Coccydynia is pain in the tailbone. The main symptom of coccydynia is tenderness paired with a dull, achy pain in the tailbone area, at the very bottom of the spine, between the buttocks. This pain often gets worse when sitting or leaning against your backside.
Coccydynia can be a hard condition to diagnose since many disorders mimic the symptoms and type of pain that is present with coccydynia. It is important to see your doctor if you notice any coccydynia symptoms to make sure you rule out these other conditions.
You should see your doctor if you have symptoms of coccydynia, or a pain in your lower back that lasts for more than a few days.
Although coccydynia is not considered to be a serious condition, there are many other conditions that can cause the same symptoms of coccydynia, and may be more serious (such as a tailbone, hip, or spinal fracture). It is important for you to see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out other conditions or begin treatment right away, especially in cases where they may be more serious.
You should call your doctor immediately if you have pain in the tailbone and any of the following other symptoms:
- A sudden increase in swelling or pain
- Constipation that lasts a long time
- Sudden numbness, weakness, or tingling in either or both legs
- The inability to control your bowels or bladder
Other conditions that may feel like coccydynia, but are not, include:
- Sciatica [sy-AH-tik-uh]
- Sacroiliitis [SAH-krow-il-IY-tis]
- Broken bone, such as a broken tailbone
- Infections, for example, shingles of the buttocks
- Pilonidal [py-LON-dee-uhl] cysts
Most of the time, coccydynia is caused by an injury or other trauma to the tailbone, which causes inflammation.
In rare cases, there may be no real injury or trauma to the tailbone, and this condition may seem to appear on its own, without any real cause.
Your doctor will most likely diagnose coccydynia based on your symptoms, as well as a physical exam of the area where the pain is.
Your doctor may also run tests for other conditions that have similar symptoms to coccydynia in order to rule out a more serious condition.
A tailbone injury can be painful, and very slow and difficult to heal. Many people find pain relief from home treatments. Over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help reduce coccyx inflammation that is causing pain.
You may also find pain relief from sitting on a heating pad or an ice pack several times a day. Spinal manipulation, massage, stretching exercises, or small amounts of electrical stimulation on the painful area are other nonsurgical treatments that could help you feel better.
Coccydynia requires rest and protection to properly heal. Your doctor may ask you to:
- Stop certain activities that could make your coccydynia worse.
- Use a padded seat cushion that looks like a donut, which will allow you to sit without putting any weight on the tailbone.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time to help prevent pain or additional damage to the tailbone.
As your tailbone heals, your doctor may request that you see a physical therapist to help with treatment and recovery.
If your coccydynia becomes persistent, meaning that it does not go away or does not respond to treatment, your doctor may also call for cortisone [CORE-tih-zone] injections, which can help reduce chronic (lasting) pain and resolve the symptoms of coccydynia. You may also benefit from a numbing injection that calms the nerves causing the pain.
In very rare cases, the coccyx pain does not go away with treatment. In these cases, your doctor may recommend surgery, where the bony point on the coccyx is removed to help fix the problem. These cases are very rare, though, and most cases of coccydynia respond to nonsurgical treatment.
Most people diagnosed with coccydynia are able to make a full recovery as long as they follow their doctor’s orders for treatment.
Because most cases of coccydynia are related to an injury of the tailbone, the best way to prevent coccydynia is to avoid injury or trauma to the tailbone, which might happen in car accidents or while playing sports.
Coccydynia [KAH-kih-DYE-nee-UH] is pain in the tailbone, or coccyx [KAH-syks], that is usually the result of inflammation in the tailbone. The coccyx is the small bone located at the very bottom of your spine.
Coccydynia can cause tenderness and a dull or achy pain in the low back or tailbone area. It is often caused by some sort of injury or other trauma [TRAW-mah] to the tailbone or pelvic bone.
Most of the time, coccydynia pain is only felt at the tip of the tailbone, located very low on the spine, between the buttocks. Often the pain is made worse by sitting.
Pain for coccydynia can be managed with treatments such as:
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen [ay-byoo-PRO-fehn] or naproxen [nah-PROKS-ehn]
- Using supportive pillows
- Modifying your activity
- Applying hot or cold packs
- Getting a cortisone [COR-tih-zone] or numbing injection
Coccydynia can be a tricky condition to diagnose since there are many disorders that mimic the symptoms and type of pain that is present with coccydynia. It is important to see your doctor if you notice any coccydynia symptoms to rule out these other conditions.