Coccydynia is pain in the area of the coccyx, or tailbone. The coccyx is a small, curved, V-shaped bone at the bottom of the spine.
This condition is caused by an injury or stress that affects the tailbone, as well as the muscles and nerves surrounding it. Examples include:
- Fall or trauma
- Pressure and strain, as during childbirth
- Spinal cyst or tumor
- Dislocation from injury or obesity , which can cause bones to shift
- Repeated stress (eg, horseback riding, bicycling, motorcycle riding)
Coccydynia is mor common in female. These factors increase your chance of developing coccydynia:
- Brittle bones (eg, osteoporosis , arthritis )
- Low back pain
- Prolonged sitting on hard surfaces
- Participation in contact sports or certain activities (eg, horseback riding)
- Infections (eg, tuberculosis , osteomyelitis )
Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors.
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to coccydynia. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
- Sitting down
- Changing position from sitting to standing
- Moving bowels
- Having sex
- Tenderness directly over tailbone
- All-over backache
- Pain or spasm of pelvic muscles
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They will do a physical exam, looking to see if the tailbone area is swollen, red, or warm.
Imaging studies to look for fractures, dislocation, or other damage in the tailbone may include:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
- Limited activity
- Use of special pillows to sit on
- Sitz baths (which involves soaking hips and buttocks)
- Medication, including steroid injections, pain medications, stool softeners
- Manual realignment of spine
- Relief of pain by massage of surrounding nerves
Physical therapy, involving:
- Strengthening of muscles in pelvic area
- Relief and stimulation with heat therapy and ultrasound therapy
To help reduce your chance of getting coccydynia, take the following steps:
- Learn proper sitting posture.
- If you have to sit for long periods at work, ask for an ergonomics consultation.
- Reviewer: John C. Keel, MD
- Review Date: 12/2012 -
- Update Date: 12/03/2012 -