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.
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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 traumaPressure and strain, as during childbirthProlonged sitting on hard surfacesSpinal cyst or tumor
Dislocation from injury or
, which can cause bones to shift
Repeated stress (eg, horseback riding, bicycling, motorcycle riding)
These factors increase your chance of developing coccydynia:
Brittle bones (eg,
Low back painParticipation in contact sports or certain activities (eg, horseback riding)
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 downChanging position from sitting to standingMoving bowelsHaving sexTenderness directly over tailboneAll-over backachePain or spasm of pelvic muscles
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He will do a physical exam, looking to see if the tailbone area is swollen, red, or warm. Tests may include:
—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
—a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones
These tests can show if there is a
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Bed restUse of special pillows to sit onSitz baths (which involves soaking hips and buttocks)Medication, including steroid injections, pain medications, stool softenersManual realignment of spine
Relief of pain by
of surrounding nerves
Physical therapy, involving:
Strengthening of muscles in pelvic areaRelief 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.
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
. 28th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005;403.
Last reviewed [Under Medical Review] by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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