A donut cushion (also known as a donut pillow, a ring pillow, a hemorrhoid pillow, hemorrhoid cushion or sometimes grouped as a subcategory of coccyx cushions) is exactly what it sounds like: a round, tubular cushion with a hole in the center of it, making it resemble the shape of a donut.
Donut cushions are usually made of memory foam or similar material, enabling the pillow to mold to the user’s unique body shape, but they can also be made from other materials, such as “egg crate” foam. Many donut cushions are even made from inflatable rubber, allowing for easier transportation of the pillow whenever it is in a deflated state.
You may be most familiar with hearing about donut cushions to help relieve pain associated with hemorrhoids; indeed, this is their most common use. However, in addition to hemorrhoid relief, there are a variety of other reasons why someone may find a donut cushion to be a useful or effective tool in their daily life.
Not Just a Hemorrhoid Pillow
Women who have just given birth, sufferers from sciatica, anyone with a broken/injured tailbone or other coccyx pain, or really anyone who is suffering from any kind of pain or injury in the lower region of their body may all find relief from using donut cushions.
Even if you are not suffering from any of these particular conditions, you may still find that sitting with a donut cushion is more comfortable to you. Donut cushions can also potentially help to improve posture while sitting.
Let’s take a look at some of the common uses for donut cushions and learn a little more about how they can be used as an effective relief for a variety of issues.
Donut Cushions for Relief From Hemorrhoid Pain
This is certainly the most common use for donut cushions. Because hemorrhoids usually cause the veins and skin around the anus and rectal area to become inflamed and irritated, the pressure that’s placed on the tailbone just from a normal sitting position can cause severe pain to the hemorrhoid sufferer.
That’s where a donut cushion helps out; its unique ergonomic shape can help to relieve the pressure around the affected area (distributing the weight more evenly across the buttocks instead of directly on the tailbone), and thus has the potential to lessen some of the pain associated with hemorrhoids.
It should be mentioned that donut cushions should not be considered to be an appropriate preventative measure against hemorrhoids; there is no conclusive proof to show that sitting on a donut cushion can actually prevent hemorrhoids before they occur.
Nor can it be conclusively stated that donut cushions will necessarily speed up the recovery process from hemorrhoids; usually one must simply wait for hemorrhoids to run their course. However, donut cushions are certainly a very helpful way to find fast relief from the pain and other symptoms associated with hemorrhoids.
Donut Cushions for Women Who Have Recently Given Birth
If you’ve ever given birth, then you know what a physically traumatic process it can be. Those days and weeks after childbirth, when your body is recovering from the huge task of having physically pushed out a child from your own body, can be painful and uncomfortable.
Perineal tearing is a real issue that many women have to deal with, and depending on the size and severity of the tears, it may cause an excessive amount of pain that is further exacerbated when sitting in a normal position.
Often, the pain from this perineal tearing comes in addition to hemorrhoid pain, as it is very common for mothers to develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy or after giving birth, making for a double whammy of discomfort and pain in the vulvar/anal area.
Many women are able to find significant relief from their pain after childbirth by using a donut cushion to help relieve pressure around the painful areas. Though not all women will need or desire a donut cushion after childbirth, many women say that it is one of the easiest and best investments they made for their own comfort after delivering a child.
Ice packs, witch hazel, and sitz baths can all help to relieve pain after childbirth, and combining these other treatments with the donut cushion can all work together to make sitting more comfortable and to help relieve pain for new mothers who are recovering from the process of bringing new life into the world.
Donut Cushions for Relief From Sciatica
Sciatica is a type of pain that is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve; the pain can be felt anywhere from the lower back down to the thigh or knee.
Sciatica is a complex condition that can be very difficult to treat effectively; doctors have not agreed on any one cure that will definitively work for everyone who suffers from sciatica, and generally most patients will need to experiment to find an appropriate combination of treatments that will work for them.
A donut pillow can help to relieve some of the pain caused by sciatica, but they should not be treated as a magical cure.
There has not yet been much research on the effectiveness of donut cushions in helping with sciatica, so definitive conclusions cannot yet be made. However, because donut cushions have been shown to bring greater seating comfort to users in general, there is certainly the possibility that someone who suffers from sciatica may be able to find some relief through the use of a donut cushion.
Paired with other treatments, a donut cushion is certainly worth a try when looking for relief from sciatica. Of course, there is no easy solution for the pain caused by sciatica, but a donut cushion may be beneficial in helping to alleviate some of the pain.
Donut Cushions for Coccyx Pain and Other Injuries
If you have a broken or injured tailbone, a donut cushion can help relieve your pain just as it helps with relief in the other conditions we’ve discussed: by removing the direct pressure from your tailbone and more evenly distributing your weight across your bottom.
No matter what the cause of your tailbone pain or injury, the direct pressure that a normal sitting position puts on your coccyx (tailbone) can further intensify the pain you’re already feeling, and a donut cushion can help provide relief.
Even if you have not had any sort of specific serious tailbone injury, but you are experiencing general discomfort and pain in your tailbone area from prolonged sitting, you may find that a donut cushion can be a great way to lessen that tailbone pain and give you more comfort.
How to Use a Donut Cushion
Donut cushions are fairly simple, straightforward, and easy to use. Place the cushion on the chair so that it is pushed up against the back of the chair and positioned in the middle of the seat.
When you sit on the cushion, your tailbone should be centered directly over the hole in the middle of the cushion, with your buttocks comfortably seated on the cushion itself.
For maximum comfort, lean forward ever so slightly when sitting on the cushion, so as to further relieve tailbone pressure. This should feel natural and relaxed and should actually be improving your posture; you shouldn’t be hunched forward or putting any undue strain on your back or any other part of your body.
For most people, the office will be the place where they get the most use of their donut cushion; the hours spent seated in a desk chair can take quite a toll on your tailbone, and as we’ve discussed, a donut cushion can do a lot to help relieve the pain and pressure caused by prolonged sitting.
But of course, the office is not the only place where you can use a donut cushion. Due to their portable nature, donut cushions are easy to take with you wherever you go. In addition to office seats, donut cushions can also be used in a car or in a plane, or of course at home, or really anywhere you plan to be sitting.
What Type of Donut Cushion is Right For Me?
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, donut pillows can come in a variety of styles; the most three common materials that donut pillows are usually made of are memory foam, “egg crate” foam, or inflatable rubber/plastic.
Depending on how much money you want to spend, you can also find more complex cushions — such as combinations of donut cushions with other coccyx cushions or with extra raised lumbar support beneath the donut part of the pillow.
It’s entirely up to you what type of cushion you choose, as they each have their own benefits. The comfort foam cushions are often highly desired, as they can provide good back support as well as the necessary relief to your bottom.
The egg crate foam is lighter, more flexible, and may have greater ventilation and airflow than other types of donut pillows.
The inflatable pillows are a great choice if you want to take your pillow with you on the go, as they can obviously be deflated for maximum portability. The inflatable cushions are also good because they can be inflated more or less depending on how much support you want from the pillow.
If you’re considering the purchase of a donut pillow, shop around a bit and check out your options in order to find the best fit for you.
As you can see, there are quite a variety of uses for donut cushions, and several conditions or issues that they can be effective in helping.
Of course, donut cushions should not be treated as a magical cure for any of these conditions. If you are suffering from pain in your lower body for any reason, you should definitely talk to your doctor to come up with the best treatment plan for your own specific problems and needs.
While it seems doubtful that a donut cushion alone will be able to accomplish much in terms of completely “curing” the pain or its underlying causes, what we do know so far is that in many cases, a donut cushion can be a comfortable seating aid for many people, and a fast and effective way to find relief from anal or coccyx pain of various causes.
Even if you are not particularly suffering from a specific condition or injury, donut cushions may still be beneficial to you in giving you better posture, more ventilation, and all-around greater comfort while sitting, whether that’s at work, at home, or while traveling.
There are many ways in which donut cushions can be useful in daily life, and there are virtually no known drawbacks to sitting with one, so if you think you might want to start using a donut cushion for whatever reason — then give it a try!