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Spine Care

Coccydynia

Coccydynia refers to any type of persistent tailbone pain.

The tailbone, located at the very bottom of the spine, is medically known as the coccyx. Pain in the coccyx ranges from mild to severe, depending on the extent and cause of injury. Acute pain occurs suddenly, and usually heals within several days to weeks. Chronic pain can feel dull and achy. It is caused by inflammation and persists for more than three months.

Causes and Risk Factors

The coccyx and surrounding tissue can be damaged in various ways. The exact cause is often unknown (idiopathic), but known causes can include:

  • Trauma
  • Childbirth is one of the most common causes. Childbirth can cause muscles and ligaments around the coccyx to overstretch.
  • A hard impact to the base of the spine, such as might happen during contact sports.
  • Falling backwards onto the coccyx, such as a fall during ice skating. This may result in bruising, but can be more severe, resulting in dislocation or a fracture.
  • Repetitive strain injury that causes the muscles and ligaments to stretch and become strained, such as due to repetitive sports.
  • Abnormal, excessive mobility of the tailbone.
  • Poor posture, especially from sitting too long in a position that puts pressure on the coccyx.
  • Being overweight, which can put excess pressure on the coccyx.
  • Being underweight, which can cause the coccyx to rub against and irritate the tissue around it due to lack of fat in the buttocks.
What are the signs and symptoms?
  • Persistent pain/deep ache in the area of the tailbone
  • Painful when sitting
  • Pain can be worse when moving from a sitting to standing position or vice versa.
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
How to relieve the pain?

The goal of coccydynia treatment is usually to reduce pain by keeping pressure off of the tailbone, easing inflammation or muscle tension that add to pain, or reducing pain signals to the brain using medication. A combination of treatments and activity modification usually suffices to control or alleviate tailbone pain.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Customized sitting cushion designed to take pressure off the tailbone
  • Physical therapy
I am going for Physiotherapy.

Your physiotherapist will do a detailed assessment and will treat you based on the assessment. Treatment usually involves :

  • Manual manipulation. Some patients find pain relief through manual manipulation of the coccyx. Through manual manipulation, the joint between the sacrum and the coccyx can be adjusted, potentially reducing pain caused by inadequate coccyx mobility.
  • To reduce the inflammation and swelling
  • Coccydynia may be reduced or alleviated by massaging tense pelvic floor muscles that attach to the coccyx. Tense muscles in this region can place added strain on the ligaments and sacrococcygeal joint, limiting its mobility or pulling on the coccyx