Tailbone pain: 9 possible causes and how to relieve it

Coccyx pain can prevent us from working, studying or exercising. Read on and we’ll tell you what to do to relieve it.

Last update: September 13, 2022

Tailbone pain, also called coccygodynia, is the one who introduces himself to end of column, right where the buttocks begin. The intensity varies, although sometimes the discomfort increases when sitting or adopting certain positions.

The causes are diverse, including injuries and poor posture. Treatment with analgesics may be required, but other times it is relieved on its own or by applying some home measures.

Incidence of coccyx pain

The coccyx or coccyx is a bone consists of three or five fused vertebrae. It is located at the bottom of the spine, at the base, just below the sacrum.

It is the one that supports the weight when we sit, along with the lower part of the pelvis. In adults it tends to curve a bit. When this happens in excess it can cause some problems.

Among such problems is pain in the coccyx, which is also known by other names, such as sacral bone pain, coccygeal pain, coccydynia, coccydynia either cocciaglia. According to research, it makes up about 1% of consultations for spinal ailments.

It is more common in women. It is thought that this difference may be due to the location of the female coccyx, which is more posterior or exposed.

Associated symptoms

The pain in the coccyx usually presents as a constant throbbing sensation in the bone. Other times it is felt when the area is touched or palpated. It can radiate to the waist.

Usually, gets worse with prolonged sitting or standing, doing an activity that puts more pressure on the bone, and moving suddenly. Occasionally, there may be pain when defecating or during sexual intercourse. In women it causes discomfort during menstruation.

Other symptoms that may accompany are the following:

  • Appearance of bruises.
  • Sensation of pressure or numbness in the buttocks.
  • Lower quality of rest.
The location of the coccyx causes its pain to affect quality of life, as it bothers sitting and lying down.

Possible causes of coccyx pain

There are various causes that can cause the appearance of pain in the sacral or coccygeal area. Among them are the following.

1. Injury or trauma

As a result of sitting down or being hit in the waist area, we can suffer an injury or trauma that leads to pain in the coccyx. It should be clarified that fractures of this bone are not as frequent, but they do occur in the same way.

A longer recovery time may be required.

2. Repetitive action

The pain may be due to performing an action that generates constant pressure on the bone, such as horseback riding or cycling. Even when running or going down and up stairs.

3. Bad movement or overexertion

Another situation related to the appearance of pain in the coccyx is a bad movement when bending over or an overexertion when lifting a load.

4. Bad posture

Maintaining a poor body posture when sitting for a long time, while working in front of the computer or driving, is also a factor associated with the appearance of pain in the coccyx.

5. Pregnancy and childbirth

In the last months of pregnancy, the bones of the lower back are arranged differently. They become more flexible or mobile. Also, during childbirth, the baby’s head can injure some structures.

6. Overweight or obesity

Maintaining a weight above appropriate for height or a high body mass index (BMI), around 30, causes the pressure on the coccyx to also increase.

7. Disc herniation

In certain cases, coccyx pain may be a consequence of compensation, in the sense that the person changes the way they sit or stand to avoid discomfort. This happens, for example, when there is a herniated disc in the lower back.

8. Degenerative joint processes

Processes such as degenerative joint disease (EDA) affect the cartilage that lines the joints and bone structures. If this occurs in the lumbosacral region, for example, there may be pain in the coccyx.

9. Other causes

Less commonly, coccyx pain may be due to a tumor, cyst, or pilonidal disease, which is a infection caused by a buildup of hair and dead cells under the skin.

Treatments for coccyx pain

coccyx pain may remit on its own in a few days. Although some become chronic and persist for weeks.

In these cases, the recommendation is to go to the doctor.

The health professional will examine the area to look for signs of fractures, the presence of lumps, or signs of infection. He will also question the patient about whether he has suffered a stroke or what her habits are.

In a complementary way, may request diagnostic imaging tests. They may be X-rays, CT scans or MRIs.

The treatment to be followed will vary depending on the cause and severity of the symptoms. Several of the following options can be combined:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugssuch as ibuprofen, naproxen, and others, to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Anesthetic and steroid injectionswhen the pain is very powerful.
  • Physiotherapy: massages, chiropractic treatment, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, among others.

Surgery is done to remove part or all of the coccyx bone. However, this is recommended only when other options have failed. And although it is an operation that can be done easily, recovery can take several months.

Spine chiropractic can help control lower back pain; either in the coccyx or in the sacrum.

Other measures to reduce or prevent coccyx pain

In addition to the treatments mentioned, a series of recommendations can be taken into account to reduce coccyx pain or even prevent it. Nevertheless, home remedies should be applied only when authorized by the doctor and once the causes have been determined.

In this regard, you have the following options:

  • Repose: Strong physical activities that impact the spine should be suspended.
  • apply local ice in the lower back. Also, alternately, use heat with compresses.
  • when sitting, the body should lean forward a little, so that the weight falls on the legs. For greater comfort, special cushions should be used for sitting. When there is established pain, the best sleeping position is on one side.
  • You have to combat constipation by drinking enough fluids and consuming fiber.
  • People who have extra kilos should try to lose weight.
  • There are some appropriate exercises, such as those done when there is a herniated disc or low back pain, to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the lower back.

Should you go to the doctor for coccyx pain?

In certain cases, as already mentioned, pain in the coccyx decreases or disappears when we modify the activity or habits that caused their appearance. However, you should not trust.

In this sense, it is convenient to go to the doctor when the discomfort persists or when it is very intense. Also, if other symptoms occur, such as inflammation, redness and a sensation of heat in the skin of the area.

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