Tailbone Pain : Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
What is Tailbone Pain?
Do you find it painful when sitting down? Pain on the butt is medically known as tailbone pain, coccydynia or coccygodynia. A number of people are suffering from this condition. However, they are not really able to distinguish pain coming from the coccyx and that which originates from the muscles of the buttocks. Tailbone pain is prominently felt when one is sitting down because pressure is confined at this area. Relief is often found through standing and making short strides. Get to know something more about the causes, treatment and prevention of tailbone pain.
There are several conditions that would lead to the development of tailbone pain. It is often very difficult to differentiate tailbone pain from buttocks pain because of its anatomical location. The possible causes of tailbone pain include the following:
Childbirth – During normal spontaneous vaginal delivery, the head of the fetus may be exerting pressure directly towards the coccyx triggering a painful sensation. Childbirth also causes fracture to the coccyx which may also be one of the reasons of tailbone pain.
Accidental Fall – Accidentally falling in a sitting position results to a direct blow to the coccyx causing pain. Coccyx fracture is also possible.
Surgery – Surgeries involving the coccygeal area may also likely result to coccyx pain.
Tumor – The presence of tumor around the coccyx creates pressure to it and the surrounding blood vessels and nerves resulting to tailbone pain.
Infection– The presence of infection in the coccyx also results to tailbone pain because of the ongoing inflammatory process.
There are many other reasons for experiencing tailbone pain. At times, one just suffers from tailbone pain without any known cause and this can be termed as idiopathic tailbone pain.
Pain is considered to be the primary manifestation of tailbone pain, as the name suggests. However, pain is usually felt in varied movements such as:
1. Pain when sitting down
2. Pain upon changing from sitting position to standing position
3. Pain upon bowel movement
4. Pain during sexual intercourse
5. Women may also experience tailbone pain during their menstrual period
6. Pain also has the tendency to radiate to the legs
7. Pain may also be generalized to the area which surrounds the coccyx
Risk Factors :-
There are also several factors which amplify ones risk of developing tailbone pain such as:
-> Certain medications
-> Bone disorders like osteoporosis
-> Engaging in sports (especially contact sports like football, rugby, et cetera)
-> Inflammatory conditions like arthritis
Whenever you have noted pain on the tailbone, do not have a second thought in consulting your doctor. Early detection plays an important role in treating tailbone pain. Imaging studies are usually required to help diagnose tailbone pain. This would help rule out the possibility of having tumor near the coccyx. However, when the x-ray findings come out negative, an MRI of the coccyx has to be done further so as to confirm the possible cause of tailbone pain. Other imaging studies such as CT scan and ultrasound are useless in the diagnosis of tailbone pain because the results of both would most likely be negative.
Several tips are found helpful in relieving tailbone pain. The common treatments of tailbone pain include the following:
Pain medications – NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) and other pain medications are often effective in dealing with tailbone pain.
Coccyx cushion– One may also use coccyx cushion to relieve the pressure that builds up around the coccyx especially when sitting.
Cortisone injection– For tailbone pain that does not seem to resolve with the conventional modes of treatment, cortisone injection may be indicated by the doctor. The advantage of utilizing cortisone injection in treating tailbone pain is that this helps control the pain for a longer period and its desired effect is achieved almost immediately.
Physical therapy– A chiropractor may help relieve tailbone pain through manipulation of the ligaments around the coccyx.
Ultrasound treatment– This form of treatment has also been found effective in dealing with tailbone pain because this helps relieve inflammation.
Coccygectomy– Surgery is often the last resort for tailbone pain that does not seem to resolve with the previously mentioned treatment modalities. Coccygectomy involves the removal of the coccyx. However, it is somewhat risky to undergo coccygectomy because just like any type of surgery, this is invasive. The entire procedure can be done in an outpatient basis though and would take about an hour or less to complete. The pitfall of this procedure is that this may take around 6 months or more to heal. While the operative site has not fully healed yet, one may still experience pain. The good thing is that once this has fully resolved, you will be a lifetime free of tailbone pain.
How to Prevent Tailbone Pain :-
You do not have to worry though because there are a number of ways in which you can prevent tailbone pain. Here are a few of those:
1. Avoid sitting for long hours so as to reduce the pressure on your lower back. If you choose to do so, you may use a coccyx cushion to prevent the development of tailbone pain.
2. You may also opt to enroll yourself in an exercise program. Your trainer would usually introduce to you exercise routines that would help strengthen the muscles around the tailbone; thus, reducing the chance of suffering from tailbone pain.
These are just some of the things that you should learn about tailbone pain. When symptoms still persist, do not have a second thought in consulting your doctor because tailbone pain may be associated with other serious pathologies.