Tailbone (Coccyx) Pain Tailbone Fracture During Child Birth

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Is Tailbone Fracture During Childbirth to Blame for Your Coccyx Pain?

Coccydynia is the formal term used to describe pain that emanates from the coccyx or tailbone of the spine. Childbirth is the second most common cause of coccyx pain after impact trauma. Since the tailbone is forced out of position to allow for delivery, it imparts undue pressure on the joints, ligaments, and bone. While a fracture of the tailbone is possible, it would be the most extreme result of this hyperextension.

Tailbone Fracture during Childbirth as a Cause of Coccyx Pain

In order to understand how tailbone fracture during childbirth generates coccyx pain, it is useful to take a look at where the coccyx is and how it is designed to perform. The coccyx is the fifth and final region of the spine. While it can consist of three to five vertebrae, 80% of people possess four. Similar to the sacral spine above it, the vertebrae of the coccyx may be fused. They may also remain in two segments. Either way, mobility is limited. The coccyx is often considered a vestigial remnant of a tail, which gives us its common name, the tailbone. The coccyx is a relatively small structure of the spine. It varies in length from 3 to 10 centimeters.

The coccyx serves several basic functions. It provides a point of attachment for tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the pelvic region. It is the point at which the spinal cord is anchored. The coccyx helps give support to the spine. Along with the ischium bones, the coccyx forms a tripod for stability while seated.

The anatomy of the female pelvis is different from men, primarily to accommodate childbirth. A woman’s hips are tilted forward and the sacrum is rotated outward, creating a broader pelvis. Changes take place in a woman’s pelvis as a pregnancy progresses and the body prepares for delivery. The sacroiliac joints loosen so that the pelvis is able to spread to accommodate the expanding uterus and subsequent delivery. Ligaments and muscles will lengthen and prepare to expand. At the time of birth, as the fetus begins to pass down the birth canal, the coccyx extends posteriorly to make room for delivery. The entire process puts extra pressure and stress on the coccygeal joint, ligaments, and bone. The more complicated the delivery, the greater the potential to dislocate or fracture the coccyx itself.

Beyond the pain created by childbirth, coccyx pain can be induced by repetitive stress activities that create friction on the tailbone, a compressed nerve, pain from other spinal injuries, infections, and tumors. If you are experiencing tailbone pain, or any pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips, or legs, get in touch with an expert in spine health. Early diagnosis and treatment can help ameliorate current pain and prevent long term, chronic issues.

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Health Tips for Tailbone

  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Take frequent walks or standing breaks if possible.
  • Lean forward to direct your weight away from the tailbone.
  • Use a doughnut pillow to sit on, particularly during periods of tailbone pain. Use ice or heat to relieve tenderness or pain.
  • Watch your weight. Extra pounds can put extra stress on the tailbone.
  • Eat more fiber. Fiber rich foods can soften stools and help avoid constipation that
  • can further irritate the muscles surrounding the coccyx.
  • Consider over the counter medications to relieve pain and inflammation.

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