Coccydynia or more commonly known as the tailbone pain or coccyx pain is a kind of lower back pain that is often poorly understood. It is a kind of pain that is around the last bone of the spine or coccyx. This pain can be mild to very serious in nature depending on the pressure that is put on the bottom area of the spine. It mostly gets aggravated while sitting, leaning backward or while making a movement from a sitting to standing up posture.

It has been seen that women are at a higher risk of experiencing this pain than men as it is associated with childbirth.

Possible Causes of Coccydynia

In most cases, Coccydynia is caused by an injury. However most of the times, the reasons behind this pain remain unknown. There are several known causes that can be held accountable for this pain. They have been listed as under:

  • Mimic coccydynia
  • Infection of the buttocks (shingles)
  • Pilonidal cysts
  • Sacroiliitis
  • Fractured bone (tailbone)
  • Damage to the tailbone or adjacent areas owing to an accident
  • Displacement of the tailbone from its original place caused by activities like cycling, rowing
  • Poor posture
  • Infection or tumor

Symptoms of Coccydynia

As discussed above, Coccydynia is a pain that develops in the tailbone so the major symptom is the pain that is experienced in that area. This pain increases its impact when there are movements in that region. This is also experienced while sitting on a hard surface.

Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Serious and sudden pain while altering the posture from sitting to standing
  • Discomfort and pain over a sexual intercourse
  • Pain over bowel movements
  • Discomfort in the lower back during long sitting hours

Diagnosis of Coccydynia

A health professional or doctor diagnoses Coccydynia by going through the entire medical history of the patient and conducting a complete physical examination of the patient. Several tests are done such as x-ray or MRI to get the accurate results.

Further, a careful physical assessment for coccyx pain should contain:

  • Pelvic and rectal examination to verify tumor or atypical masses that could be a reason for the pain
  • Palpation to test for local tenderness
  • Tailbone or coccyx injuries in a lateral view of X-ray
  • MRI or CT scan, if a requirement is felt

Treatment of Coccydynia

The first line treatment of Coccydynia includes:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Massaging with cold pack or ice at the area several times during the day for few weeks
  • Putting heat or hot pack to the region
  • Using a custom pillow to help avoid the pressure at the tailbone while sitting.
  • Using stool softeners if the tailbone pain is aggravated with bowel movements and constipation
  • Temporary relief injecting a local anesthetic that stops the cluster of nerves next to the tailbone to send pain signals
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Physiotherapy exercises to stretch the ligaments and support muscles
  • Ergonomic adaptations
  • Surgical removal of the coccyx (in very rare cases)

Prevention of Coccydynia

In many cases, it has been seen that this pain occurs due to injuries and sudden jerks. Therefore, extra precautions like padding can be worn while doing some sports activities. Further, the posture should always be paid heed to. Cushions should also be used properly if one has to sit for long hours in the office.

Complications in Coccydynia

This is a very serious kind of pain that one can experience. This pain can cast a major effect on the quality of life of the patient and can also cause anxiety and depression, especially if it becomes chronic.

What to do?

If the pain is persistent even after taking the treatment then there can be several other reasons behind this and an experienced doctor’s help should be taken immediately.