What Is Tailbone Pain?
One of the most ignored parts of the body is the tailbone until you started to feel something on it. Tailbone pain is at the very bottom of your spine above the buttocks, where the multi-segmented bone is located.
The tailbone is small, but it does have some vital functions. The tailbone stabilizes your body when you sit, and there are lots of muscles, ligaments, and tendons run through the area. (1)
Location of Coccyx & Surrounding structures like Ilium, sacrum, Sacroiliac Joint, Inter Vertebral Disc etc
You might get confused some doctors might use the term coccyx instead of the tailbone. The word coccyx derives from the Greek term “cuckoo.” The shape of the tailbone is like the beak of the bird. Coccydynia is the medical term for pain in your coccyx. (2)
Symptoms of TailBone Pain
Pain that you feel in your back may be due to many things. When it comes to tailbone pain, the symptoms might be accompanied by other conditions. Coccydynia is characterized by one or a combination of the following symptoms: (3)
Localized pain and soreness
The pain is felt only on the tailbone and not in the lower extremities or pelvis. This type of pain is usually described as a severe soreness and described as mild to severe. You will feel constant tightness or discomfort around the tailbone, or pain that may occur when you applied pressure or when moving.
Augmented Pain with Sitting
If you are in a sitting position and you feel an intense pain once you lean backward. Also, if you feel pain every time you sit on hard surfaces or if you lean back against a wall, this position will add a lot of pressure on the tailbone that will worsen the pain.
Worsening of Pain
Pain that worsens when you move from sitting to standing. When you are having difficulties and pain as you stand from a sitting position or vice versa, to be able to stand you need to lean on something to have better stability.
Increasing pain each bowel movement or sexual intercourse. If you are having pain during sexual intercourse or defecation, you might be having coccydynia, due to the closeness of the coccyx to the genitals and anus.
Causes of Coccydynia
When your coccyx or the tissues surrounding it are damaged, you will feel pain in your tailbone. It produces pain and soreness at the base of your spine, especially when sitting down. The tissues can be damaged in different ways, although in some instances it’s difficult to identify the cause. The various causes of coccydynia: (4)
Childbirth is one of the leading causes of tailbone pain. At the last term of pregnancy, the coccyx becomes flexible. The overstretched ligaments and muscles while giving birth will lead to coccydynia.
Accidents and Fall
Your coccyx becomes injured if you suffer a hard fall or if you were kicked accidentally on the lower part of your spine. In some accidents, the coccyx may be badly bruised, but in severe injuries it may be fractured or dislocated.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
If you are into cycling or rowing, there is a higher possibility that you might experience coccydynia. The strain is due to constant leaning forward and stretching of the base of your spine. If it is repeatedly done the ligaments and muscles surrounding the coccyx may become stretched and strained.
Sitting improperly for a long period of time like while driving or working can put a lot of pressure on your coccyx. The pain worsens the longer you stay in this position.
Being underweight or overweight
Too much weight can put a lot of pressure on your coccyx when you are sitting down that causes coccydynia. You might also experience tailbone pain if you are very slim. If you don’t have enough fats on your buttock, it might rub against the tissue around it that may cause pain.
As the person grows older, the small discs of cartilage that holds the coccyx wear down. The bones fused together and may put a lot of stress on the tailbone that causes pain.
Below are some of the possible treatments that can help relieve tailbone pain: (5)
A physical therapist will teach you how to do the pelvic floor relaxation exercises, like deep breathing and relax your pelvic on the floor as you would while defecating or urinating.
Massaging the muscles connected to the tailbone can help reduce pain. It is done through the rectum.
Your physician may recommend a local anesthetic to be injected into the tailbone to get rid of pain for a few weeks. Some anti-epileptic or antidepressant medications can help relieve tailbone pain.
For severe cases of coccydynia that does not respond to other treatments can undergo a procedure known as coccygectomy.
There are several home remedies that you can follow to alleviate as well as cure the tailbone pain: (6)
- Heat or Ice Pack. Place the pack on the affected part and let it stay there for 20 minutes.
- Massage the painful part for 10 to 15 minutes. Apply gentle pressure using carrier oil or massage oil. Do this twice a day.
- Take vitamins rich in vitamins D, B6, and B12.
- Slightly heat the castor oil and apply it while warm in the tailbone area and then cover it with a bandage. Do this every night until the pain is gone.
- Soak your body in warm water with Epsom Salt for 10 to 15 minutes.