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Tailbone pain: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Sometimes, after a fall in which we injure the final portion of the spine, a bone known as the coccyx, we can suffer from significant pain that prevents us from sitting, exerting physical effort and even walking normally. The coccyx region is very prone to pain because it has a good number of nerves, and significant pain, either intermittent or constant, can occur, extending into the upper spine or into the legs and aggravates when we sit on hard surfaces. In this FastlyHealarticle we will explain tailbone pain: causes and treatment so that you can identify the characteristics of these pains and what to do when this discomfort occurs.

Causes of tailbone pain

Pain in the coccyx, also called coccydynia or coccydynia, is a condition caused by a wide variety of causes, among which the most frequent is trauma to the area as a result of falls or direct blows to the ground or objects, which which can cause an inflammation, fracture or sprain of the coccyx. This trauma does not necessarily have to be a blow, it can also be a long-term consequence of sitting incorrectly for long periods of time, which causes a displacement and mobility of the tailbone, and even its dislocation. What can be more alarming in this condition is that the pain often does not subside with time, which is usually well localized and can be spontaneous or persistent.

The prevalence indicates that pain in the coccyx is more frequent in women and this is a consequence of the fact that during the process of giving birth, the passage of the baby through the birth canal can produce a displacement of the coccyx due to the narrow path. This causes inflammation and tearing of the ligaments.

On some occasions, the coccyx may have an alteration in its shape during development, which can cause irritation of the area produced by said structure. There may also be excessive stiffness or overgrowth, which puts more stress on the tailbone when sitting.

Less commonly, tailbone pain can be caused by infections or growths that lead to uncomfortable pain in the area.

Another possibility is that the pain originates in an upper region of the spine for various reasons and is referred to the tailbone. There is also the possibility of cyst formation in the final portion of the spine or that the pain is a consequence of muscle contractures.

Diagnosis of pain in the coccyx

In order to determine the origin of the coccydynia, it is necessary, first, a description of the characteristics of the pain by the patient. An attempt should be made to establish when the pain started and perform a clinical examination of the area by the doctor, in order to identify fractures, alterations in the shape of the spine, inflammation, the presence of cysts or any other condition.

Sometimes it is necessary to study through anteroposterior and lateral radiographs to be able to identify the cause of coccydynia. X-rays can show alterations in the shape, dislocations or curvatures of the coccyx, as well as a fusion between the vertebrae that can cause excessive rigidity of these. Magnetic resonance imaging can be helpful when conventional x-rays do not help to conclude a diagnosis.

Tailbone pain: treatment

The first thing that should be done when there is pain in the tailbone is to rest to avoid aggravating the causing condition and therefore the pain.

In most cases, coccyx pain can only be treated with anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications since in almost all cases it is a temporary pain that does not leave any kind of sequelae over time. The application of heat and cold in the region can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain, and sitting for long periods of time, as well as physical exertion, should be avoided. Special U or V-shaped cushions can help improve symptoms when the patient needs to sit down.

If the above do not improve symptoms, physical therapy with electricity or ultrasound should be considered, as well as the injection of corticosteroids with anesthesia in the region to reduce inflammation, which is especially helpful in acute pain.

Among the possible treatments, manual therapy is also achieved, which consists of massaging the coccyx area, it is usually a bit unpleasant for the person but good results are obtained.

Surgical treatment of pain in the coccyx

The pain in the coccyx usually resolves spontaneously over time and you do not need anything outside of a minimum care, however, in other cases of more complex origin, when all the previous measures have already failed, a surgical intervention may be necessary .

In this situation, the case should be reassessed and surgery planned. Sometimes the coccyx can be completely removed because there is a dislocation with significant mobility, alterations in the shape such as bone spicules, or an excess of rigidity of the structure. These procedures are carried out with great caution due to the importance of respecting the nerves that are closely related to the coccyx.

The person who frequently presents this pain should also avoid constipation , since it aggravates the situation. It is avoided through the consumption of liquid throughout the day and foods that contain fiber, so that it helps in this process, making it possible to evacuate more easily, without including excessive effort.

The prognosis of coccyx pain will depend on the causative agent and how it is approached until all symptoms have been eliminated. Although the prognosis is usually positive, when the origin of the condition is simple, depending on the cause that causes it, there may be a reserved prognosis.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Coccyx pain: causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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