The coccyx is your tailbone, which can suffer from a slew of disorders that become aggravated when you exercise. Coccyx disorders range from infections and tumors to bruises, bumps and cysts. The tailbone rarely breaks, but it often takes the brunt of falls, resulting in bruising or torn ligaments attached to the bone.
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If you have coccydynia, or tailbone pain, you may have to refrain from doing exercises that place pressure on your tailbone until it passes. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the cause of coccyx pain is unknown but usually follows a fall or other traumatic stress to the tailbone such as delivering a baby. Exercises such as crunches performed on the floor or a mat can aggravate the symptoms.
While you are recovering from tailbone pain and taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to reduce the swelling, you could do your crunches on a stability ball to ease the pressure. Sitting on a cushion usually is recommended while the pain subsides. Exercises performed standing, such as walking and running or working out on an elliptical trainer typically do not aggravate the pain and can be performed with little or no discomfort.
Coccyx pain sometimes is attributed to a malformation of the way your bones are set resulting in an unstable tailbone. Strengthening the surrounding muscles can help to prevent pain when exercising. Squats and lunges are effective strengthening exercises to perform to build hip abductor, gluteus and thigh muscles to help you stabilize your coccyx so it won't hurt when you exercise. Flexibility is another key to preventing coccyx pain. Stretching exercises such as deep lunges that you hold in position can help decrease the amount of pain you undergo.
Various other exercises can exacerbate the coccyx when you have pain that's caused by a fall or other trauma. Coccyx pain also can be referred pain and result when you have other complications such as strained buttocks muscles, back pain or weakened pelvic floor muscles. Since the coccyx is attached to the pelvic floor, exercises that pull your pelvis forward such as pelvic rotations or the bridge can increase the pressure on the damaged tailbone. If pain persists, you should see a doctor to rule out tumors and refrain from those activities that hurt. Change your exercise routine until you have resolved the coccyx pain to prevent further damage from occurring.