The tailbone (coccyx) is located at the very bottom of the spine and connects with the sacrum (the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine) through the sacrococcygeal joint. Coccydynia is the medical term for tailbone pain that is often aggravated by sitting or by activities that put pressure on the bottom of the spine. The pain may be caused by pregnancy and childbirth, by trauma such as a hard fall or a blow to the area from contact sports. Repetitive friction through sports such as cycling or rowing may also trigger the pain. In rare cases, the pain may be the result of an infection or tumor.
How does Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia) occur? And what can be done to alleviate the pain it brings?
Tailbone Pain tends to be more common in women than men. Pain and tenderness are usually confined to the tailbone and do not radiate to other parts of the body. The pain may be persistent or aggravated by long periods of sitting, particularly on hard surfaces. Sometimes the pain worsens when moving from a sitting position to a standing position.
Most injuries to the coccyx will heal slowly with proper care, including:
- Medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling and relieve discomfort.
- Ice and heat therapy during periods of acute pain, particularly immediately after a fall or other trauma.
- The use of special pillows to elevate the coccyx from hard surfaces to reduce pressure on the area.
- Physical therapy, massage and stretching exercises to help reduce muscle tension and tightness that can strain the ligaments that attach to the coccyx.
- Manual manipulation to adjust the joint between the sacrum and the coccyx for improved mobility that can reduce pain.
- Corticosteroid injections to the area surrounding the coccyx which can decrease inflammation for pain relief that can last for weeks or in some cases, years.
Treatment Solutions offered at our Pain Centers
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