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How To Sleep With Tailbone Pain - Tips from a Healthcare Provider

Woman trying out methods on how to sleep with tailbone pain

Dealing with tailbone pain, also known as coccydynia, can be a challenging and uncomfortable experience, especially when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. As a healthcare provider, I understand the importance of proper rest for the body's healing process. In this article, I will share valuable insights and tips on how to sleep comfortably with tailbone pain to help you wake up feeling more refreshed and in less pain.

Osteopathic Manipulation Techniques for Tailbone Pain and Sleep Solutions

The coccyx, a small triangular bone at the base of the spine, can be a source of considerable pain and discomfort. Tailbone pain, or coccydynia, can disrupt one's daily life and, most notably, impact sleep. Osteopathic medicine, with its holistic approach to healing, provides a range of manipulation techniques that not only alleviate coccyx pain but also offer solutions for better sleep quality.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore osteopathic manipulation techniques (OMT) and how they can be effectively integrated with sleep strategies to help individuals suffering from tailbone pain.

Osteopathic Medicine and OMT

Osteopathic medicine, also known as osteopathy, is a branch of healthcare that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the body's structure and function. Osteopathic physicians, or DOs, undergo medical training similar to allopathic physicians (MDs) but with additional training in OMT. These hands-on techniques are employed to diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide range of medical conditions, including musculoskeletal issues such as tailbone pain. 

OMT: A Holistic Approach to Tailbone Pain

Tailbone pain can result from various factors, including trauma, childbirth, prolonged sitting, or even idiopathic reasons. OMT offers a valuable approach to addressing coccyx pain because it aims to improve the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system, which includes the spine, pelvis, and the area surrounding the coccyx. Here, we delve into OMT techniques that can help alleviate tailbone pain and integrate sleeping strategies for better rest.

OMT Techniques for Coccyx Pain:

  •  Myofascial Release: Osteopathic physicians use myofascial release techniques to address muscle tension and fascial restrictions in the lower back and tailbone area. By reducing tension, this technique not only relieves pain but can also improve sleep quality by reducing discomfort during the night.
  • Counterstrain: This technique involves the identification of tender points and painful areas around the tailbone. Osteopathic physicians gently reposition the patient to relieve tension and discomfort, offering immediate relief and facilitating more comfortable sleep.
  •  Muscle Energy: Muscle energy techniques engage the patient in active muscle contractions against resistance. This approach can help correct muscular imbalances in the pelvis and spine, reducing the pain that might disturb sleep.
  • Articulatory Techniques: By manually manipulating joints in the pelvis and spine, articulatory techniques improve joint mobility and alignment. This not only relieves coccyx pain but also enhances overall comfort, making it easier to sleep.
  • Balanced Ligamentous Tension: This technique focuses on balancing the tension in ligaments surrounding the coccyx and pelvis. Reducing strain on the tailbone and achieving better pelvic stability contributes to more comfortable sleep.
  • Visceral Manipulation: In some cases, coccyx pain may be related to visceral issues, where organs in the abdominal and pelvic cavities refer pain to the coccyx. Addressing these underlying issues can lead to improved sleep quality and overall well-being.
  • Cranial Osteopathy: Sometimes, tailbone pain is connected to imbalances in the cranial and sacral areas. Cranial osteopathy techniques, which involve gentle manipulation of the skull and sacrum, can help restore balance, potentially leading to less discomfort and better sleep.

Enhancing Sleep Quality with OMT:

Coccyx pain can severely disrupt sleep, and OMT can play a crucial role in promoting better sleep quality for those suffering from this condition. Here are some ways in which OMT can be integrated with sleep strategies:

Stress Reduction:  OMT sessions are often relaxing and can help reduce stress and anxiety, which are common factors affecting sleep. A calm and relaxed state of mind is conducive to better sleep.

Pain Relief:  By alleviating tailbone pain, OMT directly addresses one of the primary obstacles to restful sleep. A reduction in pain can lead to improved sleep duration and quality.

Improved Mobility:  OMT can enhance mobility in the spine and pelvis, making it easier to find comfortable sleep positions. A more comfortable sleep posture can reduce nighttime discomfort.

Alignment and Posture:   OMT can improve spinal and pelvic alignment, addressing issues related to sleep posture. Correct alignment can reduce the strain on the tailbone during sleep.

Preventive Care: OMT doesn't just offer immediate relief but also contributes to long-term musculoskeletal health. By addressing contributing factors to coccyx pain, it can prevent recurring issues that disrupt sleep.

In addition to OMT, incorporating sleep hygiene practices can further enhance sleep quality when dealing with coccyx pain:

Osteopathic manipulation techniques offer a holistic approach to addressing tailbone pain, enhancing mobility, and promoting better sleep quality. By combining OMT with sleep strategies, individuals can experience significant relief from coccyx pain and enjoy more restful and comfortable nights. To explore the benefits of OMT for tailbone pain and sleep solutions, consult with a qualified osteopathic physician who can evaluate your condition, create a personalized treatment plan, and guide you on the path to better sleep and pain-free living.

Sleeping Comfortably With Tailbone Pain

Sleeping Comfortably with Tailbone Pain:  Sleep Hygiene

1. Choose the Right Sleeping Position: 

Finding the right sleeping position is essential when dealing with tailbone pain. Side sleeping is often recommended, as it helps maintain proper spinal alignment and reduces the pressure on the tailbone. Placing a pillow between your knees can provide extra support and comfort. Another option is the fetal position, where you curl up on your side with your knees drawn toward your chest. This position minimizes pressure on the tailbone and can help you find relief. If side sleeping is uncomfortable, you can try lying on your back with a pillow under your knees. This slight elevation can also reduce tailbone pressure and promote a more comfortable night's rest.

Side Sleeping:   Lie on your side with a pillow between your knees. This helps keep your spine aligned and reduces pressure on the tailbone.

Fetal Position:  Curl up in a fetal position with a pillow between your knees. This can relieve pressure on your tailbone and reduce discomfort.

Back Sleeping:   If side sleeping is uncomfortable, try lying on your back with a pillow under your knees. This can help alleviate tailbone pressure.

2. Use a Tailbone Pillow:

Tailbone pillows, also known as coccyx cushions, are specifically designed to alleviate tailbone discomfort. These cushions have a cut-out or contour that reduces direct pressure on the coccyx. You can place one of these pillows on your mattress or use it in conjunction with your regular pillow for added comfort. They are portable, so you can also carry them to use in other seating areas like chairs or your office. Many people find that using a coccyx cushion significantly reduces their pain and discomfort during sleep and other daily activities

3. Supportive Mattress:

A supportive mattress plays a vital role in managing tailbone pain during sleep. Look for a mattress that offers a good balance between support and cushioning. Memory foam mattresses, for instance, can contour to your body's shape, providing relief for the tailbone. Ensure your mattress is neither too soft nor too firm; it should keep your spine aligned while reducing pressure on the coccyx. It's worth visiting a mattress store to try different options and consult with a knowledgeable salesperson to find the most suitable mattress for your specific needs. Keep in mind that investing in a quality mattress can significantly improve your sleep quality and overall well-being when dealing with tailbone pain.

4. Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene:

Maintaining good sleep hygiene is important for everyone, but it's especially crucial when dealing with pain. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure your sleep environment is conducive to rest.

Maintaining good sleep hygiene is essential for everyone, but it becomes particularly crucial when you're dealing with tailbone pain. Consistency is key; try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. 

5. Pain Management Before Bed: REM Sleep and Delta Wave Sleep

When pain medications and or topical CBD cream is necessary to alleviate coccydynia, it is best to utilize the treatments 20-30 minutes prior to the time one would like to fall asleep.  This allows time to reach the onset of the medication, thus allowing the brain and body to fall into high quality REM sleep much quicker.   In other words, when pain is alleviated in the body, the brain is more likely to fall into a Delta Wave brain pattern and/or REM sleep much quicker than if the pain were to persist.  

REM sleep and delta wave brain activity are both important for pain alleviation. REM sleep is a stage of sleep during which rapid eye movements occur. It is thought to play a role in memory consolidation, emotional processing, and pain relief. Delta waves are a type of slow, high-amplitude brain waves that are associated with deep sleep. They are thought to play a role in physical restoration and tissue repair.

When pain is alleviated, people tend to have more REM sleep and delta wave sleep. For example, one study found that people with chronic pain who received treatment reported less pain and had more REM sleep and delta wave sleep after treatment. Another study found that people with low back pain who received acupuncture reported less pain and had more REM sleep and delta wave sleep after acupuncture.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it is time to wind down. This routine might include activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing gentle stretches. Ensure your sleep environment is conducive to rest; keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.

The exact mechanisms by which REM sleep and delta wave brain activity alleviate pain are not fully understood. However, it is thought that REM sleep may help to reduce pain by processing and integrating emotional memories associated with pain. Delta wave sleep may help to reduce pain by promoting physical restoration and tissue repair.

6. Gentle Stretching and Mobility Exercises:

Engaging in gentle stretching and mobility exercises during the day can relieve tension and reduce tailbone pain. 

It is beneficial to those with injury to consult with a physical therapist for personalized exercises that can address your specific condition. These exercises can help improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles around your tailbone, promoting better overall comfort and sleep quality.

7. Heat or Ice Therapy:

Heat or ice therapy can be effective in managing tailbone pain. Applying a heating pad or ice pack to the affected area for short intervals before bedtime can help ease discomfort. Heat can relax tense muscles, while cold therapy can reduce inflammation. Experiment with both to determine which provides the most relief for you and incorporate it into your pre-sleep routine.

8. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques:

Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques can be valuable in managing pain and stress associated with tailbone discomfort. 

Incorporate deep breathing exercises, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation into your bedtime routine. These techniques can help you release tension and anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep comfortably.

9. Consult a Healthcare Provider:

If your tailbone pain persists or is severe, it is crucial to consult a healthcare provider. They can offer personalized advice, recommend treatments, and identify any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your discomfort.    An osteopath, chiropractor, or provider who specializes in tailbones can provide adjustment, stretching, and fascial manipulation to alleviate pain. 

Whether it is physical therapy, prescription medications, or other interventions, your healthcare provider will guide you towards the most appropriate approach to manage your tailbone pain effectively.

10. Stay Positive and Patient:

Dealing with persistent tailbone pain can be a trying experience, but it is vital to stay positive and patient throughout the process. Healing takes time, and maintaining a hopeful outlook can actually aid in recovery. 

Remember that as you implement these strategies, you will likely see gradual improvements in your sleep quality and overall well-being. Be kind to yourself and trust that, with time and the right care, you can find relief from tailbone pain and achieve better, more restful sleep.


Sleeping with tailbone pain can be a challenge, but with the right strategies and support, you can improve your sleep quality and overall well-being. It is just as vital to remember that tailbone pain is a treatable diagnosis either through an osteopath, chiropractor, and providers who specializes in tailbone adjustment, stretching, and manipulation.  As a healthcare provider, I encourage you to prioritize your comfort and consult with a medical professional to ensure you are taking the most appropriate steps to manage your tailbone pain. By following these tips, you can look forward to more restful nights and a better quality of life.


Now that you've read about how to sleep with tailbone pain, check out our pages on How to Sleep With Piriformis Syndrome and the Best Sleeping Position for IT Band Pain.

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