Jan 02,2024

Pain Management in Pilonidal Disease: Strategies for Relief

Pilonidal disease, characterized by the formation of cysts near the tailbone, can cause significant discomfort and pain, particularly when infected. Managing this pain effectively is crucial for improving the quality of life for individuals dealing with this condition. This blog explores various strategies for managing the pain associated with pilonidal disease, including understanding pain levels, medical procedures, and lifestyle adjustments.

Understanding Pilonidal Cyst Pain Levels

Pain from a pilonidal cyst can vary greatly depending on the stage and severity of the condition. It typically presents as:

  • Acute Pain: Sudden and sharp, often due to infection or abscess formation.
  • Chronic Pain: A continuous, dull ache that may worsen with certain activities like sitting or standing for long periods.

Medical Procedures for Pilonidal Cysts

Several medical procedures can help manage the pain associated with pilonidal cysts:

  • Incision and Drainage: For an infected pilonidal cyst, incision and drainage (I&D) are often necessary. This procedure relieves pressure and pain but may require local anesthesia due to the discomfort involved.
  • Antibiotics: If the cyst is infected, antibiotics can help reduce inflammation and pain by treating the infection.
  • Cystectomy: In recurrent or severe cases, complete removal of the cyst may be recommended. While more invasive, it can provide long-term relief.
  • Laser Therapy: Some newer treatments involve using lasers to remove hair and  reduce the risk of recurrence and pain.

Pain Management Strategies

Aside from medical interventions, several strategies can help manage pilonidal cyst pain:

  • Warm Compresses: Applying warmth to the area can soothe discomfort and reduce pain temporarily.
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: NSAIDs like ibuprofen can help manage pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Avoid Prolonged Sitting: Changing positions frequently and using a cushion can help reduce pressure on the tailbone area.
  • Good Hygiene: Regular cleaning of the area and removing hair can prevent infection and subsequent pain.
  • Diet and Weight Management: A healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the pressure on the coccyx and minimize flare-ups.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Long-term management of pilonidal disease often involves lifestyle adjustments:

  • Regular Exercise: Activities that don’t put pressure on the tailbone can help maintain general health and potentially reduce cyst recurrence.
  • Posture Correction: Proper sitting and standing techniques can reduce pressure on the tailbone area.
  • Stress Management: Stress can exacerbate pain, so techniques like meditation, yoga, or therapy may be beneficial.


Managing pain associated with pilonidal disease requires a multifaceted approach, combining medical procedures, lifestyle adjustments, and personal care strategies. Understanding the nature of your pain and working with healthcare professionals to devise a personalized pain management plan can significantly improve your quality of life. 

If you’re struggling with the pain of pilonidal disease, don’t suffer in silence. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Som today to explore your options for relief and take the first step toward a more comfortable life.