Properly Treating Tailbone (Coccyx) Pain

The good news for people suffering from Tailbone Pain today is that it can often be successfully and conservatively treated with non-surgical methods. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as over the counter pain relievers, are usually enough to control coccyx pain.

Effective Tailbone Pain Treatment

At BASIC Spine, we have seen our fair share of patients who are suffering from coccyx pain. We can help with appropriate pain management medications, physical therapy,  pain relieving injections and in rare cases, surgery to remove the source of the pain.

Coccyx Pain Treatment Options

At BASIC, our goal is to provide each patient with a customized Tailbone Pain treatment plan that first attempts pain relief through the use of the least-invasive and most effective low-back pain treatment options first.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Low-Back Pain Medication

For some patients, treatment of Tailbone Pain with medication is enough to resolve the pain and is often a first step in the treatment of conditions affecting the coccyx. Depending on the condition causing the pain, medications may include non-aspirin pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen. For more severe inflammatory coccyx conditions, it may be necessary to treat the Tailbone Pain with prescription drugs such as Corticosteroids, or cortisone-like drugs that are used to treat the inflammation that is causing the pain. In rare cases, a morphine derivative may be necessary, but this is usually reserved for chronic Tailbone Pain.

Home Remedies

Ice for the first few days after a coccyx injury and heat thereafter can help to reduce swelling, pain, and muscle stiffness.

  • Avoid Sitting for Extended Periods – It may be easier to lie down rather than sitting for prolonged periods of time.
  • Sitting on a Doughnut Pillow – If sitting must occur while the coccyx heals from injury, either due to work or other factors donut pillows or other pillows with cushioning gel can take the pressure off of the coccyx.
  • Eating foods high in fiber to avoid constipation – Constipation can make Tailbone Pain worse. To avoid the straining effect caused by difficult bowel movements, introduce more fiber-rich foods into the diet. Patients may also want to consult with their doctor on the use of stool softeners to help ease the passage of bowel movements while the coccyx heals.

Surgical Treatments for Coccyx Pain

These treatments for Tailbone Pain can usually be performed on an out-patient basis, often with patients going home the same day.  Once more conservative treatments to relieve Tailbone Pain have been exhausted and adequate relief has not been achieved, the expert team at BASIC can help you understand and decide on any surgical coccyx pain treatment options that may be right for you.

Epidural Steroid Injections

More aggressive techniques to treat chronic Tailbone Pain include injecting lidocaine directly into the area in an effort to help reduce pain. However, this treatment can only be applied three times per year, and if the pain continues, a different coccyx pain treatment approach may be required.

Coccyxectomy Surgery

In extreme cases of coccyx pain, the surgical removal of the bone, called a coccygectomy, may be necessary. In fact, this surgery is so rare that it is often not included in the teaching curriculum for spinal surgeons. For this reason, you should find a surgeon who is trained and experienced in this procedure. The expert spine team at BASIC is experienced in coccyxectomy surgery for appropriate candidates. Although this surgery is relatively straight forward, it can require a long, difficult recovery period that may induce pain of its own.

Prolonged pain affecting the tailbone, especially if it hinders a person’s ability to function normally, should not be ignored as it can be a sign of an underlying condition.  While spine surgery is a last resort in most cases, if the pain is the result of a condition that isn’t resolving with conservative care, surgery may be the next best option.  Our board certified neurological and spine surgeons are committed to providing the most effective coccyx treatment options to get our patients back to living a pain free life.

Health Tips For Tailbone

  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Take frequent walks or standing breaks if necessary
  • Use a “doughnut pillow” to sit on during particularly problematic coccyx pain episodes
  • Be Weight Wise – higher than normal body weight can put undue strain 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

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