Travel for coccyx pain sufferers

Driving a car

Coccyx pain sufferers often find driving particularly painful. Car seats force you to lean back, with your knees higher than your bottom, so that all of your weight is put around your coccyx. Then there are bumps, corners, and the fact that you have to push with your legs to drive. So your coccyx is under pressure, hammered from below, and pulled around.

If you have to drive, try a coccyx cushion. The type that is wedge shaped will help to make the seat more level. If using a cushion raises you too high up, or puts the curve of the back of the seat in an uncomfortable position, you could modify the seat.

Try tilting the back of the seat as far forward as it will go. It's a strange position to drive in, but it takes pressure off the back of the coccyx and helps some people. Alternatively, you can make a foam cushion to cover the back of the seat, but which ends about 15 cm (6 inches) above the bottom of the seat. Again, this takes the pressure off the back of your bottom.

Many cars make you lean back, often with your feet nearly as high as your bottom. A car with upright seats is much more comfortable. Try sitting in different cars to find out what works for you. A car with automatic transmission is easier for most sufferers.

Being driven

If possible, avoid driving - get someone else to drive instead, join a car pool, use taxis (lie down in the back), buses or trains, walk, move closer to the shops. If someone else is driving you, lie down on the back seat, or wind the front passenger seat nearly flat. It doesn't have to go completely flat before it takes the pressure off the coccyx. In this position the seat belt won't be much good, so make sure you have a safe driver.

Some people have gone so far as to get a van modified with a bed in the back. Sheer luxury! See Angie Gray's travel tips.

Anonymous writes: My over-90 mother has a 'disintegrating coccyx'. Driving her even for 10 minutes caused her pain. We experimented with a variety of cushions and changed the angle of the seat back. What seemed to give us progress was when I slid my hand behind her back to find out where there were gaps between the seat back and mother's back, and we just filled them up. We ended up with the seat back slightly reclined, plus three totally unmatched cushions side by side up the seat back, that supported her back all the way up, plus her head. Yes, it took a couple of minutes to get her installed. This worked very well, she could relax fully: a great deal of the weight of her upper body was supported by the seat back, and her head was supported: none of the muscles in her back needed to be tense.

Air travel

Travelling by air, if you can afford first class then you will be able to lie down. If not, then take any opportunity to stand. I go to the toilet as soon as the aisle is free, and stand outside it for half an hour. For air travel, here is Linsey's travel tip: When you have to take an airplane trip, lean all the way over during ascent. This keeps the coccyx from being compressed from the pressure of rising. When the pilot announces that the plane has reached it's cruising altitude, sit up and notice how much better that feels!

Train travel

It's easy to stand on trains, if your feet don't hurt too much. If you are going to sit, get a seat with a table and lean across the table.

Before I had my operation to remove my coccyx, I used to kneel on the seats of trains, if they weren't too crowded. I used to find a seat where I could kneel up, leaning my front against the back of the seat, and look over the top of the seat, resting my arms on the top. I didn't do it if there's someone in the seat behind, because it would be rude to hang over them.

Motorcycles

Most motorcycles make you lean forward, which may be enough for some people to travel in comfort. But many people will still get pressure on the tailbone. There is a website, diymotorcycleseat.com, describing how you can modify a motorbike seat to your own requirements to make it comfortable.


Written by Jon Miles

Updated 2019-07-28

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