Does Your Tailbone Hurt?
Sitting on your motorcycle cruiser for long periods of time may become a rather uncomfortable experience. This is especially true when you are sitting upright and putting some weight on to the center of your body, which incidentally, contains the tailbone.
When kept under prolonged pressure by your own weight and posture, it may cause pain and numbness to your bottom. In this article, we will explore ways we can solve the tailbone pain problem, some of which you can immediately try to get some relief.
Common Reasons for a Sore Tailbone
Some repetitive actions caused due to constant riding especially in excess or for long distances, could trigger pain in the tailbone area. You might also develop this pain or sores if you happen to fall from the bike or have been bumped from behind by some heavy object.
Poor riding positions or having the handlebars of your bike too high –all of these factors would not allow the spine and tailbone area to cope up with the bumps and irregularities of the road properly. Rather, it would just result into jamming the vertebrae together while placing immense pressure on the tailbone.
If you have symptoms that happen to be severe or chronic with respect to the tailbone pain or sores, it is recommended to consult a physician or an expert. This is because it could be a signal of something serious such as an infection (sciatica) or even bone fracture.
Discomfort or pain in the tailbone or coccyx region could also occur due to a variety of additional factors. Some of these are:
If the current seat of your bike is not cushioned properly, the chances are that you could easily get a sore or painful tailbone. This is because there is immense discomfort cause by the displacement of the padding into highly sensitive areas of your body’s perineum. This could lead to vascular restriction and nerve compression during a long haul.
The seat of your bike should provide ample cushioning without leading to any displacement. Displacement is quite common in seats featuring heavy padding of the gel seats. In ideal conditions, the seat should have a flat section at its rear end for supporting your sit bones comfortably without pressing up the central perineum.
In addition to the cushioning of the bike’s seat, you should also ensure that you are able to take your legs comfortably in a pedaling position at the widest rear end of the seat. Cushioned bike shorts might be helpful in reducing the overall sit-bone pressure if you feel that the seat is too firm for your back. At the same time, you should also realize that it might take longer to adapt to a new bike seat. This might be due to the aging of the sub-dermal tissues & collagen of the skin. This would distribute the ability of the body to distribute pressure properly.
If there is the presence of some lengthy, centralized depression from the seat’s rear end to the bike’s nose, it will contribute to reducing the overall pressure on the perineal and tailbone areas of the body. You should look for a seat without any holes. This is because such a seat would only increase the overall pressure that surrounds the cut-outs. At the same time, the respective edges of the channel that is depressed should ensure a smooth radius throughout. This helps in avoiding spikes in the overall pressure during the depression.
Most of the advanced bikes for beginners are set up with an ergonomic upright riding position. When you tend to sit upright while riding the bike, the entire weight of the body gets shifted from the handlebars to the seat. This helps in increasing the overall rider-seat interface pressure. The given position also helps in rotating the pelvis posteriorly while making it possible for the tailbone region to receive ample pressure from the seat.
As a beginner, once you start feeling comfortable with the handling skills of your bike, you could try out a more forward riding position. This will help in rotating the pelvis even further while shifting the entire weight off from the tailbone region.
Prior Flexibility Issues or Injury
Similar forward rotatory movement of the pelvis could be achieved by working on your hip flexibility and lumbar spine region. As it is quite difficult to determine the overall posture as well as flexibility as a rider, you can consider going to a physiotherapist to ensure a thorough evaluation of the region.
If you ever had some injury to the given region like lower back injury or a broken tailbone, then these could lead to tissue adhesion. This leads to reduced flexibility while increasing the overall discomfort while riding your bike.
Best Solutions for a Sore or Painful Tailbone
1. Add a seat pad
A seat pad is a supplemental seat cushion that is attached to your stock seat for added comfort and tailbone protection.
What are the benefits of using an additional seat pad?
- Ride in better comfort while bringing relief from impacts on your spine and lower back, and of course the butt area.
- Stop soreness and pain particularly in the tailbone area. Being on your bike for more than a few hours may induce numbness and pain. Having an additional seat pad can prevent this from happening allowing you to enjoy the ride more.
- Eliminates the need to break-in your stock seat.
- Cushions against bumps which will protect your lower back. Especially when you ride in an upright position.
- Fewer stops for rest and stretching of your legs, and more hours of enjoying the scenery.
- A cheap and easy alternative to specialized upgrades
Some great motorcycle seat pads
Skwoosh Classic Saddle Moto Gel Seat Cushion
It has a low profile which is perfect for stock and reduced seats. And it has a cutaway relief in the middle for more tailbone space. The gel is lightweight and provides relief for your seat bones as well.
Alaska Leather Sheepskin Buttpad
Obviously this is not a gel-based seat pad, but a 100% authentic sheepskin made in Alaska. It increases riding comfort by cushioning your rear with its 1-inch sheepskin. It is held by a single elastic strap to release for ease of removal. It is warm in winter and cool in summer. Best of all, it is inexpensive.
Haerniubi Motorcycle Seat Cushion Air Seat Pad
That means pressure that is put on the buttocks and hips when sitting down. It absorbs the pressure created by at least 1/3 of your weight, thereby reducing pressure on your tailbone. This air seat pad has a ventilation feature which makes it incredibly comfortable but not sticky.
XMT Moto Low Profile Pillion Passenger and Rider Seat
This is an example of an aftermarket replacement seat. The XMT Moto is made up of synthetic leather, foam, and plastic. This item is tailor-made for a Harley Touring Road King Ultra. Designed with a little bit of backrest, it is made out of sturdy foam material which is not too hard and not too soft.
These are just some of the few seat pads and aftermarket seat replacements that you will find on Amazon and other online stores. Another option that you can go for is to have a customized seat built for you. Its advantage includes personal and exact specifications that are done to cater to your exact seating needs.
The manufacturers of these types of aftermarket seats would take time to get your height, weight, waist and inseam measurements to make the seat perfectly fit you. It will cost you though. They will also determine the best position for you for more comfort and relief from long rides.
2. Strengthen your glutes and core muscles
This is to strengthen the muscles of your buttocks and gain mass on your sitting bones.
Engage Your Glutes.
Lay down on your back and contract the muscles of your butt which incidentally is your glutes. Hold it for two seconds, and then release them. You can do two sets of ten.
Strengthen Transverse Abs
Transverse abs are located right behind your oblique abdominal muscles. You can Contract or tense your transverse abs while pushing the small of your back to the floor.
Try to press your fingers against the inside of your hip bones, and you’ll be able to feel your Transverse abs push out a little as you contract them. Hold it for ten seconds then release. (don’t forget to breathe). Do 10 repetitions.
You can do these transverse abs exercises at any time of the day with almost any activity you are doing at the moment.
If you can, try to do sit-ups where you pull your legs all the way up to the chest that would be great. It doesn’t only increase the strength of your back muscles, but also it stretches out the lower back. Otherwise, you can do regular sit-ups.
Strengthening your core muscles will help you manage the balancing that your bike requires. However, if you don’t have much mass in the buttocks area these exercises should help alleviate some of the pain and numbness associated with the condition.
3. Stand Up Once in A While
A quick fix that you can do which seems to work with some who are not as challenged with tailbone pain is to
stand on the pegs every once in a while when the numbness or pain kicks in. It relieves your buttocks and at the same time gives you a chance to slightly stretch your legs and arms. Some motorists might stare at you but you really don’t have to mind them as long as you are comfortable.
4. Maintain Balanced Position
Sometimes the distance of the handlebar of your bike from your body and the position of your footpegs can put unnecessary pressure on your tailbone. And it can cause it to be sore and painful.
If you don’t own a motorcycle yet, you can choose a bike that looks more ergonomic, meaning it should by design allow you to lean forward a little bit and reduce the weight on your thighs and feet. Otherwise, you can modify your bike by way of replacing your stock handlebar with “drag bars” and do a custom fit by retrofitting mid pegs. This will allow you to lean forward and alleviate the pressure on your tailbone.
Whatever you do, you would want to avoid sitting up straight. It’s because for every bump and bounce you come across your spine will be on the receiving end. Obviously, if this happens your back will be in pain too.
5. Modify Your Seat to Reduce Tailbone Pressure
Sometimes you might realize that it’s your whole butt that is numb or sore, so you might think you would be better off replacing the seat or putting a seat pad.
If in case it’s a specific tailbone problem, then you can go ahead and just cut out a relief from your seat to accommodate your tailbone. A v-shaped relief right in the middle of the of your stock seat would allow your tailbone just to hang and not press on anything.
First, remove the stock seat from your unit, then remove the cover. Just go ahead straight up cut a v-shaped relief on your foam right from the back of it going to the front part. Reattach the cover then test it.
This approach may seem a little bit gung ho, but if it works you just solved your problem the quickest way possible. And, with very little or no expense at all.
6. Choose Flat Seats Rather than Round Ones
Rounded seats tend to cover limited areas of your butt and often make a pressure point of your tailbone. If choosing a motorcycle seat or modifying your seat, try to replace it with one that has a wider, flatter shape.
This will allow you to have plenty of coverage for your butt. It then distributes the pressure over a larger area and reduces the pain or eliminates it altogether.
7. Avoid Seats That Are Too Soft
Seats that are too soft although they feel appealing at first, can actually work to your disadvantage in the long run.
What happens is the seat can be too soft to support your two sitting bones, in which your tailbone will eventually reach the bottom of the seat pan itself. The result? A painful tailbone. The same problem can occur when sleeping on a mattress that is too soft.
A firm seat will almost always be the ideal solution for motorcycle comfort, especially long distance rides.
8. Try Adding a Thick Yoga Mat to Your Stock Seat Foam
Although we know that memory foam can be very firm and doesn’t deform, you can also try adding 1 or 2 layers of thick yoga mat to the foam.
Some riders have reported no pain on their tailbone after several hours of riding, except for the normal body pain that you experience when you are in one position for an extended period of time.
9. Check the bike tilt
The overall height and tilt of the bike could also be the causes of a sore coccyx after a long haul. If the bike’s seat is pushing the pelvis too backward or forward, then it might lead to a shift in the overall balance while increasing immense pressure on the tailbone area. This could potentially lead to coccyx injury or pain in the long run. Make sure that your bike’s seat is not tilted and remains parallel to the ground.
10. Gain Weight
Though this may not be a very attractive suggestion, gaining weight, especially around the buttocks, will allow you to have more space to absorb the pressure of sitting on your cruiser for an extended period of time. More coverage of your butt means less pressure on your tailbone.
Overall, using these tips will likely help in alleviating your tailbone pain and butt pain as well. If your situation does not approve, it’s best to seek advice from a qualified medical professional.