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Pilonidal Sinus- 6 Exercises That Can Help

By Dr. Shuddhatam Jain +2 more

A pilonidal sinus is a small hole or tunnel present in the cleft at the top of the buttocks. It may or may not show any symptoms and needs medical attention if it gets infected. It may fill with fluid or pus, causing the formation of a cyst or abscess. A pilonidal cyst may be filled with hair and dirt and has a chance of getting infected which can cause severe pain, pus, and blood drainage along with an unpleasant smell. This is a condition that mostly affects men and is also common in young adults. The exact cause of this condition isn’t clear but it could be due to changing hormones post-puberty, long and thick hair growth, friction from clothes, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, prolonged sitting, and excessive sweating.

The symptoms of pilonidal sinus infection include:

  • Sharp pain if you sit or stand too long
  • Swelling
  • Redness and soreness in the area
  • Pus or blood drainage
  • A foul odour
  • Presence of hair 
  • Formation of the sinus tract or holes in the skin
  • Mild fever 

You may not notice any symptoms at first other than a small depression on the skin above your buttocks. Once it gets infected, the symptoms may appear and these symptoms may vary from person to person. It is advised to not self-diagnose your condition and immediately consult a doctor after you notice any of these symptoms. The infection can become worse if left untreated and requires medical attention. There are several treatments for pilonidal sinus and possibly surgery will be required. However, your doctor may recommend certain exercises, and doing them regularly will also help. 

Is exercise good for pilonidal sinus?

Exercise is good for maintaining your overall health. Being active and keeping your body weight in a healthy range are some key benefits for people with infected pilonidal sinuses. Your doctor may suggest a few light exercises depending on your condition, to promote physical stimulation. These exercises, when done on a regular basis may help lower the chances of constipation and improve blood circulation for a healthy body and proper functioning of all organs. Let us find out some of the helpful exercises for pilonidal sinus to help you after recovery.

6 Exercises and yoga for people with Pilonidal Sinus

 1. Paripurna navasana (boat pose)

This exercise is also called the Boat Pose and is highly effective for the pilonidal sinus. You must begin the exercise in a sitting position. It is best to use a yoga mat and sit erect with your legs stretched out and your hands on the floor. Inhale and lift your legs up slowly bringing them at a 45-degree angle up from the floor. Bring your hips closer to the navel, stretch your tailbone and straighten your knees while the toes remain at eye level. Stay still in this pose for about 30 seconds, then release. Practising this exercise regularly will strengthen your hip muscles and tone the entire lower body. It also improves blood supply throughout the body.

2. Kapalbhati

Kapalbhati is a popular Pranayam that can work wonders for your health and help in improving your recovery from an infected pilonidal sinus. It has various other health benefits and must be practiced regularly. To perform Kapalbhati, sit comfortably on the floor with your spine erect. It is advised to use a yoga mat for comfort. Place your hands on your knees with both your palms facing upwards. Take a deep breath and exhale while trying to pull your navel in. Take 20 breaths and complete 3 rounds of Kapalbhati every day to eliminate toxins from the body. It helps improve blood circulation in the body and promotes the optimal functioning of the body’s organs.

3. Anulom vilom 

This is another Pranayam which has positive results for a person recovering from a pilonidal sinus infection. Start by sitting in a way you would begin meditation, keep your spine erect, and use your thumb to block your right nostril. Now inhale through the left nostril and block both nostrils to hold your breath for 3-4 seconds. While your left nostril is still blocked, release air from the right nostril and then inhale. Repeat this process and complete 10 rounds of it. Anulom Vilom is effective in reducing weight and may lower the chances of pilonidal sinus infection.

4. Sarvangasana

This may not be the easiest exercise to perform, but with regular practice, you can master it and notice positive changes in your body. Sarvangasana is recommended for pilonidal sinus as it may improve vascular functioning. Lying down on your back with your hands on either side. Bring your legs closer to the chest and lift your lower body upwards from the floor. Support your back with your hands and lift your legs upwards. Keep your entire body straight, after holding this pose for about 10 seconds you may release and breathe normally. 

5. Pavanamuktasana 

Lie down on your back, relax, and inhale then bend the right knee by pulling it close to the torso with your hands. Make sure your left leg is still lying flat on the floor. Inhale and exhale slowly then lift yourself off the floor and touch the knee with your forehead. Stay for a while and slowly return to your position, repeat the same with your right leg. Hold each posture for 3-5 seconds each and repeat. This promotes better digestive health, is good for back pain or abdomen, and develops elasticity in the diaphragm. It must be practiced for temporary relief in the pilonidal sinus.

6. Bhujangasana

The Cobra Pose must be started by lying on your stomach, keeping your toes flat on the floor, soles facing upwards while you rest your forehead on the ground. Keep your legs close together and place both your hands together so that the palms touch the ground, close to your torso. Inhale and slowly lift your upper and lower body while your navel is still on the floor. Pull your torso back and off the floor with the support of your hands. Make sure that you are putting equal pressure on both palms. Keep breathing and try to straighten your arms by arching your back as much as possible. You may slightly tilt your head backwards and look up. Maintain this pose for 4-5 even breaths, relax, and repeat. This asana aids in smoother bowel movements and prevents constipation, which is good for the pilonidal sinus as it reduces strain and chances of an infection. 

These are some of the exercises that may be recommended by the doctor to a pilonidal sinus patient. You can try these easily at home, it is meant for your overall well-being. The exercises ensure normal bowel movements and improve muscle strength and flexibility. However, if you have any orthopedic problems it is best to first consult with your physician and then proceed. 

Exercises to avoid pilonidal sinus

While exercises are good for you and may provide temporary relief from pilonidal sinus, it is important to note that strenuous exercises and overstretching may be bad for you. Avoid jerks and activities like horse riding and cycling as they may even worsen your condition. You must also ensure that you correctly perform these exercises to avoid any injury.

Also Read: How to Tone Legs: Expert’s Guide to Achieving Fitness Goals


Pilonidal sinus infection is a troublesome condition and may cause significant discomfort and pain, which makes everyday life difficult. The development of a cyst-like structure near the tailbone is a real problem and suitable exercises can be done after recovery. Follow the above-mentioned effective yogas, they have no side effects and remember to first consult with your doctor. Always keep the area clean, do not wear tight-fitted clothes and do not sit for long hours if you want some relief from the condition of the pilonidal sinus.


Who has more chances of getting a pilonidal cyst?

A pilonidal cyst can happen to any individual, however, there’s a higher risk for men getting diagnosed with a pilonidal cyst or infection than women. People between puberty and age 40 are more likely to be diagnosed with this condition. This condition mainly affects those who are sitting all day or for long hours, like drivers and office workers.

Is it safe to perform yoga with pilonidal sinus?

It is always advised to consult a certified yoga instructor before doing any yoga on your own. You must understand the right postures and only perform the exercises that are recommended by a medical professional, based on his health condition. There are several yoga postures and exercises which are good for someone suffering from pilonidal sinus but must be avoided by a person with back pain, joint pain, hip injury, spine-related problems, etc.

What is the ideal time to do exercises for pilonidal sinus?

The ideal time to do exercises for pilonidal sinus would be early in the morning. You may start by performing the easier exercises and then proceed to more advanced poses.

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.


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