Why has my weight started resting on my coccyx?
February 18, 2008 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Something has negatively affected my ability to sit comfortably for long periods of time, and I'm not sure what. Slightly embarrassing description within.

Male, 34, desk job. In the past year I've gone from around 200 pounds to around 185 pounds, hopefully with more to go. This has been accomplished with about a half hour of elliptical work 4-6 days a week and some work with various weight machines (mostly a three way machine that allows you to do stuff from lat pulldowns to leg lifts to bench presses).

In the last few months I've noticed a problem: my butt and thighs don't seem to provide as much support as they used to. My weight ends up resting on my coccyx and taint. After a long day of sitting I often feel pretty sore in these areas; It doesn't help that constant conscious and unconscious shifting cause my pants and underwear to ride up and get nice and tight. It doesn't feel like my butt is smaller exactly (and it doesn't look smaller). Rather it sort of feels like my buttocks are almost deflating and spreading out more than they used to. On the weekend when I have more freedom to lie down or sit in different positions I feel better.

I don't think this is just middle aged spread, but what the heck is it? Could something be wrong with my hips and/or pelvis? Is there some exercise that done incorrectly is known to cause something like this? Ever happen to you? I'm planning to get to the doctor, but I was just wondering what the heck this is.
posted by Lentrohamsanin to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Posture. You shouldn't be sitting on your tailbone or taint, your weight should be on your seatbones (the bones in your butt cheeks) mostly.

You might try one of those inflatable balls, which improves posture or a chair with a wider, flatter seat. A session with someon trained in posture, like an occupational therapist or Pilates class would teach you how to identify if you're sitting correctly. Probably you'll get some core body workouts to do.
posted by fshgrl at 11:36 AM on February 18, 2008

Is there some exercise that done incorrectly...

Using machines alone is inherently incorrect. If you consider switching to free weight exercise, with an all-inclusive regimen, you may alleviate any kind of posture issues you're having.

For instance, you're doing leg lifts (leg extensions?) on your three-way machine but you're not doing any free weight squatting for your posterior chain.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 11:44 AM on February 18, 2008

Hey, congrats on the weight loss! I think posture is a really good point here. Just about nobody, myself included, sits upright when they sit. We usually hunch over or slump. Try sitting on a bench or seat with no back, where you have to hold yourself upright, and see if it makes a difference. You may need to use your abdominal muscles more now that you are getting rid of some excess weight and so don't have as much padding as before. ; )
posted by misha at 12:08 PM on February 18, 2008

A fat ass is good for sitting on. Your ass isn't as fat as it was, and so your body is having to adjust. Yoga is great for posture and core strength, and will probably help.
posted by happyturtle at 12:43 PM on February 18, 2008

If you can hunt one down, find one of those odd office chairs that they often call kneeling chairs. It really takes the pressure off your bum. I find them surprisingly comfy. I think the downside is they aren't as easy to get in and out of but it sounds like, once you sit down, you are there for a while. Also, maybe try building up the muscles in your bum, like crunch buttsteak said.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:51 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

As someone who is going through physical therapy for a dislocated coccyx I can tell you that absolutely there are things that can be done to help (in spite of what my M.D. told me). If you can find a therapist with experience with tailbones he/she will be able to give you exercises that will give you a lot of relief.
posted by trinity8-director at 1:00 PM on February 18, 2008

I've lost 65 pounds. At about the 20 pound mark, I remember experiencing something very similar to what you describe. I just felt like my butt had suddenly become incredibly bony, which was funny, because I still had many pounds to go, and I was in no way a person with a bony butt.

I think it's posture. I think when you lose 20 pounds, the fact that you've been sitting wrong all of this time suddenly becomes apparent. Try to be certain that you are sitting with your spine straight and your feet on the floor.

But definitely do ask a doctor just to be safe.
posted by pazazygeek at 1:14 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

It would be worth trying an inflatable ball. I bought one myself at Target three weeks ago for $12.00 and it is the best chair I have ever had! Really helps me sit up straight. Look in the yoga/pilates equipment area. It also claims to keep your muscles "engaged" while you are sitting since it is a little unstable. Only problem is I have to pump it up every four days or so (it came with a little pump). If you intend to sit on it at your desk, buy either the small or medium (not the large, even if you are tall). Hope you feel better.
posted by Eringatang at 1:17 PM on February 18, 2008

Sounds like you should look into some better-fitting underwear for your brand-new ass!
posted by 1 at 1:42 PM on February 18, 2008

I lost a lot of weight a couple of years ago, and it was at around -40 that I started to feel like my butt started to hurt when I sat too long.

Now, I like to think I have pretty good posture (yoga does that) and I tend to sit on the edge of my chair (if I'm not on a swiss ball), and I broke my tailbone in 7th grade, so I have a long established habit of sitting on my thighs more than my butt.

I consulted with other Big Losers (Weight Watchers rocks), and we all had the same experience. It goes away after a while, in the meantime, get up and walk around more. ;D
posted by foxydot at 1:59 PM on February 18, 2008

RE: Sitting up "straight" -- all my life I've been told that, and all my life I've been leaning back in my chair, waiting for the day I regret not listening to this wise piece of advice.

Except it's wrong. Slouchers for the win!
posted by user92371 at 4:45 PM on February 18, 2008

If the area immediately around your coccyx is sore to the touch, you may have an incoming pilonoidal cyst. Mine can be exacerbated by the kind of firm padding found on exercise machines and bicycle seats, and the tissue can swell enough to make you feel as if you are sitting flatter or too much on your tailbone. My first round came a few months after losing 60 pounds, and may have been exacerbated by ill-fitting underwear that insisted on crawling and irritating the area.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:52 PM on February 18, 2008

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