Tailbone Pain Location and Symptoms

Tailbone Pain is the sharp pain in the coccyx radiating down the legs or the back causing discomfort including pain in the rectum leading to muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, and loss of sensation.

What is Tailbone Pain?

Tailbone Pain is also known as Coccyx Pain is the pain occurring in or around the spine (Coccyx) caused by any sudden injury appearing over time with no known cause. The pain makes it difficult to sit, walk or even sleep at night after it radiates to the hips and surrounding areas. The technical term for Tailbone Pain is ‘Coccydynia’ which is a dull throbbing pain feeling like a muscle spasm.

Causes

  • Degeneration: To joints or nerves
  • A blow: Accidental breakdown can damage the tailbone.
  • Compression: Occurs due to the nerve pressure during pregnancy.
  • Problems with the spine: Spinal surgery or degenerative lumbar disc disease can cause problems in the spine.
  • Sitting down: Sitting in awkward positions for long durations can cause pain in your tailbone.
  • Trauma during childbirth: Tailbone gets injured during the delivery of a baby
  • Levator Syndrome: Causes muscle spasms in the anus while the pain is radiating to hips, tailbone or other surrounding areas.
  • Infections: May cause coccyx pain but is rare
  • Straining: Happens due to hemorrhoids or constipation
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Occurs due to childbirth
  • Obesity: Too much weight causes pressure in your tailbone

A rare cause of Tailbone Pain

  • Tumors
  • Several unknown causes
  • An infection in tissues surrounding the tailbone

Symptoms

  • Painful bowel movements
  • A bruise in the coccyx area
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • A deep ache in the tailbone area
  • Severe pain while sitting for prolonged periods

Who Treats Tailbone Pain?

A primary-care physician handles the Tailbone Pain, but in cases of surgical intervention, a spine surgeon deals with the cause. Individuals suffering from chronic and refractory coccyx pain should consult a specialist in pain management.

Diagnosis

A doctor will look for the complete medical history of a person and may ask about the muscle problems, a history of gastrointestinal problems and previous pregnancy experience. Depending upon the medical history and symptoms the following tests done are:

  • Blood tests to find out other causes
  • A pelvic exam to access the pelvic floor
  • A rectal exam to determine the problem with the muscles
  • Routine X rays and MRI scans of the spinal cord and the tailbone.

Treatment

Over-the-counter Medications

You can try over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen (Morton, Advil) or Naproxen (Naprosyn) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve your Tailbone Pain. If the pain persists, your doctor may inject a local anesthetic, steroid medicine or nerve block into the area to stop the pain. You can also take antidepressant or anti-seizure medicines after consulting with the doctor.

Sitting position

Poor posture can put extreme pressure on your coccyx causing discomfort. Consider sitting on a heating pad, go for a massage, sit straight or use a special wedge-shaped cushion to relieve the pain in that area.

Physical Therapy

The physical therapist can advice certain exercises including stomach muscles and pelvic floor to strengthen the muscles supporting the tailbone. You can also try coccygeal manipulation where a doctor inserts a gloved finger in your rectum to put the tailbone back into position.

Epsom Salt Bath

Useful if the pain results from hemorrhoids, rectal pain, or Levator syndrome.

Surgery

Coccygectomy removes the entire Coccyx which is the last resort of the treatment but contains risks like infections.

When to see a Doctor?

  • Persistent Fever
  • Chronic pain return after Improvement
  • Bruising
  • Changes in coordination or movements
  • A loss of sensation
  • Tailbone is hurt
  • Pain worsening after the home treatments
  • Tailbone pain occurring with unexplained symptoms
  • The pain does not improve in a week or two

FAQs

Do Hemorrhoids cause Tailbone Pain?

No, Hemorrhoids do not cause Tailbone Pain as they originate in the lower rectum though not painful.

Why does my Tailbone hurt when I sit?

Tailbone Pain is most often a result of trauma, childbirth, a tumor or an infection.

Can Menstruation cause Tailbone Pain?

No, Menstruation does not cause tailbone pain.

Is my Tailbone bruised or broken?

If you experience pain in the tailbone after trauma, it is possible that your bone is hurt. Consult your doctor immediately if the pain in your tailbone persists.

References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/back-pain/tailbone-pain
  2. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/spine-anatomy/anatomy-coccyx-tailbone
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tailbone-pain/expert-answers/faq-20058211
  4. https://www.medicinenet.com/coccydynia/article.htm#what_is_the_prognosis_for_coccydynia
  5. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10436-coccydynia-tailbone-pain

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