Coccyx Cushions - how good are they?

Well, some are. Browse Google, Amazon or eBay for 'coccycx comfort cushions' and you will find a bewildering selection. Most cushions are a traditional square shape of uniform height, with U-shapes or V-shapes cut out of the 'back' edge, beneath where your tailbone goes. Some cushions are wedge-shaped, with coccyx cut-outs. There are several rules-of-thumb for cushions such as these:

  1. Cheap cushions are invariably made of poor quality, low-grade foam and won't last long. The U-shape cut out in a cheap cushion will splay and flatten once you sit on it, leaving your tailbone very close to any surface beneath the cushion. To overcome this, look out for seat wedges with a coccyx recess, not a full cut-out. For a good quality example click here and then scroll down the page.

  2. A coccyx recess still provides plenty of 'coccyx room', but it won't splay or lose its shape. It also looks much nicer (far less medical) if you need to take it places.

  3. Square cushions and wedges tend to slip around beneath you every time you shift position. To solve a slip-away problem, it might be a good idea to use a coccyx comfort cushion with a built-on backrest.These are rare, but to see a sample click here.

Portable Back Supports and Coccyx Cushions

Try and picture your coccyx or tailbone as a retractable landing wheel on a big jet airliner. If you sit on a low, soft and deep lounge chair or sofa, all bunched up with your knees higher than your hips or you lean back on an office chair and push your coccyx towards the front edge of the seat cushion instead of towards the back, you will end up pivoting on your coccyx; it will be in the 'down' or landing position, always rocking on the surface of your chair (leather-covered furniture and car seats are probably the worst of all for this). However, if you try to sit more upright, remembering to rotate the top of your pelvis or hips 'forward' (tummy out), your coccyx will feel as if it has retracted upwards into your body; just like the wheels go up inside an aeroplane after take off. Some clear pictures to illustrate good and bad sitting positions can be seen in Postures: the book of the back, by Anne-Lise Gotsche - 2007. ISBN-1409222136.

Back Support and CoccyxSo, in a nutshell, it is usually helpful to encourage your coccyx to 'retract' inside your body by sitting in a position which avoids grinding it onto a seating surface all the time. Most small portable back rests can help you do this. take a look at the picture to the right to see what is meant.

Coccyx with portable back support and seat wedgeBut a combination of seat wedge with a coccyx recess AND a portable backrest can achieve remarkable results, especially in a car and more often than not on an office chair or a dining chair. See what is meant in the picture to the left.

For those with coccydynia who are also at risk of developing pressure sores, there are hi-tech air-cell cushions available with a cut-outs in the coccyx area. See what is meant by clicking here.

Sometimes it helps to approach coccydynia pain in a counter-intuitive way. Perhaps it would be better to sit on a hard surface - if it is the right shape that is.... Have you ever thought of the 'butt bucket' for instance? Let the manufacturers speak for themselves: "The unique design takes advantage of the RelaxoBak patented effect of eliminating pressure from the base of the spine (tailbone) to effectively relieve pressure and discomfort on up your back. Its portable, light-weight construction means you can take your comfort anywhere. Like other great inventions, the RelaxoBak Original Orthopedic Seat may look modest, but as over a million satisfied users also say, 'it simply works'!”

Another way of alleviating pressure at the base of the spine, the coccyx and sacral area is to support everywhere else but the painful or at risk area. Look at how the tailbone area 'floats in space' when you attach a carefully-shaped back support to a superior quality coccyx cushion. See how thighs, lumbar area, the upper pelvis and mid-back are all held snugly in place, while the tailbone area is simply suspended well away from a seating surface and the back of a chair etc.

Dished seating surfaces? Well, your bottom is not flat and your coccyx area is curved, so why on earth do we expect to be comfortable sitting on a flat surface. Medical writer Anne-Lise Gotzche explores this idea in such an intuitive and eloquent way in her book Postures - the book of the back. This book, first published in 1988 is still available from all good booksellers. It is an absolute must-have for back pain sufferers everywhere and it contains many insights which will resonate with coccydynia sufferers too.