Tailbone (Coccyx) Injury: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
The coccyx is a triangular bony structure at the bottom of the vertebral column. The most common cause is a fall onto the tailbone while seated, usually against a hard surface. Tailbone injuries are slow to heal but can be treated with caution.
Bone spurs, compression of nerve roots, and injuries to other parts of the spine are less common causes of coccyx injuries. For traumatic injuries, apply ice to the tailbone area for 15-20 minutes for the first few days. NSAIDS such as aspirin or ibuprofen can re-injure the coccyx.
How do you know if you have broken your coccyx bone?
A broken tailbone can cause the following symptoms:
- An almost constant dull pain in the very low back, just above the buttocks.
- Pain that worsens when sitting and when standing up from a sitting position.
- Swelling around the tailbone.
- Pain that worsens during bowel movements.
Will a broken tailbone heal on its own?
Physical therapy, exercises, and a special cushion can all help ease the pain and speed recovery from a broken or bruised coccyx. See your doctor if the pain is severe, or if you’re having trouble with bowel movements or urination. Surgery is only required in about 10% of cases.
When should I go to the doctor for tailbone pain?
If you have pain in your tailbone and any of the other symptoms listed below, call your doctor right away. Sudden swelling or pain. Prolonged constipation. Sudden numbness, weakness, or tingling in one or both legs.
Is a broken coccyx serious?
Tailbone fractures are likely to cause pain, swelling, and bruising, which can be especially painful when sitting or having a bowel movement. However, most tailbone fractures are not medical emergencies; seek treatment from your healthcare provider.
How serious is tailbone pain?
Tailbone pain is usually not serious, but it can be a sign of an injury or, in very rare cases, cancer. You may have an X-ray or an MRI scan to look for signs of injury, such as a bone fracture or a tumor pressing on the bone.
Is Coccydynia permanent?
Coccydynia is commonly reported after a fall or childbirth, and in some cases, persistent pressure from activities such as bicycling can cause coccyx pain to develop. Coccydynia caused by these causes is usually not permanent, but it can become very persistent and chronic if not controlled.
How long are you sore after a fall?
Recovery time varies depending on the severity of the injury; for a mild strain, you may be able to resume normal activities in three to six weeks with basic home care; for more severe strains, recovery can take months, and surgical repair and physical therapy may be required.
What is the fastest way to heal a sore tailbone?
- Rest and avoid any physical activity that causes pain
- Ice your tailbone for about 20 minutes every hour while awake for the first 48 hours, then 2 to 3 times a day.
- When sitting, use a cushion or gel donut.
Why is my tailbone swollen and hurts?
External Trauma: A bruised, broken, or dislocated coccyx caused by a fall. Internal Trauma: Trauma caused by a difficult childbirth or from sitting on a narrow or hard surface for an extended period of time. Others: Infection, abscess, and tumors.
What type of doctor do I see for tailbone pain?
When Should I See a Doctor for Tailbone Pain? If your tailbone pain persists, you should see a hip surgeon. Your orthopedist may perform an examination to rule out other possibilities, such as a fracture, degenerative conditions, or even a tumor in the tailbone area.
How do you fix a broken tailbone at home?
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- Apply heat or ice to the affected area.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), or aspirin.
How do you fix a dislocated coccyx?
Physical therapy, steroid injections into the joint, manual treatments, surgical treatment of pinning the sacrum and coccyx together, and coccygectomy are some of the treatment options , , .
Can I exercise with a broken tailbone?
Exercises that flex the spine, tuck the pelvis under, and make small pulsing motions should be avoided after a coccyx injury.