Tail bone or the coccyx is the last bone of the vertebral column. The tailbone is the triangular bony structure located at the bottom of the vertebral column between the buttocks.It is composed of three to five bony segments held in place by joints and ligaments. Pain in the area of the tailbone or coccyx is termed as coccydynia or coccygodynia.
Tailbone Pain Causes
Tailbone pain might start after something as simple as sitting on a hard bench or other uncomfortable surface for a long period of time. Falls and other traumas can bruise, dislocate, or break tailbone resulting in pain.
Joint damage from repetitive motions or general wear and tear from aging can also contribute to tailbone pain. Being an overweight person you’re more prone to tailbone pain. But if you lose the weight quickly, you’ll lose the padding that protects your tailbone and you may be more likely to injure it.
Tailbone pain during Pregnancy
During the last trimester of pregnancy, the ligaments connected to and around the coccyx naturally loosen or get lax to make room for the baby to deliver. This is the reason that why women are about five times more likely to experience tailbone pain than men.
Tailbone Sign and Symptoms
Signs and Symptoms of coccydynia include focal pain and tenderness at the tailbone. Tailbone pain can feel dull and achy but typically becomes sharp during certain activities, such as sitting, rising from a sitting to a standing position.
Tailbone pain usually goes away on its own within a few weeks or months but it becomes chronic if get untreated. Defecation and sex also might become painful. For females, tailbone pain can make menstruation uncomfortable too.
Tailbone Treatment at home with home remedies
Coccyx pain can often be extremely painful and debilitating, so home care is aimed at controlling the pain and avoiding further irritation to the coccyx. The vast majority of cases of coccyx pain can be managed at home. Some of the home remedies are described below:
Avoid certain activities in order to minimize exacerbation of tailbone pain. Examples include prolonged sitting (e.g., long car or airplane rides), bike riding, horseback riding, and canoeing.
The way you sit also matters. Poor posture can put too much pressure on your coccyx. Sit with your back against the chair and your feet flat on the floor to take the weight off your tailbone. Lean forward when you go to sit down.
Avoid sitting down on hard surfaces for long periods of time. When sitting on hard surfaces, alternate sitting on each side of the buttocks.Some special cushions have sections cut out for people who suffer from tailbone pain. These cushions make for a comfortable seat and ensure that you keep your tail bone safe.Sit on a special donut-shaped pillow or wedge-shaped cushion to relieve pressure on that sensitive area.
Application of Heat and Ice
For traumatic injuries, apply ice to the tailbone area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day, for the first few days after the injury when the injury is in acute stage. Apply heat when it gets chronic. Sitting in a tub filled with hot water for few minutes daily can bring relief from the pain.
Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce pain and swelling. These over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can be effective and purchased at any pharmacy or drugstore
High Fiber Diet
Eat foods high in fiber to soften stools and avoid constipation, which can sometimes cause worsening pain in the coccyx area.Consume enough fiber foods and fluids. This will also provide nutrients that help in healing injuries
Physical therapy may be recommended and helpful for some individuals.Exercises involving strengthening of abdominals and pelvic floor muscles are recommended. Therapeutic Ultrasound at the level of coccyx is also effective for pain relief. Gentle stretching of the ligaments surrounding the coccyx can also be helpful.
Masseurs and chiropractors can help ease tailbone pains. Tell your masseur about the pain and your condition, so that he/she know what specific area to concentrate and massage on.
Till injury is healed, avoid wearing heels and wear only flat surfaced comfortable footwear is recommended.
Rest and Recovery
If it turns out that you have a tailbone fracture, there is no cast that can be placed on the tailbone. You will just have to rest and avoid any strenuous activities for about eight to 12 weeks.
Sleep On Stomach
Sleeping on the stomach or the side is a good way of alleviating tailbone pain. Try lying down as it doesn’t apply direct pressure to the tailbone.
Pelvic muscles are usually connected to the tail bones and it should be remembered that any movement will lead to tailbone pain. Pelvic floor are the group of muscles that are involved during sexual intercourse. Avoid pain inducing activities like having sex.