Coccydynia is pain in the area of the coccyx (tailbone). It is a small, curved, V-shaped bone at the bottom of the spine.
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The tailbone can be found at the end of the spinal column. It supports the body in a sitting position and helps transfer body weight during changes in sitting positions. It is also an area where muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons from other locations in the body come together. Excess pressure can affect these structures.
In most cases, the specific cause of coccydynia is not known. Other times, it may be caused by:
Pain can come from bones, muscles, nerves, or supporting structures.
Coccydynia is more common in females. Other factors that may increase your chance of coccydynia include:
Pain may occur when:
Coccydynia may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This will include an evaluation of the tailbone to see if the area is swollen, red, or warm.
Imaging tests to look for fractures, dislocation, or other damage in the tailbone may include:
In most cases, coccydynia will resolve on its own with conservative treatment. This includes using a special seating cushion to relieve pressure on the tailbone.
If the coccyx is misaligned, it may be manually manipulated into place. Other treatments include:
Inflammation and/or pain may be relieved by:
Stool softeners can help reduce strain during bowel movements.
Physical therapy may include:
Some people find relief with:
Your doctor may also refer you to counseling.
Coccygectomy is the surgical removal of the tailbone. This surgery is not generally recommended and may be considered if all other treatment methods fail.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Association of General Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Coccydynia (tailbone pain). Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Coccydynia_Tailbone_Pain. Updated March 8, 2010. Accessed December 15, 2015.
Howard PD, Dolan AN, Falco AN, et al. A comparison of conservative interventions and their effectiveness for coccydynia: a systematic review. J Man Manipulative Ther. 2013;21(4):213-219.
Lirette LS, Chaiban G, et al. Coccydynia: An overview of the anatomy, etiology, and treatment of coccyx pain. Oschsner J. 2014;14(1):84-87.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Laura Lei-Rivera, DPT
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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