Coccydynia is an inflammation of the tip of the tailbone, called the coccyx. It causes tailbone pain and tenderness between the buttocks.

What You Need To Know About Coccydynia

What is Coccydynia?

The coccyx, or tailbone, is the final bone at the bottom of your spine. You can develop coccydynia, or tailbone pain, when the coccyx or the surrounding ligaments and muscles are injured or strained. Typically, this pain is localized above the cleft of your buttocks. It usually worsens when you are sitting or doing any type of activity that puts pressure on the bottom of the spine.

If you're experiencing coccydynia or any other form of spine pain, schedule an appointment with an expert physician at Resurgens Orthopaedics now.

Causes of Coccydynia

Coccydynia is generally caused by either an external or internal trauma, although it can also develop spontaneously for unknown reasons.

External traumas include injuries, accidents, or falls that lead to a bruised, dislocated, or broken tailbone. Internal traumas usually develop at a more gradual pace and can result from poor posture, a difficult childbirth, being overweight or underweight, or any prolonged or repeated strain on the coccyx.

In rare cases, tailbone pain can also result from bony growths on the coccyx, arthritis, infections, or even cancer.

Coccydynia Symptoms

The primary symptom of coccydynia is pain, soreness, and tenderness in the region just above the cleft of your buttocks. It will often be a dull ache with occasional sharp pains. Other important symptoms to monitor include:

  • Tailbone pain that becomes worse when sitting down or standing for long periods of time, or pain that worsens when you change positions from sitting to standing (or vice versa)

  • Pain during sex or bowel movements

  • Pain that makes it difficult to sleep or perform basic day-to-day tasks, like driving or bending over to pick up objects

  • Sharp or shooting pain in the legs

  • Increased pain during menstruation

In some cases, coccydynia will improve in a few weeks with the help of some simple home remedies and treatments, such as OTC pain relievers or sitting on a donut. But you should schedule an appointment with a physician if the pain persists after a few weeks, if you are experiencing very severe pain, or if you are also experiencing bleeding or high temperature.

How is Coccydynia Diagnosed?

In the majority of cases, a physician will be able to diagnose coccydynia by gathering your general medical history, including any recent traumas or childbirth, before performing a basic physical examination. This exam is usually enough to detect any obvious fractures, deformities, or infections in the coccyx and surrounding area.

However, diagnostic imaging tests may be utilized if an initial exam is inconclusive. Typically, those tests would be limited to X-rays or CT scans, although MRIs and bone scans are sometimes ordered to check for inflammation or possible signs of spinal cancer.

Coccydynia Treatment

There are several non-surgical and surgical options to treat coccydynia. Fortunately, most patients suffering from coccydynia will recover without requiring treatment, and the vast majority of patients who do require treatment only need to use some basic home remedies. In the rare instances of severe, persistent tailbone pain, surgical procedures to adjust, shorten, or remove the coccyx can provide relief.

Non-Surgical Treatment

While most cases of coccydynia will resolve on their own, there are some basic steps you can take at home to alleviate pain and encourage healing. For example, you can avoid long periods of sitting, periodically apply heat and ice to the tailbone area, utilize a donut cushion when sitting, and take OTC anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin. Regularly taking hot baths and stretching can also ease your discomfort.

If these interventions don't provide you with enough relief, then these outpatient procedures may be a logical next step:

  • A coccygeal nerve block injection, which provides numbing medications and steroids to the affected area

  • Physical therapy focused on stretching and posture improvement

  • Sacral nerve stimulation

  • Massage therapy

  • Acupuncture

Surgical Treatment

In the unlikely event that other treatments have proven ineffective, surgery may be required to alleviate your coccydynia. Typically that involves surgery to manipulate the coccyx and arrange it in a better position for long-term relief. Very rarely, patients may require a partial or total coccygectomy (removal of the coccyx).

Your physician will advise you on the best course of treatment for your condition. Book your appointment with the spine experts at Resurgens Orthopaedics now.

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