Tailbone Pain - Common Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options of Coccyx Pain
Tailbone Pain Management
Tailbone pain which is also known as coccyx pain is not as common or serious as many other spinal ailments. Still, if you have ever suffered from tailbone pain (TP), you know how miserable the condition is and how severely this condition can affect your life. Are you that person, who is not able to enjoy the time due to never-ending pain in your backside? Maybe you don’t know about what caused the pain and how to get relief from the pain.
You can deal with the tailbone pain if you know the causes behind the pain in your tailbone area. However, this pain is not a new phenomenon, and many are the times when people complain of this pain. Sometimes the pain can be acute, dull, sharp or a burning sensation. Go through the article to know more about coccyx bone pain, its causes, symptoms and effective treatment.
What is a Coccyx or Tailbone Pain?
The coccyx is the bony structure that is located at the end of the spinal bone, back of the pelvis. The area consists of three to five small bones which are combined to offer perfect support. The tailbone functions as an attachment site for different ligaments, muscles, and tendons located in the back and pelvic area. This is the area which supports your body when you are standing or sitting.
A small injury to your tailbone can cause pain. This condition is also called as coccydynia. The pain can be caused by a blow to the tailbone area, during childbirth or a by a fall. Most of the time, the cause is unknown. But you will feel irritated and discomfort. Sometimes, the condition eases up within a few weeks and through simple medical treatment. But in major condition, your coccyx pain can require a medical surgery.
Some Common Causes of Tailbone Pain
There is a lot of health issues, starting from minor issues to serious that can lead to coccyx bone pain. Pain sometimes eases away on its own, through home coccyx pain treatment. If you have minor pain and don’t know the reason, you can wait for one to two weeks before a visit to a doctor. However, the most common causes of coccydynia are:
A blow to the tailbone or its surrounding muscles can develop terrible pain in the tailbone. For instance, falling from a bicycle can sometimes injure your tailbone, while running into the wall can cause pain, and it can move from other muscles to the tailbone.
When you sit in an idle position for a long period, you may develop pain in the tailbone area. Sometimes sitting in awkward positions can lead to such condition.
While delivering a child, your tailbone can get injured or broken. This is something very rare and depends on the strength of your bone and muscles. The tailbone becomes more flexible towards the last trimester of pregnancy.
Joint damage caused by repetitive motions and general wear and tear due to ageing can cause pain in the tailbone.
Sitting in an awkward or poor position for a long time, such as while working, driving, will put a lot of pressure on your coccyx. You will suffer from pain and discomfort which will increase with time.
You can suffer from coccydynia if you regularly take part in sports or other physical activities, for example, cycling or rowing. This happens due to continuous leaning forward and excessive stretching of the spine. If such motion is repeated many times, the coccyx muscles and ligament will get stretched and strained. Sometimes, this kind of issue can permanently damage your tailbone. If this happens, the muscles will not be able to keep your coccyx in the correct position, causing pain.
Obese can put a lot of pressure on your coccyx while sitting down or standing up. Obese or overweight can cause coccydynia or can increase your existing coccydynia condition. Besides your overweight condition, you may suffer from coccyx pain if you are very slim or underweight. In such cases, you may not have enough buttock muscle which can prevent your coccyx from rubbing against the tissues. To learn about the perfect weight condition, you can use the BMI- Body Mass Index.
While growing the small discs of cartilage which help in holding the coccyx in place will wear down. The bones that build up the coccyx will become tighter. This will put more stress on the coccyx, which will lead to pain.
In a rare case, an infection can occur in the base of the spine. The infection can also arise in soft tissues, and that will lead to coccydynia. This is also known as a pilonidal abscess, a puss that generally develops in the cleft of the buttocks.
Bone cancer can start somewhere else in the body, and it can spread into the bones within time.
Symptoms of a Tailbone Injury
- Mild to severe chronic pain and tenderness in the coccyx area or tailbone.
- In case of traumatic injury, you can see a bruise in the area.
- You can feel severe pain when sitting for a long period or when there is direct pressure in the tailbone area.
- Bowel movements and straining will be painful.
- Women can feel mild pain during sexual intercourse.
When should you seek medical treatments?
If you have some signs and symptoms of coccyx pain or unexplained discomfort in the area of the tailbone, you should visit the doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will decide if the injury is traumatic or some other issues cause the pain in your tailbone. It has seen that injuries to the tailbone rarely require a visit to the doctor or emergency department. However, if you are concerned about the symptoms, it will be better for you to call a doctor for coccyx pain relief.
Diagnosis of Tailbone Pain
Before moving to coccyx pain treatment, the doctor will try to detect the real cause behind the coccyx injury. The cause is largely determined based on your medical history and a physical test. Sometimes you may be asked to go for X-rays.
- The doctor may examine the entire vertebral column. The doctor will perform a neurologic test. Besides, the doctor may perform a rectal test. For this, your doctor will insert a finger into your rectum to feel the area of the coccyx. The doctor will try to detect if there is any dislocation or a fracture.
- If the cause behind the pain is undetectable, the doctor may inject a local anaesthetic into the tailbone to know whether the origin of the pain is from the coccyx or other parts.
- X-rays will be taken by the doctor to detect whether there is any fracture in the tailbone area. Sometimes, x-ray doesn’t reveal the injury.
After determining the exact cause of coccyx bone pain, the doctor will be able to proceed with the treatment.
Effective Treatments for Tailbone Pain
The pain generally goes away within a few weeks, but sometimes it can take around two to three months. If the pain persists for such a long time, you can try some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications for coccyx pain relief. The drugs may include ibuprofen such as Motrin, Advil, or naproxen such as Naprosyn.
You can also take Acetaminophen drugs such as Tylenol to lower the pain in the tailbone. Severe coccyx pain treatment includes inject of a local anaesthetic, nerve block, or steroid medicine into the tailbone. You can take an antidepressant or anti-seizure drugs orally to get comfortable in such a situation.
To lower the discomfort, you can sit on an ice pack or in a heating pad. The way you sit during such a condition will greatly affect your recovery time. Poor sitting posture can put pressure on your coccyx, increasing your coccyx pain. While sitting, to reduce the weight amount from the tailbone, sit with your back against the chair and the feet flat on the floor. While sitting down remember to lean forward. You can use a coccyx cushion to relieve pressure on the tailbone area.
Take advice from a physical therapist to strengthen your tailbone muscles. You also need to strengthen your stomach muscles and pelvic muscles. If possible, try to do coccygeal manipulation. This is a technique performed by the doctor to shift the coccyx back into position.
Most of the time, these treatments will relieve your pain until your tailbone heals. If the treatments fail to lower the pain, the doctor may recommend surgery, called as coccygectomy. However, surgery will not improve the condition instantly. It will take time. The surgery may develop side effects like infections.
Start with simple home pain-relief measures. If your tailbone still hurts, check in with the doctor, to get the necessary treatment.