Tailbone (Coccyx) Injury

Overview, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

 

  • Tailbone Injury

  • Overview of Tailbone Injury

  • Causes of Tailbone Injury

  • Symptoms of Tailbone Injury

  • When to Get Medical Help?

  • Tests and Exams

  • Treatment of Tailbone Injury

  • Home Remedies

  • Medical Treatment

Overview of Tailbone Injury:

The tailbone injury also known as Coccyx Injury causes discomfort and pain in the area of the tailbone. This painful condition is known as coccydynia. These injuries also cause several other issues including dislocation, bruise, fractures, and tears in the coccyx. Although, the healing process is gradual it is easy to manage these injuries with the help of some cautious steps.

The vertebral column of the bottom has a bony triangular structure which is coccyx. This coccyx has three to five segments of bones connected by ligaments and joints. Majority of the tailbone injuries are reported in women as they have a broader pelvis so their coccyx has more exposure.

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Tailbone Pain
Tailbone Injury

Causes of Tailbone Injury:

Trauma to coccyx region is the most common reason behind most of the tailbone injuries. Other causes include:

  • A sudden shock or fall on the tailbone region while seated. This shock may come from the hard surface. This is the most frequent cause of this injury.

  • People who play contact sports may receive a quick blow to tailbone. This is also a frequent reason for injury.

  • Some women have been reported to have tailbone injury during the birth process.

  • In some cases, the cause of injury remains unknown.

  • Important but less common causes of tailbone injury are compression of nerve roots, local infection, and damages to different parts of the spine, bone spur and tumors.

Symptoms of Tailbone Injury:

You will face following signs if you have tailbone injury.

  • Tenderness and localized pain in the area of tailbone injury. This pain or tenderness could be frequent.

  • A bruise will appear in the injured area if a traumatic situation was involved.

  • The pain will be severe if you sit for several hours or put some pressure on the tailbone area.

  • Straining and bowel movements are also painful.

  • Some women usually report pain while having intercourse with their partners.

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When to Get Medical Help?

You must contact a doctor if you notice signs and symptoms of this injury. Also, if you have any unexplained pain or discomfort in this region then you should visit a hospital. The doctor must decide/diagnose the cause of injury. Traumatic or other reasons have a different effect on the severity and treatment of the tailbone injury.

In most cases, the patients of tailbone injury don’t need to visit hospital especially if the pain is mild. However, it would be better to see your physician in order to diagnose the injury or its severity after seeing several symptoms. The decision to visit the emergency department of a hospital depends on the severity of pain in the tailbone region.

 

Tests and Exams:

Your physical exam and medical history play a vital role in the determination of the causes of a tailbone injury. However, the doctors may choose X-rays to identify the minute tears or fractures.

  • The doctor may examine your spine especially the vertebral column. He may choose a neurological exam as well as a rectal exam. In order to check the severity, the doctor will insert his finger in the rectum. This technique used to see/feel the fracture or dislocation of the joints. It is also used to see the pressure absorption level of the coccyx.

  • Very rarely, the doctors may inject anesthesia in the coccyx bone. This technique used to see the area of pain. This technique is mostly used when the reason for tailbone injury is unknown but the patient feels discomfort. This confirms the area causing pain in the bottom.

  • The doctor may take an X-ray to determine the dislocation or fracture in the tailbone. Both seated and standing position X-rays are used to identify the location of the fracture.

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Treatment of Tailbone Injury:

Home Remedies:

As a matter of fact, the tailbone injuries are painful so it is important to use some home remedies having a potential to minimize the intensity of discomfort and pain in the injured area.

  • Avoid sitting for a longer period. Keep changing the sitting position on each buttock when using a seated chair. Never use a hard surface for sitting. Also, try to keep the body weight on thighs rather than putting pressure on the tailbone area.

  • Ice is important for the traumatic tailbone injury. Apply the coldest ice pack on the injured area for 15 or 20 minutes. Repeat the practice at least 4 times a day.

  • Try some NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin. This will be useful to reduce swelling or pain. It also helps the patients to move easily. People with kidney infections, gastrointestinal bleeding, and heart disorders should avoid NSAID’s. Contact with your doctor before you take these drugs. Your doctor will recommend better and safer alternatives such as acetaminophen.

  • Buy a doughnut cushion. You can also use the coldest pillow for support or to sit on.

  • Prefer high fiber foods in order to have soft stools. This helps to avoid constipation.

Medical Treatment:

Medical care which rarely includes surgery used by a doctor. He will advise several home remedies as mentioned above but it is necessary to continue medical treatments in order to reduce pain.

  • The doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers.

  • Stool softeners are usually prescribed by the doctors to ensure that the patient will never face constipation.

  • To control continuing pain, the doctors may use anesthetic injection in the tailbone.

  • Rarely, the coccyx is removed surgically.

Next Steps:

Follow-ups:

Your doctor will recommend the duration of follow-ups. He will choose the intensity of visiting clinic based on the severity of injury and progress. He will also evaluate the medical treatments with the passage of time.

  • People should stay at home and visit the doctor once or twice after starting tailbone injury treatment.

  • People having chronic tailbone injury, pain or inflammation required to see doctors frequently. On the other hand, a patient will also need to visit a doctor frequently if medical treatment doesn’t work for him.

Outlook:

  • Knowledge about causes of tailbone injury is essential for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Majority of the tailbone injury cases get healing within a few weeks.

  • A few patients suffer from chronic tailbone pain even after medical treatment.

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