What is Coccydynia?
Coccydynia is a generic term that describes any pain that originates in the tailbone area. It is usually a localized pain. It may get worse when you sit down or engage in any activity that puts pressure on your tailbone. Coccydynia is more common in women than in men. It can be suffered by people of any age. You may also see coccydynia referred to as coccygodynia, coccygeal pain, coccyx pain or coccyalgia.
What Causes Coccydynia?
Coccydynia is most often caused by direct trauma to the tailbone area, such as a fall. People may also experience coccydynia as a result of a tumor that presses against the tailbone. Some women experience it during pregnancy.
In some people, tailbone pain is caused by limited movement in the area that causes the tailbone to jut outward when sitting. Other people have too much mobility in the joints around the tailbone, which can pull on the pelvic floor muscles that attach to the coccyx (tailbone). In some rare cases, the sacrococcygeal joint may become dislocated from the back or front of the tailbone.
Symptoms of Coccydynia
Tailbone pain is typically localized. You will feel pain and tenderness in the area of the tailbone, but it will not radiate into your pelvis or legs. The pain is typically an aching soreness that can range from mild to severe. Pain may come and go or be constant. You may feel a general tightness in the area.
The pain of coccydynia is often worse when weight is placed on the tailbone, such as when someone sits or leans back in a sitting position. Sitting on uncushioned surfaces may make the pain worse. Some individuals feel increased pain during bowel movements or during sexual intercourse. The pain may also get worse when moving from a sitting to standing position.
In many people, the pain goes away without any medical intervention. However, if you have been suffering for a few weeks or if your pain is severe, it is time to seek medical help.
A medical history that includes information about when the symptoms began is the first step to diagnosing coccydynia sources. You will also be asked questions about environmental and lifestyle factors that can lead to tailbone pain.
A physical exam will be performed to check for tenderness and range of movement. An intrarectal exam may be performed to see if you have limited or excessive mobility around the tailbone. Diagnostic tests such as X-rays or MRIs can help determine the cause of coccyx pain.
Nine out of ten people who suffer from tailbone pain get better without surgery. Modifying your activities, paired with noninvasive treatments, is usually most effective. Applying ice may help with pain and swelling in the first few days after the pain starts. Later on, heat may relieve muscle tension that can exacerbate coccyx pain.
Medication such as NSAIDs can help with pain relief as well as reducing inflammation.
Dietary changes such as increasing fiber and water intake can help relieve pain during elimination. Supportive pillows can reduce pain when you have to sit down. Changing your everyday activities while you are healing can help relieve pain and help you start healing. Massage, chiropractic, and physical therapy can help with pain relief and healing. Injections of corticosteroids can also be effective when treating coccyx pain.