Coccydynia refers to a syndrome characterized by pain and tenderness in the tailbone or coccyx (group of vertebrae at the base of the spine). Coccydynia, which literally means “coccyx pain,” is not a single condition, but rather a term that describes a cluster of symptoms that could be caused by a variety of physical ailments. Most causes of coccydynia are caused by a traumatic fracture or injury to the coccyx or pelvic bones.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE COCCYDYNIA?
Coccydynia is almost always caused by trauma to the tailbone. This trauma occurs when a person falls onto a hard surface, the coccyx is directly hit during contact sports or activities, or during repetitive movement such as bicycling or rowing. Childbirth can also cause women to experience coccydnia, as the tailbone can be fractured or injured during the childbirth process. Coccydnia is most commonly characterized by pain when applying pressure to the tailbone and is exacerbated by sitting in hard chairs, additional blows to the tailbone or other instances that place pressure on the area.
Symptoms may include sharp, shooting pains radiating from the tailbone or a dull, throbbing ache originating in that same region. Other symptoms include severe, debilitating pain when moving from a seated to standing position. People with coccyx issues also frequently report pain during sex and painful bowel movements. Women are more likely to experience discomfort than men, although the underlying reasons for this association remain unclear.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT TREATMENT FOR ME?
Our doctors begin by recommending relatively conservative treatments for coccydynia for a period of six weeks, as they are frequently effective in relieving pain. Treatment options include physical therapy, cortisone injections and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding hard surfaces or using a therapeutic sitting cushion. Coccygeal manipulation is recommended in some cases, which is when the coccyx is manually moved back into proper alignment to reduce stress on the bone.
In more extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to control the pain. A coccygectomy is a surgery that involves the removal of the entire coccyx to eliminate problems caused by pressure on tailbone area.