Tailbone (Coccyx) Pain Tenderness in the tailbone

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Tailbone Tenderness and Coccyx Pain

The coccyx, referred to as the tailbone, is made up of three to five bones all fused together and attached to the sacrum by a vestigial disc and ligaments. This triangular bone has limited movement but it can become severely damaged by a hard fall or traumatic injury or by degenerative disease in rare cases. When this happens one secondary symptom is tenderness felt in the tailbone area.

Tenderness in the Tailbone as a Symptom of Coccyx Damage

Tenderness in the tailbone may be an indicator of coccyx damage and can lead to severe pain and discomfort during daily activities. Although it is rare to have issues in the coccyx, damage can occur. After coccyx damage, tenderness in the tailbone can be felt while sitting for long periods of time or trying to stand up after being seated.

Is Tenderness in the Tailbone a Symptom of Coccyx Damage?

Coccyx damage may be accompanied by other symptoms including: tailbone tenderness and pain, pain when sitting or when touching the tailbone; pain when moving from a seated to standing position; and pain felt before and during a bowel movement. When an injury to the coccyx has occurred, the tailbone becomes extremely sensitive and tender. Coccyx damage is usually the result of an accident or fall, although certain spinal conditions can lead to degeneration, though this is rare.

The coccyx is made of three to five bones fused together and connected to the sacrum by a vestigial disc and ligaments. In the case of an accident, the triangular shaped bone is pushed beyond its capacity, resulting in pain and inflammation in the ligaments. Women may feel tenderness in the tailbone more than men due to the difference in their anatomy in this part of the body. Women have a wider pelvis and this causes the coccyx rotates slightly. The pelvis is also tilted forward in women so they tend to sit with more pressure on the coccyx. Childbirth increases the chance for coccyx damage.

Over-the-counter medications or prescription pain medications may help to alleviate the pain and tenderness in the tailbone as a symptom of coccyx damage. A spine health expert may recommend physical therapy to further aid in healing. Most coccyx damage must heal on its own, but this can take some time due to sitting and other movements that can exacerbate the pain and inflammation. If physical therapy or chiropractic care is a recommended treatment for patients suffering tailbone tenderness as a result of coccyx pain, the physical therapist and/or chiropractor will perform at least one of the following, depending on the individual patient: coccyx adjustment, manual therapy, strength building exercises, or other physical therapy modalities (like transcutaneous nerve stimulation, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound). Coccyx surgery, called coccygectomy, removes the tailbone when it is diagnosed as the cause of the pain and other symptoms but this is rare and only performed in extreme cases.

To ease tenderness in the tailbone, the patient should try leaning forward when sitting down and using a doughnut shaped pillow to take the pressure off the coccyx. Care should also be taken to avoid prolonged sitting and to move slowly when standing up. A spine health expert should be consulted if the pain and tenderness in the tailbone becomes severe or is not relieved by the conservative treatment options recommended by the physician.

Tenderness in the Tailbone as a Symptom of Coccyx Damage

  • Coccyx damage is usually the result of an accident or fall
  • Aggravation from daily activities may exacerbate coccyx pain and tailbone tenderness
  • Pain medications may help relieve acute episodes of pain, but speak with your spine health provider before taking them
  • In a traumatic injury has occurred to the coccyx a bruise may be visible on the skin near the tailbone

Health Tips For Tenderness in the Tailbone

  • Lean forward when sitting down
  • Use a doughnut pillow to relieve coccyx pressure
  • Use heat or ice packs as instructed by a spine health expert
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication if recommended by your physician
  • Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time
  • Avoid constipation by eating high-fiber foods and drinking plenty of water

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