Overview of Coccyx (Tailbone) Pain

What is Coccydynia?



The coccyx of the body, commonly known as the tailbone, may sometimes become inflamed, resulting in tenderness and pain felt between the buttocks. Inflammation in this manner can be the result of a number of other conditions, including a fracture of the coccyx, dislocation, or bruising of the area. While the recovery process for coccyx injuries is a long one, many patients will be able to obtain full or partial recovery with proper treatment.

What causes Coccydynia?


Almost every case of coccydynia is the result of trauma to the area, with women somewhat more susceptible to the condition due to having a generally broader coccyx that is more exposed than the male counterpart. The most common way coccydynia occurs is when the patient falls forcefully into a seated position on a hard surface. Women, in particular, have a unique way of developing a coccyx injury, as it may occur during the birth of their child. It is also possible for the area to become strained from a repetitive movement, found regularly in cyclists. A forceful blow to the area may also result in injury, commonly seen occurring during full contact sports.

Coccydynia has a number of uncommon causes as well, including infection of the area, arthritic inflammation, and bone spurs damaging the surrounding tissue.

The symptoms of Coccydynia


The primary symptom of this condition is severe pain felt in the coccyx area. Tenderness may also be present, with visible bruising occurring over the area especially if it was caused by direct injury. Pain may become worse when sitting down. Depending on the location of the inflammation, the bowels of the patient may also be affected.

It is also possible for coccyx inflammation to be a secondary result of another more threatening condition. It is paramount that patients experiencing pain in this area have it examined and diagnosed by a physician in order to avoid potentially life-threatening complications.

How is Coccydynia diagnosed?


The diagnosis for coccydynia is achieved through a combination of visible symptoms, physical examination, and imaging techniques. Determining what areas of the body are tender to touch also plays a role in revealing what condition is present. The physician will also test other possible conditions of the body that could result in similar symptoms in order to rule them out as causes. For example, shingles can produce symptoms similar to coccydynia, but will produce a visible rash while coccydynia does not.

Treatment options for Coccydynia


In many cases, the first step in treatment is to reduce the physical compression of the area as much as possible. A patient should avoid sitting for extended periods of time and should take care to use a padded seat. In cases where the pain does not fade within one or two days, the patient should seek medical attention. This will allow for a proper diagnosis to be made and a treatment plan to be developed to achieve symptomatic relief.

Patients can seek medication in the form of painkillers and anti-inflammatories to provide relief. The attending physician may order cortisone injection to help combat inflammation in those instances where symptoms have persisted for an extended duration of time. For some patients, this injection is sufficient to relieve the symptoms and no further treatment is necessary. Patients experiencing coccydynia as the result of a bone dislocation or fracture may be required to undergo surgical correction in order to obtain relief for their condition.

If you or a loved one is suffering from Coccydynia and would like more information, contact Consultants in Pain Medicine today. The practice has a Double Board Certified pain management doctor accepting over 50 insurance plans at multiple locations.


Call (210) 202-4030 for more information and scheduling!