Pilates: Tailbone Pain

‘ll never forget the time I bruised my tailbone about 10 years ago. Holy moly, did everything hurt? Not just Pilates! Sitting, getting into my car, rolling over in bed. It was absolutely the worst injury I have ever had and that includes fracturing my tibial plateau. So, when I first began teaching and I had a student complain that many exercises caused her tailbone area discomfort I went on a mission to figure out how to help.

Let me just say that are skeletons while very similar are also very different. And, there is a chance that no matter what I say below your tailbone still may hate when you do Pilates. But, I can say from experience that some of my clients who at the beginning of working with me felt they could never do any of the rolling or seated postures are now doing almost all of them!

So, first why does your tailbone hurt during Pilates?

Honestly, could be a few reasons and maybe, even more, I simply do not know. You may have a bruised tailbone or if in the past you broke your tailbone it may be more sensitive or it may have healed in a way that does not allow for pressure to be on it. It is also possible that your coccyx aka your tailbone is slightly longer than others. Yep, that can happen. It’s a fused part of the spine but some have been known to go in directions that makes doing certain Pilates exercises impossible. There is also a nerve there that may not be in a place that appreciates pressure. At any rate, if your tailbone is bothering you during Pilates please let your teacher know! If you’re taking my online classes and it’s causing you issues then connect with me here. We can do a skype session to really break things down and see how we can make Pilates and your coccyx live in harmony.

Second, double check you are doing the exercise correctly. I have found that many students who complain of the pain in rolling like a ball, teaser, roll up and open leg rocker are coming up and perching on their tailbone. For those who have no pain, this is not an issue (although it does mean they learn a bad habit in the exercise). But, for those who are nursing their tailbone during Pilates precision is key for avoiding pain near your tush!

So, how do you know if you’re doing your Pilates with precision? Is Pilates no -pain- no -gain? I have found that when you really connect to your seat and you remove momentum from your workout the majority of tailbone pain is eliminated. If you are wondering how you can find precision without messing with your Pilates flow contact me here or on Instagram. Also, every week in my online Pilates mat classes I talk about precision in one or more exercises.

Lastly, in the beginning, you may find that group classes are not the right set up for you and your coccyx. That doesn’t mean you can never do classes. It just means, finding a teacher who can help you find the appropriate modifications so you and your tush can enjoy a Pilates practice is key!


Looking for a private online Pilates session?

2 Replies to “Pilates: Tailbone Pain”

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for posting this, I’m trying to search tailbone and Pilates and can’t get enough results on google. About 5 years ago I went to the chiropractor to do adjustments after X-ray show few slept discs.. I had no pain, dr suggest the stretch bed so bones will go back to place. I agree After maybe 4 sessions I got the tailbone pain it was so painful I couldn’t sleep on my side for a while… today the pain still there but come and go… but I noticed that often after Pilates the pain come back 🙁 as I heard Pilates help to heal, are they exercises that would help with healing or is there any hope for healing tailbone injuries with Pilates? I think that pain is stronger when doing the swan. I’m thinking to purchase a reformer and do Pilates daily but concern that I will not see results and/or the pain will be worse.

    1. Hi Rose, hmm very interesting question. And, the fact that you say that your tailbone hurts more during swan is also intriguing. That shouldn’t affect your tailbone at all. however, there are nerves that end down there. And, I would say that during “extension” exercises like Swan you feel like you are “tucking” your tailbone more and lift your chest less. Make sure your legs are down. This will give your lower back and the nerves in it more space. For exercises that have you rolling up to sitting or beyond make sure that you are not resting on your tailbone but rather are balancing behind it.

      For more help I would have to see you move and can do an online session i fyou don’t live near LA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.