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Coccydynia

Coccydynia refers to pain and inflammation at the tip of the coccyx. Also called the tailbone, the coccyx is located at the end of the spine and is one of the bones that make up the pelvis. Coccydynia causes pain and tenderness in between the buttocks in the area of the tailbone.

Coccydynia Hero Image 2

Coccydynia refers to pain and inflammation at the tip of the coccyx. Also called the tailbone, the coccyx is located at the end of the spine and is one of the bones that make up the pelvis. Coccydynia causes pain and tenderness in between the buttocks in the area of the tailbone.

What causes Coccydynia?

A common cause of coccydynia is direct trauma to the tailbone, such as a fall. Chronic stress to the coccyx, through prolonged sitting or sports activity, can also lead to coccydynia. An unstable coccyx can cause chronic inflammation of the tailbone and lead to this condition. Often, there is no specific reason identified for coccydynia.

Coccydynia is most common in these sports:

• Cycling
• Rowing

Symptoms

The major symptom associated with coccydynia is intense pain, especially when sitting. Common symptoms also include:

• Severe pain when standing up
• Pain gets better once standing or walking
• Deep ache in the tailbone
• Pain during bowel movements

When to see a doctor

If you have a painful tailbone you should see your doctor, especially if your pain persists more than a couple days or if you’ve suffered an acute injury to your tailbone. Usually, your doctor can diagnose coccydynia by taking a medical history and conducting a physical examination. X-rays or other imaging tests may be ordered to determine if there are bone fractures or other conditions causing your pain.

Non-operative treatment

Pain resulting from coccydynia often resolves on its own over time, though it may take several weeks. Treatment usually involves rest and abstaining from activities such as sports and prolonged sitting that can aggravate the tailbone. Conservative treatments also include:

• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, to relieve pain
• Corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory medicine) injections to relieve pain
• Using a special, wedge-shaped cushion that shifts weight off the tailbone when sitting to reduce pain
• Physical therapy exercises to strengthen muscles that support the lower back

You can also try these exercises at home:

Surgical Treatment

In rare cases, when conservative treatments are not effective, surgery may be recommended to remove part of the coccyx.

Recovery

It’s important to give your tailbone time to recover. It may take several weeks to be fully pain free and return to normal activity. Pushing yourself too soon with very strenuous activity could delay your recovery. Your doctor may advise that you start with light exercise before a full return to play.

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