Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 24, 2019
It can feel great to sit back and relax after a long work day, but that’s not always the case for someone who is suffering from tailbone discomfort. Tailbone pain, medically known as coccydynia, can be mildly annoying or downright pain, and it can develop for a number of different reasons. Below, we take a look at why tailbone pain develops, and how it is best treated.
Causes and Symptoms of Tailbone Pain
To understand why tailbone pain develops, we have to learn a little bit about the base of your spine. At the end of your spine sits the coccyx or tailbone, which consists of a few small semi-fused spinal vertebrae. Like any other section of your spine, your tailbone is prone to degeneration, trauma and much more. Here’s a look at some of the causes of tailbone pain:
- External trauma, like falling and landing on your backside.
- Prolonged and repetitive sitting.
- Trauma from childbirth.
- Degenerative discs or joint problems.
- Hypermobility of the sacrococcygeal joint.
- Spinal infection.
- Development of bone spurs.
Symptoms of tailbone pain includes regionalized pain and discomfort, pain that radiates or that gets worse when seated, muscle weakness and numbness.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Tailbone Pain
The good news is that tailbone pain can oftentimes be treated without surgery from the comfort of your home. For cases of serious trauma, like if you fell from a great height and landed on your behind, or you were involved in a car accident, getting treatment from a spine specialist is probably your best bet. Same goes for if you’re experiencing continuing pain following childbirth. However, if your discomfort is mild to moderate, you can probably treat it at home. Some at home treatments include:
- Rear Cushion – Sitting on an extra cushion can help take pressure off your tailbone when seated.
- Ice/Heat – Cold and hot packs can help to decrease swelling and inflammation and increase blood flow to the area, so use as necessary.
- NSAIDs – Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help to provide some relief from discomfort.
- Exercise – Exercise helps to strengthen the muscles that support the coccyx, so not exercising will actually slow down your recovery following an injury to your tailbone.
- Rest – Exercise is important, but resting the area and giving it time to heal will also help you manage any discomfort.
More serious cases or fractures are best cared for by a spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi. He’ll examine the area, ask about your symptoms and then use an x-ray or another imaging tool to view the site and determine the underlying issue. Even if a fracture is present, treatment sometimes just involves a combination of the above tips and a little more time. In the event that the fracture is displaced, unlikely to heal correctly on its own or threatening the integrity of vital structures like your spinal cord, surgery to stabilize the site and address any issues may be necessary. This is rare, but Dr. Sinicropi can go over all your options should surgery become necessary.
For more information about treating tailbone issues, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.