Tailbone Pain and Bike Riding

Bicycling-related tailbone pain can be more than just irritating; it can prevent you from continuing your bike routine and even dissuade you from future cycling. It can be caused by a variety of riding errors and environmental conditions. Because it can sometimes signal serious injury, it is important to understand how tailbone pain can occur during or after bike riding and how it can be treated.

Symptoms

Tailbone pain can vary from mild to severe. It can worsen when pressure is placed on the tailbone, such as when sitting while riding a bike. It can also be exacerbated when you return to a standing position after riding your bike or while going over road irregularities. You can experience pain as a deep ache in the tailbone area. Besides during bicycling, you may also notice tailbone pain while having a bowel movement or during sexual intercourse.

Causes

The repetitive actions of bike riding, especially if it is excessive or for long distances, can trigger tailbone pain. You can also develop pain if you fall off your bike or are bumped from behind by another object. Poor cycling posture or having your bicycle handlebars too high does not allow your tailbone and spine to properly cope with irregularities and bumps in the road -- instead it will just jam your vertebrae together and place pressure on the tailbone. Seek medical attention if symptoms are chronic or severe as tailbone pain can be a symptom of a more serious condition such as an infection, sciatica or a fractured bone.

Treatments

Taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as naproxen or ibuprofen can help ease tailbone pain and inflammation. Take a break from bike riding for about 48 hours or until symptoms cease. A cushioned seat will remove pressure from your tailbone while you are sitting. You can also massage and stretch the muscles and ligaments that surround your tailbone to help relieve pain and strengthen the muscles. Severe tailbone pain may require surgical intervention.

Tips

Place a well-padded seat on your bike to help ease pressure and provide extra cushionng. Be sure to ride with your back arched like a bridge rather than dropped between your neck and hips. This will allow your back to flex a bit when you go over a bump or road irregularity instead of bowing farther in the forward direction. Find a different form of exercise such as swimming if you are prone to tailbone pain or experience it often while biking.

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