What is coccydynia?

Coccydynia is a form of tailbone pain that is described as pain in the area of the tail bone or coccyx. This condition is quite common among women than men.

Important Note: the material posted on this page on coccydynia is for educational purposes only. If you think you have pain in this area of your body consult a medical professional. To learn to recognize and manage joint, muscle, nerve and bone pain you can take a first aid course (register here).

Symptoms

The symptoms of coccydynia usually include pain in the coccyx or tailbone right at the base of the spine. The pain tends to worsen during or after being seated as well as being uncomfortable for a number of days. The pain in the coccyx can worsen when the individual sits on a soft surface since less of the pressure is taken by the ischial tuberosities and more pressure is placed on the coccyx. There is a piercing pain felt when the individual moves from sitting to standing position.

Coccydynia

The symptoms of coccydynia usually include pain in the coccyx or tailbone right at the base of the spine.

Causes of coccydynia

Coccydynia can be instigated by an unstable coccyx in which over time will lead to chronic inflammation. Direct trauma or falls on the base of the spine are also common causes. Constant strain or overuse particularly during certain activities such as rowing or cycling can increase the risk of pain on the coccyx bone.

Muscle tightness or spasm in the pelvic muscles, piriformis as well as the adductor magnus muscles and gluteus maximus can lead to pain and can be distinctive since it eases once the individual sits instead of getting worse. Other possible causes include complications after a surgical procedure as well as childbirth.

Treatment for coccydynia

The individual with coccydynia should avoid sitting down if possible. Remember that sitting is likely to worsen the injury and disrupt the healing process. If the individual has to sit down, utilize a cushion built with a hole in the center in order to accommodate the coccyx and relieve the pressure.

Apply hot or cold therapy to the affected area. Some doctors usually advise the use of hot therapy along with some cold application. There are various approaches that are successful for some than others.  When it comes to an unstable coccyx, the injury typically heals on its own over a span of weeks or months.  A doctor should be consulted so that an accurate diagnose can be given and start the appropriate treatment.

When a doctor is consulted

It is important to note that physiotherapy usually involves stretching exercises and massage on the affected muscles around the coccyx including the piriformis. Relaxation and strengthening exercises for the pelvic floor are often given. When dealing with pain linked to muscle spasm, it is recommended that the individual will undergo deep tissue massage to relieve the tension as well as ease the trigger points. In addition, stretching can also help.

In some cases, a steroid injection is oftentimes given for coccydynia. This provides permanent or temporary relief for a span of several months. Take note that the last resort is no other than surgery that involves the removal of the coccyx which is successful in most circumstances.

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