Motorcycle tailbone pain


Posted 2010-08-15

I've checked out this very informative site many times in the past few years, this is my first post about my experience.

My tailbone issues have been going on for about 4 years now. I know exactly the cause of the problem, my beloved (and now former) Harley, which was a full "bagger" or touring bike. At one point, I used to ride my bike 10,000 miles a year and never felt any tailbone pain. Yet, I can now pinpoint when the damage to my tailbone started, the day I swapped out the stock seat (around 2004) and put on a different, off brand seat. The original seat was making my legs go numb, so I went with this other one, which took care of the numb legs, but I didn't realize the design of this new seat was basically putting pressure on my tailbone, along with the bumps of the road.

At one point, my wife and I would ride our bikes 300-400 miles in a day without blinking. Towards the end (about 2 years ago), if I rode more than 50 miles in a day (with many stops in between), I was in tears, the pain was so bad. I did online research, went to an orthopedic surgeon (who injected me with steroids, which didn't work), tried acupuncture (relieved the pain, but once back on bike, the pain would return), then chiropractor (helped, but bike would bring back pain), as well as some different seat solutions (coccyx cushions for bike, etc.). Well, as much as I wanted to ride, being in pain at work all day (I sit at computer all day programming), then even being uncomfortable sitting on couch or chair (unless positioned in the just right position), it wasn't worth it and I sold the bike almost 2 years ago. Slowly, my tailbone pain subsided some, between chiropractor, exercise (dropped weight, got more flexible with yoga, etc.). Then, brilliant me borrowed my buddies Harley after he suggested I take it for a weekend while he worked. My excitement of riding overrode my past pain, plus I was feeling better. Dumb idea, it only took a weekend of riding (maybe a total of 200 miles) to bring back the pain. If you've never rode a motorcycle, you just won't understand what it feels like to ride, so you may wonder why I keep getting back on. Of course, I tried it again one more time a few months later (after feeling a bit better in the tailbone) to see if it was a fluke, but guess what, I'm an idiot, pain came back of course.

Skip ahead to today. I haven't been on a bike in over a year (though my buddy has offered many times and as much as I want to, I've said no). My dream is to ride again, but I want to be pain free. Sitting at work is fine now, as long as I sit up as straight as possible. The recliner at home (oh, putting the legs up in the past hurt like hell) isn't as bad any more, I can put my legs up for a while. The couch (we have one of those big, cushiony couches) isn't bad, as long as I keep a few pillows behind my back to make me sit up. Laying down isn't bad, but after a while, the numbness comes back and I have to lay on my side (same thing with bed too). I believe that the chiropractor was helping, it just got expensive going after a while and I couldn't afford to go as much as needed. The exercise is helping as well, as is being aware of how I sit. Even if I sit in my truck for a long road trip, I get some numbness and need to get up and stretch. Hard chairs or bleachers, yeah, come on, I make sure I'm kind of sitting on my legs and leaning forward, don't even try to mess with those kinds of seats. The floor, I won't even attempt to sit on that unless I'm kind of sitting on one cheek or leaning on hip.

The worst part of this, I miss riding so much. My wife sold her bike as well, she didn't want to ride without me. I actually stopped by a Harley dealer yesterday to look at the bikes, just some wishful dreaming. I spoke to the parts guy about seat options, he gave me some, plus the new seats have a hollowed out area for coccyx. I'm probably living a pipe dream of riding again, but I first need to get 100% healthy, which I'm slowly getting closer to. I'm going to be going back to chiro more in the next few months since I have some extra money in my medical reimbursement account, so hopefully that will get me one step closer to being normal (well, as normal as I can be).

Thanks for listening, it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who has this pain and for some of you, seems much worse than I've had.


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