What is Tailbone Injury (Coccydynia)?

Coccydynia refers to a condition in the tailbone which will cause in soreness and irritation to the coccyx.  There may be presence of bruise, dislocation or fracture of the tailbone. Most of the tailbone injury can be recovered over time with careful treatment.

The coccyx is the thin triangular bone at the end of the spine. This bone structure consists of three to five bone parts connecting together by joints and ligaments.

Usually coccydynia occurs to woman as their pelvis is wider thus exposing the tailbone more.

What Causes Tailbone Injury?

Most tailbone injuries are caused by trauma to the coccyx area.

  • The most common source of coccyx injuries is falling on a seated position where the tailbone is more exposed on a relatively hard surface.
  • Contact sports such as football, rugby, basketball and baseball can cause direct blow to the tailbone and injure the coccyx.
  • Other sports or action that has repetitive straining or friction against the coccyx can also injured the tailbone.
  • The tailbone can also be injured during labor or childbirth.
  • The less common causes of tailbone injuries comprise of bone spurs, compression of nerve roots, spine injuries, infections and tumors.  
  • However some causes of coccyx injuries remain mysterious.

What Are the Symptoms for Tailbone Injury?

  • Very painful sensation at a specific location in the tailbone area.
  • Bruise may be present if injury is due to trauma.
  • The pain get worse when sitting for a long period of time or pressure is applied on the tailbone.
  • May experience pain when doing bowel movements and straining.
  • Some women may encounter throbbing pain during sexual intercourse

How to dignosed for Tailbone Injury?

The cause of a tailbone injury is usually dependent on medical history and physical examination. X-rays may be required at times.

  • The whole spine may be examined. During this examination, a rectal exam may be performed, where the doctor will insert a finger into the rectum to examine the area of the coccyx and determine if there is a dislocation or a fracture that can be felt and if there is any pain when pressure is applied to the tailbone.
  • Rarely, if the cause of discomfort is unknown, a local anesthetic may be injected into the tailbone area to determine whether the origin of the pain is from the coccyx or another part of the vertebral column.
  • X-rays may be taken to determine whether there is a fracture or dislocation. However, X-rays occasionally may not reveal these injuries. Some doctors recommend X-rays in both the standing and seated positions to better determine the presence of a fracture or dislocation.

What are the Treatments for Tailbone Injury?

Medical Treatment

In addition to home care, a doctor may be able to provide further relief of pain with other medical and, rarely, surgical interventions.

  • Stronger pain medications may be prescribed at the discretion of your doctor.
  • Stool softeners may be prescribed to prevent constipation.
  • Injections of local anesthetics into the tailbone are sometimes required for continuing pain.
  • Rarely, the coccyx may be surgically removed.