Tailbone pain is not a condition unfamiliar to a lot of people. Many of us have experienced it at some point in our lifetime. pain in the tailbone can make routine activities uncomfortable at best and, at worst intolerable. But have you ever figured out its causes? Causes can be anything, and a little attention may make them disappear. This blog is a comprehensive guide on tailbone pain, its causes, and treatment options.
What is the Coccyx or Tailbone?
The tailbone is located at the base of your spine, beneath the sacrum, and comprises three to five fused vertebrae. It is attached to several tendons, muscles, and ligaments. When you sit down, your weight is supported by the coccyx and the ischial tuberosities, the two bones that make up the bottom of your pelvis. Two-thirds of adults have a coccyx that curls slightly rather than pointing downward, but one that curves excessively is unnatural and makes it uncomfortable.
How Common is Coccydynia, or Pain in the Tailbone?
Pain in the tailbone is a common occurrence and is found to be five times more common in women than in men. It affects adults and teenagers more frequently than children. According to the BMI (Body Mass Index) scale, obese people are three times more susceptible than those at optimal weight. Additionally, if you lose weight too quickly, you become more vulnerable.
What Causes Tailbone Pain?
From too much sitting to pregnancy or childbirth, the causes of tailbone pain can vary . Let us address some of them here:
- Falling : Falling and landing on your back is common – it may be when you fall from a ladder, while walking on ice, or from a chair while leaning backward. Your tailbone may be fractured, broken, or knocked out of place when you fall with intensity. This may result in pain in the location.
- Injury from Repetitive Strain: You may sway back and forth when engaging in sports like rowing and bicycling to lengthen your spine. The tissues around your coccyx may become strained if that motion is performed too frequently, resulting in pain and difficulties.
- Pregnancy or Childbirth : A woman’s body secretes hormones during the third trimester of pregnancy that softens the region between the sacrum and the coccyx. This enables the widening of the pelvic area to make childbirth easier. This also results in the coccyx moving as needed when giving birth. Although this is a normal bodily process, the movement may unnecessarily stretch the ligaments and muscles surrounding the coccyx, leading to more discomfort. These soft tissues are under such stress that they cannot maintain your coccyx at a normal angle.
- Obesity: The coccyx will undergo more pressure when you gain more weight. As a result, the coccyx may slant backward. This misalignment may lead to pain.
- Underweight : A sufficient amount of fat is required in the buttocks to keep the coccyx from rubbing against the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. If you are underweight, soft tissues become inflamed from the friction.
- Sitting : Coccyx pain can exacerbate if you sit for a more extended period daily. It happens mainly if you’re seated on a hard or constrained surface. Try your best to get up frequently, stretch, and take a quick stroll. Better still, use a cushioned seat or look for a softer surface to sit on.
- Cancer : Pain in the tailbone is only occasionally an indication of malignancy. It can happen if you have cancer in the prostate, colon, or a tumor in the vertebrae.
- Other Causes: Pain in the tailbone may also happen due to the development of cysts in the tailbone area (pilonidal cyst), vertebral tumor, and chordoma (tumour in the tailbone).
What are the signs of coccydynia or discomfort in the tailbone?
Your body may show signs and symptoms of pain in the coccyx. Some of them are:
- Pain in the tailbone that is sharp or achy.
- Discomfort when getting out of a sitting and standing position.
- Intensifying pain when sitting for extended durations.
- Having bowel movements that hurt.
- Pain during sex.
When to see a doctor?
Suppose the symptoms mentioned above appear and don’t go away even after trying home remedies. You may visit the health care provider to determine the underlying cause and treatment options.
How is Coccydynia Diagnosed?
When you visit your healthcare professional, they will first ask about any recent trauma or incident, such as a fall or childbirth. A general medical history will also be taken. Afterward, they will inspect the area to look for visible fractures, deformities, masses, or abscesses (infection). Tests like X-rays, CTs, or MRIs may be prescribed to check for tumors and other inflammation near the tailbone.
How is Tailbone Pain Treated?
Most people with tailbone pain get better without any treatment. Follow the home remedies given below to get rid of the pain:
- Spend less time sitting. If you have to sit, lean forward, so your tailbone is not stressed.
- Unwind and relieve pain with a hot bath
- Use a coccygeal cushion (a “donut” pillow) or gel cushion in a wedge shape while seated to avoid direct contact with the tailbone with the seat surface.
- Consume stool softeners to ease intestinal discomfort.
- Strengthen and stretch your pelvic and lower back muscles.
- Apply heat or cold pack to your lower back. Apply multiple times per day for no more than 20 to 30 minutes.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
If these home remedies don’t help, the doctor may suggest treatment options for the underlying causes.
- To decrease inflammation, they may block the nerve with numbing medications.
- The physical therapist will suggest massage therapy, stretching exercises, or posture improvement.
- If the cause is cancer, they may prescribe surgical or non-surgical methods to remove the tumors.
How Can I Lower My Risk of Developing Coccydynia or Tailbone Pain?
You can lessen your chance of experiencing tailbone pain by:
One of the significant ways to prevent tailbone pain is by avoiding falls. Keep cords, loose objects, and other obstructions off your floors and walkways. Make sure all stairways have rails and are well-lit. Avoiding activities like cycling and prolonged sitting that worsen symptoms may also help.
Although unpleasant, tailbone discomfort is transient. Take your medications as directed, use your ice packs, enjoy hot baths, purchase a cushion that supports the coccyx and spend more time on your feet and keep moving..
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is tailbone pain (coccydynia) permanent?
No. Tailbone pain is rarely lifelong. Home remedies or treatments can handle it.
Does tailbone pain intensify during menstruation?
Yes. During menstruation, tailbone pain intensifies.