Clamshell and leg exercises got rid of the pain

Anonymous, USA

Posted 2019-09-22

I am a 28 year old, healthy and fit male living in the US. I had tailbone pain for over 3 years and thought I would have to live with it for the rest of my life. I read so many articles on this website for help and saw several doctors with no luck. Finally, I was able to COMPLETELY get rid of my tailbone pain with just a few steps.

My tailbone pain started as a very light, numb pain in my tailbone area. This worsened over time to a point where I could not sit on hard benches and had pain every time I stood up from a sitting position. Sitting for long periods of time was extremely uncomfortable, and this was especially difficult for me since I worked as a computer programmer, sitting for 10+ hours a day. I bought one of those cushions for the tailbone, and although they provided a little relief, the pain continued to worsen. I saw Orthopedic doctors, took X-Rays, MRI scans, stretching etc. with no luck

After reading several articles on this website, many people mentioned squats and similar exercises helped. I tried doing squats and deadlifts and did see a big improvement, however it did not get rid of the pain completely and often came back.

I finally went to a Physical therapist and he seemed to understand the pain. He laid me on my side and asked me to raise my legs sideways and noticed that I was not activating my glutes at all. This is a very common problem for a lot of people who sit a lot - and over time our body learns to not activate those muscles.

The PT had me do:

1) Clamshell exercise (laying on the side, leg bent, and raising your knee to the side). You can google how to do this exercise.

2) Side leg kicks / side leg raises. Try this: Stand up, raise one leg (like you are doing high knees) and then kick to your side. While kicking, focus on the leg that is planted on the floor - with your hands, feel your side glutes of the leg you're standing on while kicking and make sure its tight and activated and keeping you in balance and straight - this is very tiring after kicking a few times if you're doing it right. You can also do side leg raises instead of kicks as a variation.

2) Stretch hamstrings by laying on my back - using a towel to tug the bottom of my feet and pulling leg up (1 leg at a time)

Doing these exercises, the MOST IMPORTANT thing to focus on is to activate the 'side' portion of your butt. When doing these exercises, it helps to firmly place your hand on the side portion of your butt and make sure its being activated throughout the entire movement. After doing this exercise the first day, you will most likely feel sore and feel those muscles, and it will be easier to make a mind-muscle connection when doing these exercises. Do 3-4 sets, 10-12 repetitions each set. Doing this for a few days helped me so much.

In combination with this exercise, I also did the following which I think is what completely helped me get rid of the pain

1) Deep breathing and relaxation - lay on your back before going to sleep, take 3-4 DEEP breaths (5 second slow inhale) and slowly exhale (5 seconds). On every exhale, try your best to relax your anus. After the initial deep breaths, try to keep taking slow, calm breaths, (breathe into your stomach - not chest), and on every exhale, try to relax your anus more and more (try to feel it loosen and relax).

Over time, due to stress or muscle imbalances, your muscles deep within the hip tightens and never relaxes. Doing this made me realize how much I was able to relax those muscles - proving to me that they were extremely tight to begin with.

The combination of the exercises and deep breathing every day for 1 week completely removed my tailbone pain and it has not been back - its been 2+ years pain free. Be cognizant of activating your (side) glutes and relax your muscles and I guarantee your pain will go away if you are having similar muscle imbalance issues as me. Also try to look up hip stretching exercises and do those in between.

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