Tailbone pain, also known as coccydynia or coccygodynia, is the pain in or around the bottom of your spine (coccyx). It can be caused by impact trauma, a sedentary lifestyle (sitting all the time), degeneration of the joints, and even giving birth.
In this blog, we will be looking at the following:
- What are the causes of tailbone pain?
- What are the symptoms of tailbone pain?
- How is chronic tailbone pain diagnosed?
- How is tailbone pain treated?
What are the Causes of Tailbone Pain?
The common causes of coccydynia include:
- Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
- Being Underweight
- Excessive Sitting
What are the Symptoms of Tailbone Pain?
The sensation is typically dull or achy but can become a sharpened pain depending on the activity you’re engaging in.
- Achy pain of the tailbone
- Piercing pain of the tailbone
- Severe pain when standing up
- Severe pain when sitting for long periods of time
- Pain during bowel movements
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Related symptoms may include depression, anxiety, poor sleep, back pain, and buttock pain.
How is Chronic Tailbone Pain Diagnosed?
The pain usually goes away after a few weeks, but if it doesn’t relieve on its own, you likely have chronic coccydynia and should consult your doctor. An MRI will help medical professionals identify the cause of your pain, whether degeneration, fracture, or something else.
Diagnostic tests and procedures include:
- X-Ray (for fracturing)
- CT Scan (for fracturing)
- Bone Scan (for inflammation and chordoma)
- MRI (for inflammation and chordoma)
How is Tailbone Pain Treated?
Once your doctor comes to a diagnosis of the cause of your tailbone pain, treatments are available depending on your particular condition.
There are plenty of ways to relieve and prevent the worsening of tailbone pain, including:
- Decreased time for sitting
- Wear loosely fit clothing
- Hot baths (relaxes muscles)
- Using gel or coccygeal cushioning (donut pillow) when sitting
- Stretching and exercising lower back and pelvic muscles
- Applying hot packs or ice packs to your lower back (no more than 20-30 minutes at a time)
Outpatient treatments for tailbone pain include:
- Coccygeal Nerve Block
- Massage Therapy
- Physical Therapy (stretching exercises and posture improvement)
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
Very rarely, but some cases call for the partial or entire removal of the tailbone – partial or total coccygectomy.