The Impact For Tailbone Pain

Symptoms and diagnosis for Tailbone Pain
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By Orthopaedic and Neurology Clinic

Tailbone pain info

What is a Tailbone Pain? 

Tailbone pain is at the base of the spine and contains sections of bone fused in a triangular shape. The tailbone provides support when a person sits down. Such pain usually leads to inflammation surrounding the coccyx which is also known as coccydynia.

The tailbone also has several ligaments, tendons, and muscles attached to it. Tailbone pain might have started hurting after sitting on a hard bench or other uncomfortable surface for a long period of time. Falls and other traumas can bruise, dislocate, or break your tailbone.

Joint damage from repetitive motions or general wear and tear from aging can also contribute to tailbone pain.

What are some symptoms of a tailbone pain?

Tailbone pain often feels like a dull, achy pain at the base of the spine or between the buttocks. The pain may get worse when sitting or placing pressure around the bone.

The pain is often worse directly after the injury and eases over time.

The symptoms may include:

  • pain when sitting or leaning on the area around the tailbone
  • pain when standing up from a seated position
  • pain when standing for long periods
  • pain during bowel movements
  • pain in and around the tailbone during sex

If you are having any of these symptoms, especially weakness, numbness, tingling, or bladder or bowel problems, see our specialist right away.

“If you sit on a hard chair or hard surface for too long, you may feel pain in your tailbone. It can also happen when you’re driving or if on a heavily cushioned surface if you’re in awkward position.”

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What types of diagnosis?

Our doctor may ask and conduct one or more of the following tests to determine being caused and how it can best be alleviated:

    • Physical examination. Our doctor will include testing your muscle strength and reflexes. He might also ask you to do some stretching and moving exercises to determine which activities cause more pain.
    • X-rays. Our doctor will compare the X-ray images and measure the angle of pelvic rotation as well as the coccyx’s change in position from sitting to standing. If these measurements are outside of the normal range (between 5 and 25 degrees), too much or too little coccygeal movement can be identified as the cause of pain..
    • MRI, CT scan. A static image of the coccyx taken by MRI or CT scan (one that does not illustrate pelvic rotation or movement) may be used if the suspected cause of pain is a fracture, tumor, or abnormal mobility of the sacrococcygeal joint. Static images, however, are usually not helpful for diagnosing coccydynia and are used sparingly when a source of coccydynia cannot be clearly identified using other means.
    • Blood test.In rare cases, routine blood tests are obtained to rule out the possibility of an infection or tumor. A doctor may also order a guaiac stool test to determine if the issue has its origin in the gastrointestinal tract.

Possible treatment methods?

The treatment of back pain depends entirely on the cause of the problem. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you understand the cause of your symptoms before embarking on a treatment program. If you are unsure of your diagnosis, or the severity of your condition, you should seek medical advice before beginning any treatment.

Physical therapy

Our therapist will apply heat, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation — as well as some muscle-release techniques to the back muscles and soft tissues — may help alleviate pain.

As the pain improves, our physical therapist may introduce some flexibility and strength exercises for the back and abdominal muscles. Techniques for improving posture may also help.

The patient will be encouraged to practice the techniques regularly, even after the pain has gone, to prevent tailbone pain recurrence.

Medication for Tailbone Pain

Depending on the type of tailbone pain you have, our doctor might recommend the following:

  • Pain relievers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs might relieve acute tailbone pain.
  • Muscle relaxants. If mild to moderate tailbone pain doesn’t improve with pain relievers, our doctor might also prescribe a muscle relaxant. Muscle relaxants can make you dizzy and sleepy.
  • Injections. If other measures don’t relieve your pain, and if your pain radiates down your leg, our doctor may inject an anti-inflammatory medication.

TENS

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) units use electrical stimulation to interfere with pain signals traveling to the brain.

TENS machines can help people keep their medication intake to a minimum and have very few side effects.

Surgery

Typically, our specialist only consider surgery on the tailbone if the non-surgical options have not improved the pain.

Tailbone surgery typically includes removing part or all of the tailbone. This type of surgery is called a coccygectomy.

Our surgeon will carry out a coccygectomy under anesthetic. Our doctor will make a small cut over the tailbone and release the ligaments, tendons, and muscles attached to the tailbone before removing the bone.

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