Information You Need to Know About Coccyx Pain
The coccyx forms the bottommost part of the spine, which looks like a vestigial tail consisting of three to five very small bones. These bones are either separate or fused together. When these bones are either injured or inflamed, the result is coccyx pain or tailbone pain.
Tailbone pain can result from a wide variety of factors from illnesses to injuries. The common denominator in most cases, however, is when the bones are moved beyond their normal limited range of motion. The vestigial disc, ligaments and joints may also be affected in the process, thus, resulting in the painful symptoms.
The following are the most common causes:
- Local physical trauma such as a fall that injures the bones (i.e., the coccyx itself or the attachment to the sacrum) or inflames the ligaments.
- Prolonged pressure on the tailbone that leads to painful symptoms (i.e., horseback riding or sitting for hours at a time on a hard surface without cushions).
- Infections including tumors are rarely the cause of coccyx pain but these are possible scenarios
- Childbirth places extreme strain on the coccyx when the baby’s head passes over the bones that, in difficult labor, can cause the tailbone to fracture.
It should be noted that the tailbone pain is more common in women than in men. This is true not only because of childbirth, but also because of their anatomy. Women have rotated tailbones, thus, leaving the coccyx at higher risk for injuries. In addition to that, they also have a broader pelvis, which means that their tailbones are exposed to higher levels of pressure.
Indications of Coccyx Pain
The symptoms of the coccyx pain vary from one individual to the next depending on the extent, location and type of injury on the bone, joints and ligaments on this part of the spine. Affected individuals report the following general symptoms:
- Pain during or after sitting down. The severity, frequency and duration of the pain varies depending on the longevity, the design of the chair (including the padding), and the level of sensitivity of the affected individual.
- Deep, dull aches around the tailbone
- Sensitivity to even a single finger pressure on the tips of the tailbone
- Sharp, shooting pains down the leg
- Pain during bowel movements, sexual intercourse, and menstrual periods
Unfortunately, chronic coccyx pain can have secondary symptoms including painful feet from prolonged standing, painful lower back and exhaustion as well as depression. These symptoms are invoked by the affected individual’s desire to avoid sitting down for pain relief. Remember, choosing not to deal with the pain may adversely affect quality of life.
Extensive conservative measures are the first line of defense in tailbone pain management. These measures include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to lessen the inflammation.
- Home care measures like application of ice pack on the affected area, using a custom pillow to relieve pressure on the coccyx, and avoidance of placing prolonged pressure on the tailbone.
- Injections of numbing agent and steroids to relieve the inflammation and block off the pain.
- Chiropractic treatments to manipulate the bones coupled with physical therapy exercises.
Surgery is the last resort in coccyx pain because of the risks involved. The good news is that surgery is rarely necessary since most individuals respond to conservative measures within a few weeks. Don’t delay call 888-719-8448 or walk in to any of our locations such as, the Perris office near Nuevo, Sun City, Canyon Lake, Homeland, Romoland, and Lakeview.
Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles county, Orange county, San Bernardino county and Riverside county). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including Anaheim, which is conveniently located near Whittier, La Habra, Norwalk, La Mirada, Cerritos, Buena Park and Santa Fe Springs. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit healthpointe.net