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.

  • Author: Lesley Logan
  • May 31, 2018
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pilates tailbone pain thegem blog - Online Pilates Classes

‘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!

xx~LL

By Lesley Logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

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8 comments

  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.

    2. Hi

      A week fell and fractured my tailbone (coccyx). I don’t want to stop pilates but am worried about going to class during the healing process. I am worried if I would be able to continue.

      Any advice

      1. eek Timeka I’m so sorry that is painful. I would not do any rolling exercises. You’re supposed to stop before hand but its too easy to roll right on it. So, just keep doing other exercises in between. Don’t even hold the start position. And the healing process will go much faster!
        xx

  2. Hi. I have a tailbone issue. My tailbone isn’t fused to the sacrum like it should be. It floats as it is not attached to anything (I have xrays from a chiropractor that shows this). I have to have a pad when I do work on the reformer on my back. I don’t know if my pad is working anymore. I’ve been trying to find pads that are not too thick because I can’t be in neutral spine. Could you help me?

    1. Hi Karen
      I have this same issue and wondered if you managed to find anything which helps? Thanks

  3. Hi

    A week fell and fractured my tailbone (coccyx). I don’t want to stop pilates but am worried about going to class during the healing process. I am worried if I would be able to continue.

    Any advice

    1. eek Timeka I’m so sorry that is painful. I would not do any rolling exercises. You’re supposed to stop before hand but its too easy to roll right on it. So, just keep doing other exercises in between. Don’t even hold the start position. And the healing process will go much faster!
      xx

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SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

STRONGER THAN YESTERDAY

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

It's tempting to focus so much on what we weren't able to do in our workout that day. But, how often are we considering what new connections we had compared to yesterday or the last time we moved? In this week's workout, we are vibing with Britany and focusing on the strength we have today compared to yesterday. And not letting things get in our way!

This week, remember, if you can't do something yet let's replace it with something that you can do!

Props: No specific props. But, please bring anything that you usually use to find your connections!

See ya in class,
xx~LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

FROGS & CIRCLES & LONG SPINE, OH MY!

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

What do these three things have in common?

They are great examples of how we can change leg position or the action of our legs to either connect us more to our center or challenge our connection!

In this week’s class, we’ll focus on what happens when our legs are in frog position vs long legs vs making circles with our legs. If something isn’t feeling quite right, we can explore how might we change it slightly to be more connected to our bodies.

Props:
Mat - small ball
Reformer - small ball, wedge, pole

See you in class,
Rachel

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, small ball and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, small ball, wedge, pole and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    ANCHORS AWEIGH!

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Anchors Aweigh is often misspelled as Anchors Away! Did you know this? And did you know this - The expression anchors aweigh means all the anchors are clear of the sea bottom, and the ship begins its voyage. So, I actually thought I was being clever when I changed it to Anchors Aweigh because I want to use the 1 lb weights as a prop. Also, I want to use this theme to bring focus and clarity during each exercise about what's not moving vs. what is moving. And really keeping what’s not supposed to move as still and stable as can be. May be harder than you think to do, so let’s have fun with it! Think of it as a game.

    Mat prop: 1 lb weights (water bottles or soup cans as substitutions ) + pole (dowel/broomstick/swiffer as substitutions)
    Reformer prop: 1 lb weights (water bottles or soup cans as substitutions ) + pole (dowel/broomstick/swiffer as substitutions)

    See you in class,

    Christine

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 lb weights, pole and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 lb weights, pole and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    LOOK MA, NO HANDS!

    Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

    We’re going to focus on the muscles that help us get up/down to a chair, toilet, in/out of a car, and to the ground without the use of our hands to help.

    As we age, we can lose strength, flexibility, mobility in these leg and core muscles which results in us using our arms and hands to get up and down.

    Let’s keep these bodies as young as we can by practicing getting up and down with only our legs, our center, and our strong back.

    Reformer: No props needed
    Cadillac/Tower: Reformer box
    Mat: Theraband
    Chair: No props needed

    See ya in class,

    xx-LL 💋

    HANG 10

    ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

    Grip strength as well as upper body strength plays an important role in so many different exercises throughout the mat and all apparatus. Our grip can influence the connection from our wrists - to our arms - to our back. And building strength in our chest and upper back can help us connect more to our center in every exercise.

    All month long we’ll explore the feeling, the strength, and the position of our hands and upper body to see how our exercises change with a little extra focus. We’ll also play with ways to gain more strength and awareness in our chest and upper back to create even more connections to the exercises.

    Props:
    Chair - short pole* and a foam roller for balance
    *A thicker pole or roll down bar size might feel nice, but no worries you’ll find your connections no matter what you have on hand!
    Mat: a pole
    Reformer: No props needed
    Cadillac: No props needed

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

    I LOVE ROCK & ROLL UP

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Finding some love for Roll Up and Open Leg Rocker isn't easy! But, these two exercises unlock the potential for so many other exercises. And what we don't like we often need. So, let's dive into what we need to rock our Roll Ups and Open leg Rockers and see how that changes the rest of our practice in the meantime.

    Mat: Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband
    Reformer: have your shortbox pole near by

    xx~LL

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, short box and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.