The medical term used to describe
pain experienced in the region of the coccyx is Coccydinia.
The coccyx is the tailbone which is positioned at the bottom
of the spine below the sacrum. It is quite a common complaint
which occurs most frequently in women than men.
What Causes Coccydinia?
Most cases of coccydinia happen
as a result of childbirth. The labour and delivery can cause
force to build up at the bottom of the spine and can cause
the immediate tissues to become painful and somewhat bruised.
Trauma can also cause this, for example a person falling roughly
on the area because of a fracture or displacement or even
because of referred pain from a lower back disorder. There
have been reports of coccydinia in people who on a regular
basis undertake sports such as cycling where repetitive strain
may be to blame.
Signs and Symptoms
Coccydinia may at first be
felt as a dull ache derived from lower back pain. It may come
about during or most probably after delivery of a baby, it
can also be sudden if a fall or fracture is to blame. The
pain may be constant and feel as though it is not being relieved
as sitting can make it worse.
Treatments for Coccydinia
There are a range of treatments
that may be successful in reducing the pain caused by this
condition and how successful these treatments are may differ
depending on the source and the intensity of the pain experienced.
For some people simple pain relief may be all they need if
pain is short lived, due for example after a little fall or
Others may need an local anaesthetic
and steroid injections to the area if pain is longer term.
These injections may be given in hospital as a day patient
under X-ray guidance or may even be obtainable by your GP
depending on their speciality. Physiotherapy or osteopathy
could help if the coccyx has become displaced, while surgery
may be necessary for those who have suffered a fracture of
Before treatment is started
it is advised that an accurate diagnosis of coccydinia is
made as it can imitate symptoms of other disorders such as
shingles. If you suspect its shingles or have a rash, please
get medical advice for a confirmed diagnosis.
For people who suffer from
severe pain, investing in a well padded cushion for use during
sitting activities may be worth it, or by simply using a pillow.
Your sitting position may also need correcting to increase
your comfort so selecting the right chair is also very important.
Try and keep away from surfaces which are hard or deep seated
sofas as these will raise the pressure on the area. For those
who suffered this complaint as a result of childbirth, discuss
this with your midwife in the result of any further pregnancies.
Alternative birthing positions may be able to be practiced.
Coccydinia, although it is
somewhat common it is still not talked about very much. It
is often long term and related to lower back pain; that may
be because of a displacement or fracture of the coccyx, which
is why a proper diagnosis and treatment plan will be needed.