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Coccydynia(Coccyalgia; Coccygeal Pain; Coccygodynia; Pain, Tailbone; Pain, Coccygeal; Tailbone Pain)

Pronounced: KOK-sih-DIE-nee-ah

Definition

Coccydynia is pain in the area of the coccyx, or tailbone. The coccyx is a small, curved, V-shaped bone at the bottom of the spine.

The Coccyx

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Causes

This condition is caused by an injury or stress that affects the tailbone, as well as the muscles and nerves surrounding it. Examples include:

  • Fall or trauma
  • Pressure and strain, as during childbirth
  • Spinal cyst or tumor
  • Dislocation from injury or obesity , which can cause bones to shift
  • Repeated stress (eg, horseback riding, bicycling, motorcycle riding)

Risk Factors

Coccydynia is mor common in female. These factors increase your chance of developing coccydynia:

Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors.

Symptoms

If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to coccydynia. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:

  • Pain when:
    • Sitting down
    • Changing position from sitting to standing
    • Moving bowels
    • Having sex
  • Tenderness directly over tailbone
  • All-over backache
  • Pain or spasm of pelvic muscles

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They will do a physical exam, looking to see if the tailbone area is swollen, red, or warm.

Imaging studies to look for fractures, dislocation, or other damage in the tailbone may include:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

  • Limited activity
  • Use of special pillows to sit on
  • Sitz baths (which involves soaking hips and buttocks)
  • Medication, including steroid injections, pain medications, stool softeners
  • Manual realignment of spine
  • Relief of pain by massage of surrounding nerves
  • Physical therapy, involving:
    • Strengthening of muscles in pelvic area
    • Relief and stimulation with heat therapy and ultrasound therapy

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of getting coccydynia, take the following steps:

  • Learn proper sitting posture.
  • If you have to sit for long periods at work, ask for an ergonomics consultation.

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
http://www.aaos.org/

Orthopedic Trauma Association
http://www.ota.org/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://coa-aco.org/

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index_e.html/

References:

Acetaminophen. EBSCO Publishing Patient Education Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/pointOfCare/perc-about. Updated February 2008. Accessed November 7, 2008.

Coccydynia (tailbone pain). Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/Coccydynia/hic_Coccydynia_Tailbone_Pain.aspx. Accessed November 7, 2008.

Coccydynia. EBSCO Publishing DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 2008. Accessed November 20, 2008.

Dressendorfer R. Coccydynia. EBSCO Publishing Rehabilitation Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/pointOfCare/nrc-about. Updated August 2008. Accessed November 20, 2008.

Ibuprofen. EBSCO Publishing Patient Education Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/pointOfCare/perc-about. Updated February 2008. Accessed November 2, 2008.

Naproxen. EBSCO Publishing Patient Education Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/pointOfCare/perc-about. Updated February 2008. Accessed November 7, 2008.

Stedman’s Medical Dictionary . 28th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005;403.



Last reviewed December 2012 by John C. Keel, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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