Pain in the...
March 1, 2013 8:13 PM   Subscribe

I recently lost a significant amount of weight, and am smaller than I've been in about 20 years. As a result, of what I assume is a combination of weight loss and aging, I have little padding on my butt. As a result, my sacrum and tail bone hurt whenever I sit on anything somewhat hard for any length of time - like - 10 minutes!

And when I say 'hard', I include things like, padded folding chairs, or even a couch with a thinnish couch cushion.


1) Is this a common thing among smaller people? Or older people?
2) What do people do about this? Is there some sort of product I should buy or use? Strategies for sitting through meetings and other seated events, and for lying in the bathtub without getting a but ache?

Asking anon because I don't really feel comfortable talking about my body in detail here!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't say what to do about it but I have a very skinny friend who has complained of the same issue and have heard of others like him, so I think it may be a common issue. You are not alone! :)
posted by dottiechang at 8:17 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yup. That's pretty common. I have to adjust myself in my chair a lot throughout the day and get up to walk around often to help alleviate the pain. Having good posture, like sitting up straight and leaning forward a little to take the weight off my tailbone, seem to help.
posted by E3 at 8:26 PM on March 1, 2013

I'm quite thin and I just fidgeted around in my chair a bit trying to figure out what you meant, lol.

I actually can't quite figure out how your sacrum & tailbone are TOUCHING the surface you are sitting on. When I sit, I am sitting on ... gosh, my total lack of anatomy knowledge is showing... those two bones that come down from your hip bones? heh. Basically, the back of my legs, where your butt meets your legs. Sometimes I slouch back slightly (bad posture) and am sitting on my butt itself. But to sit on my actual tainbone/sacrum I have to lean waaaaaaaaaaay back and slouch to a ridiculous point so my body is a complete c-shape.

Now, I'm sure there are variations in individual body measurements, but this is a long way of saying... maybe it's your posture?

For the lying in the bath part, though, I can't help ya. I have the same problem.
posted by celtalitha at 8:27 PM on March 1, 2013

Skinny butt here. Yeah, this is going to happen to you now. By the end of a normal-length movie in a comfortable movie theater chair, there is nothing I want more than to stand up. Fidgeting helps. The more cushion, the better. Sometimes I find that crossing my legs in different ways helps, too.

Welcome to the club!

(For those saying you don't understand how we're sitting on our tailbones... some people's tailbones are angled out more, I guess? Because this is true for me. Though if I sit straight up it's less of a problem, the other bones still end up hurting after a while, too.)
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:34 PM on March 1, 2013

Oh but (heh) lying in the bath tub, I just bend my knees and flatten my back and all's well. Or if your tub is wide enough, you can still cross-legged and rest on your glutes.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:36 PM on March 1, 2013

I have no solutions for you, but having lost a lot of weight myself, I literally feel your bony butt pain. Who knew I was spoiled by all that padding before? You may want to try building up the muscles in that area as I imagine that pads similarly to fat. That's what I'm trying, anyway.
posted by cecic at 8:38 PM on March 1, 2013

"Mr Hill... you have no ass."

Your choices: prosthetic silicone buttcheeks (like in the show; downside, they burst), get fat again, or strengthen your glutes. The last option is obviously the soundest solution: gluteal strength deficiency correlates with all kinds of chronic back, hip and hamstring injuries, as your hip mobility is impaired and you must use your lumbar erectors to do the work your ass has opted out of.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 8:41 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm skinny and have an especially bony (and crooked) tailbone. This bugs me with some frequency. I combat it by sitting up straight (on my "sit bones," as they always say in yoga class) rather than rolling back on my sacrum, which also means pulling in my stomach. I also use extra cushions when possible (including taking a portable cushion with me to things like outdoor concerts where it's bench seating). I rarely take baths, in part because of this problem, but when I do I sit on a couple of folded towels to keep my tailbone from hitting the bottom of the tub.
posted by scody at 9:09 PM on March 1, 2013

yeah, I want to say that a few yoga classes or just learning about your "sit bones" can help you with this.
posted by sweetkid at 9:17 PM on March 1, 2013

I get this too. I also watch late night TV. I have not pulled the trigger yet, but they are pushing this.

Yes, it is the Forever Comfy Padded Cushion. Buy one and get the 2nd one for just shipping and handling charges. If you weren't anon, I would suggest we go in halvsies, one each.

Here is the YouTube video for the product. Worth watching even if your butt don't hurt!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:56 PM on March 1, 2013

You can buy little inflatable "sit pads" at REI that fold up super small. Thermarest makes one, so do several other sleeping pad manufacturers

A lot of my bike racing friends carry them everywhere. They have permanently bruised butts I think.
posted by fshgrl at 10:23 PM on March 1, 2013

Skinny-butt-haver, here. Use a cushion, but don't sit so that your tailbone is making contact with it. To do this, place the cushion so that the pillow or cushion is not completely under you at the back. Your tailbone-area should "hang" off it - the cushion or pillow being only under 3/4 of your butt. Not sure how to describe it very well. But, as long as your tailbone is making contact with your sitting surface, no matter how cushy that surface is, you'll have pain.
posted by infodiva at 10:57 PM on March 1, 2013

When I broke my tailbone years ago I had a little donut shaped cushion that I carried around and sat on. You could probably sew one yourself, even.

In the bathtub, I spend no more than about 5 minutes in each position (lying back, sitting up, cross-legged sideways, leaning over the side stroking the cat, who likes to supervise, etc). Then you can repeat the series of positions. I'm pretty sure you can buy little waterproof bath cushions too, with suckers that attach to the tub.
posted by lollusc at 11:07 PM on March 1, 2013

I lost a lot of weight several years ago and had this same issue. Also, adjusting my bones while laying in bed, that was very difficult. It's hard to be used to lots of padding and then be without it. But good for you!! You'll adjust to the feeling..... It's worth it.
posted by pearlybob at 11:31 PM on March 1, 2013

I've been skinny all my life and since turning 30 I have that problem! I thought I was the only one!
It happens less when I go to the gym twice a week and build up my glutes.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:50 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty thin and don't really have this problem. But I walk a lot and climb a lot of stairs. So seconding the suggestion that you may need to get some muscle padding! If that's a term...
posted by bquarters at 12:11 AM on March 2, 2013

I'm skinny, but have never experienced this, but I also have a strong back and core, so maybe my torso is better supported and yours is applying more downward force?

I'll suggest yoga or pilates as a possible help too. Couldn't hurt to try.

Congrats on the weight loss.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:02 AM on March 2, 2013

The cushion linked to by JohnnyGunn reminded me of issues my quadraplegic grandfather had. In addition to losing fat and muscle mass because he couldn't exercise, he also couldn't feel his seat, so had to use various cushions etc. and be moved at regular periods so he didn't develop sores.

There are all sorts of types of foam, and indeed, special seat cushions made for those purposes. Maybe you could try looking at those? I just tried searching for "wheelchair cushion" and saw a bunch of "therapeutic seat cushion" options come up.
posted by fraula at 3:06 AM on March 2, 2013

Yes to became skinny, noticed lack of padding (although for me it is more along my spine when laying down or on my shins and knees when kneeling).

You could wear padded shorts like cyclists wear, underneath your normal clothing.
posted by anaelith at 3:26 AM on March 2, 2013

I use one these exercise discs. I actually bought it for my son; it was recommended as a "fidget seat."
posted by biddeford at 5:44 AM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Heh. The whole time I was growing up, my mother would (lovingly) grumble at me about how damn pointy I was. In particular, when I was sitting on her lap. And I don't think I've ever worn through a pair of jeans at the knee, but I've tossed many a pair because I'd worn a hole under my Sitz bones.

The most effective way of dealing with it that I've found is to tone and build the glutes. And the most effective way of doing so is kettlebell swings. Five minutes a day every day (or, y'know, five out of seven) and even those of us who inherited White Girl Butt genes from both sides of the family can wind up looking callipygous.
posted by Lexica at 5:03 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

The best solution I've found to this is to sit cross-legged on a chair, if the chair and situation allow. I actually try to avoid chairs with arms for this reason whenever given the choice.
posted by zeri at 12:46 PM on March 3, 2013

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