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Coccydynia (tailbone pain) is a condition that occurs when the tailbone is damaged or strained. Coccyx is the medical term for the tailbone. It’s the triangle-shaped bone at the very bottom of your spine. Even a small bruise on the tailbone can cause significant discomfort and pain. Although coccydynia can occur at any age, it is more likely to occur in women than men.
Reduce your risk.
Coccydynia occurs when the tailbone or its immediate surrounding area is injured or damaged. Two common causes of coccydynia are childbirth and a backward fall. However, many types of medical issues can cause this painful condition, including:
Injury: A sudden impact to the tailbone can cause bruising, dislocation or fracture, resulting in significant pain. Fortunately, most injured tailbones are only bruised.
Repetitive tasks: Certain sports that stretch the coccyx area, including rowing and cycling, can stretch and strain the ligaments and muscles surrounding the coccyx. If these tissues are stretched too much, they fail to support the tailbone, which causes pain. This type of stretching and straining in childbirth also causes coccydynia.
Bad posture: Unnatural pressure can be placed on the tailbone when people sit for a long time. Work desks and car seats are common culprits for this type of coccyx pain.
Weight: People who are obese or underweight may develop coccydynia. Obesity puts excess strain on the coccyx when sitting, while lack of healthy fat in the buttocks may cause the tailbone to rub against other surrounding tissues.
Aging: As people age, the cartilage that keeps the tailbone in place is prone to natural wear and tear, causing additional stress to the coccyx.
Infection & disease: In rare cases, infection or disease can cause coccydynia. For example, cancer can spread into the tailbone and cause pain.
Pinpoint your pain.
The most common symptom of coccydynia is pain at the base of the spine, which can worsen when sitting. This pain is often extreme, and individuals with coccydynia may not be able to sit at all. Most symptoms of tailbone pain will resolve on their own within a few days.
Get the answers you need.
The experts at Kayal Pain & Spine Center will initially diagnosis coccydynia based on symptoms, typically suggesting routine care to provide relief. If the pain in your coccyx does not subside within a few days, you may receive a more thorough exam or an MRI scan.
Life’s too short to put up with pain.
Many cases of coccydynia only require time and self-care. If your Kayal Pain & Spine Center specialist suspects that your coccydynia is temporary, he or she is likely to recommend an over-the-counter medication, a cushion and hot or cold pads. These treatments are meant to relieve pain until the tailbone can naturally heal itself.
In chronic cases of coccydynia, more aggressive treatment options may be required. Physical therapy is often the first approach, with muscle manipulation and potent medications used when physical therapy fails. If none of these treatments provide relief, your Kayal Spine & Pain Center surgeon may perform a coccygectomy, a surgical procedure in which the coccyx is permanently removed.