the aid of a padded seating surface.
Coccyx pain can be a direct result of traumatic injury. Most patients with severe symptoms cite falling on their tailbone or suffering some other known injury to the region. The occurrence of fracture to the coccyx does not seem to be a factor in most chronic pain conditions, since only about 10% of people with lasting symptomology have suffered a known break to the tailbone vertebrae.
Some patients do not report suffering any known trauma to the tailbone and instead simply developed idiopathic pain gradually or suddenly. Some of these patients have received structural explanations for their pain, usually centered on speculative spinal abnormalities in the lower end of the backbone. Other patients have been told that they simply had unusual coccyx formation due to congenital or developmental factors, as well as the possibility of pain related to childbirth.
At least 50% of all chronic coccyx pain sufferers do not have the benefit of any diagnostic explanation for their continuing agony, limiting their treatment options greatly and leaving them with little hope for finding a cure.
Types of Coccyx Pillows
Coccyx cushions come in 2 main profiles: those that are really just normal pillows, not specifically used for treating coccyx pain, and those that are marketed specifically to tailbone pain victims for symptomatic relief.
General back pain pillows and cushions can be great, especially when they are made from a supportive and soft material, such as memory foam. We find that general-use pillows are often cheaper than cushions that are designed to be used by coccyx pain patients. Some patients prefer shaped pillows that contour to their anatomy, while others stick to ordinary square or round designs.
A few patients have written to us reporting that they made their own custom tailbone pillows either from scratch or simply by altering an existing pillow. These custom modifications can increase or decrease the height of the cushion, cut out a piece of the pillow to decrease pressure on the coccyx, or might demonstrate some other adaptation that works well for the particular patient.
Coccyx pain-specific pillows are marketed as healthcare devices and are usually sold in medical supply stores or higher-end niche retailers. These cushions are often identical in every way to regular cushions, although some have modifications already complete to make them particularly effective for reducing tailbone pain. Many feature holes in the center, supporting the entire buttocks, with the exception of the coccyx region itself. Others are padded asymmetrically, helping to shift the pressure of seated posture to the backs of the thighs, rather than on the tailbone itself. Although the price of specially marketed coccyx cushions is higher than most standard pillows, the cost is still usually reasonable and well within the comfort range of virtually every patient.
Coccyx Cushion Applications and Limitations
Tailbone pillows are only effective for static seated and reclining postures and will not be effective for patients who suffer coccyx symptoms while standing, walking or performing other physical activities. Logically, the only way that a coccyx cushion can be effective is to decrease direct pressure on the tailbone when seated or reclining.
Coccyx pillows might assist acute tailbone injuries in healing, since the area will not suffer recurrent irritation from sitting. However, for cases where there is no known injury, and cases where the pain endures long past the clinical expectation, pillows can only offer symptomatic reduction, at best, since they do nothing to identify or address the underlying causation of pain.
Our research has shown that many chronic coccyx syndromes are of mindbody nature, which explains why no diagnosis is rendered in the majority of patients with symptoms. In these scenarios, the use of any special seating device, or any treatment whatsoever, will only give the psychogenic condition more structural credibility and might therefore actually perpetuate the problem. The best mindbody physicians usually recommend discarding all treatments and devices in such situations, in favor of embracing an alternative back pain therapy option.
In summary, we recommend experimenting with various types of cushions and pillows for coccyx pain relief. Results are generally good and many patients can find a simple solution that greatly improves their seated or reclining comfort, for a few dollars invested.
FYI: Many patients who have been diagnosed with pudendal neuralgia also find coccyx cushions to be very helpful in providing relief.