Published on August 22, 2013
A tailbone injury, also referred to as a coccyx injury, is usually the result of a trauma, fall, or degenerative changes to the buttocks region. In women a coccyx injury can also result from pregnancy and labor.
The coccyx is a triangular-shaped small bone at the end of your sacrum. You can feel this bone when sitting on a hard surface or by placing your hand into the crevice of your buttocks region. Curved in the shape of a “C”, the tail bone is typically the fusion of 3-5 small vertebrae at the end of the spine. Since it serves as an attachment site for several ligaments and muscles and since this area as well as the genitalia area are highly innervated with nerves that exit the spine, this region is especially sensitive.
Pain in the tailbone is often referred to as coccydynia. Tailbone pain can be so severe that it impairs sitting and the area becomes highly sensitive to pressure and touch. Since the region cannot be immobilized and yet is involved in all of your daily movements, from walking to sitting to bathroom breaks, a tailbone facture can take a particularly long time to heal.
Tailbone Injury Treatment
Treatment of a coccyx fracture or coccyx injury should consist of rest, ice, and alleviating pressure. To help alleviate pressure, use a “donut” seat cushion to prevent compressing the area. Avoid leaning back when sitting since this places extra pressure on the tailbone. Some people find it more comfortable to sit in a forward position with their donut seat in order to alleviate pressure.
Ideally, tailbone injury treatment should consist of an integrated model of care which combines manual therapy, acupuncture for pain, and inflammation relief. Soft tissue therapy and massage therapy are also effective in easing tail bone pain, while mobilization of the sacrum may also be helpful. In addition, you can gain relief from tailbone injuries by stretching the posterior chain – that is, the hamstrings, flutes, and low back.
If your tailbone pain or pain from your tailbone fracture gets worse, or if there is no root cause for your pain, schedule a medical checkup as soon as possible. Your physician may do a rectal examination or imaging to rule other conditions which may be causing your coccyx pain.