Tailbone (Coccyx) Pain Epidural steroid injections

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Understanding the Epidural Space

To figure out how epidural steroid injections play a role in the treatment of coccyx pain, it is important to understand which part of the anatomy they affect.  The epidural space consists of the dura, a membrane covering the nerve roots. The epidural space allows the nerves to travel and exit through tiny nerve holes located in the spine.

Coccyx Pain Treatments –Epidural Steroid Injections

Though the coccyx does not have much range of motion in relationship to the rest of the spine, it can become damaged due to trauma or a hard fall onto the tailbone. Coccyx pain (tailbone pain) may be difficult to treat due to the fact that many times the coccyx simply needs time to heal on its own. Epidural steroid injections can be used as a coccyx pain treatment if other conservative options have not alleviated the pain.

Is Epidural Steroid Injection the Right Coccyx Pain Treatment for You?

Coccyx pain, also known as tailbone pain or coccydynia, is rare and if not related to any direct traumatic incident or injury, its root cause can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. The coccyx consists of three to five bones fused to the sacrum by a vestigial disc. Since the coccyx has limited movement, most damage to the bone or ligaments occurs from accidents. However, women tend to experience pain in this area due to the coccyx being rotated and the pelvis being wider, which places pressure on the tailbone during sitting. Childbirth can also contribute to a higher incidence of coccyx pain. The pain tends to go away on its own; however, healing can be extremely slow.

Epidural steroid injections may help to relieve coccyx pain in some patients. If medications and physical therapy are not successful in alleviating the pain, a spine health expert may recommend the use of an epidural steroid injection. Most patients experience some pain relief within three to five days after the injection is given, but it may take more than one injection to receive the full benefits of coccyx pain relief. Up to three epidural steroid injections can be given in one year.

The epidural steroid injection consists of a combination of anesthesia to reduce pain and a steroid to reduce inflammation. As with all injections, the risks include allergic reactions, infection at the injection site, spinal headache, or nerve damage.

The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes to complete. Anesthesia is injected into the back of the patient as they are lying face down with a pillow under the hip to provide support and open the vertebrae space for easier insertion. A needle is inserted into the base of the spine directly into the epidural space. Using a fluoroscope to guide the needle, contrast dye is added to confirm placement. Upon placement confirmation, the medicated combination will douse the nerve roots to reduce pain and decrease inflammation so that natural healing can begin. Once the needle is removed, the patient may be in recovery for 45 minutes. Rest for a few days after injection is advised. If a patient experiences pain a day or two after the injection, the anesthesia may have worn off and the steroid has not had time to work. In this case, the physician will prescribe medication until the effects of the epidural steroid injection can be felt. The pain relief can last from one week to one year depending on the patient’s unique set of coccyx pain circumstance.

At-a-Glance: Epidural Steroid Injection as a Coccyx Pain Treatment

  • Epidural steroid injection as a coccyx pain treatment may take up to 30 minutes to complete and 45 minutes of recovery time
  • Most patients receive some coccyx pain relief in about 3 to 5 days
  • Patients experience the full benefit of pain relief with only 1 or 2 injections
  • Up to 3 epidural steroid injections may be given in one year

Health Tips For Coccyx Pain

  • Journal coccyx pain relief to monitor effectiveness and share with your physician
  • Do not drive by yourself  to appointments as anesthesia will be given
  • Avoid any physically demanding activities for a few days after epidural steroid injection
  • Rest completely for at least one day after epidural steroid injection

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