Coccydynia is a condition in which the coccyx (tailbone) becomes inflamed due to injury. The ailment is five times more common in women than in men because women have a broader pelvis, and therefore tend to place more of their weight on the coccyx when seated. Women can also suffer from coccydynia during their premenstrual period. Many occurrences of Coccydynia have no known cause.
Coccydynia can be quite painful and can be difficult to diagnose because some of the symptoms imitate sacroiliitis, sciatica, pilonidal cysts, or buttock shingles. Most cases of Coccydynia resolve with conservative care but can become chronic in rare instances.
Coccydynia is often caused by a traumatic injury such as a backward fall, but can also be due to the following:
The main symptom of coccydynia is a dull, aching pain and tenderness in the area of the tailbone when sitting, which worsens upon standing. Having sex or a bowel movement can also trigger pain.
A physician diagnoses coccydynia by conducting a review of medical history and a physical exam. An MRI, CT scan, X-ray, and coccyx discogram are performed to validate the findings.
The primary treatment goals for coccydynia are to decrease pain by removing pressure from the tailbone and reducing muscle tension and inflammation. Care starts with medication for pain and inflammation, rest, a steroid injection, and heat or ice packs. Physical therapy is initiated next and includes activity modification, massage, stretching, and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS).
Manual manipulation by a chiropractor, osteopath, or physical therapist is often beneficial. Conservative measures are usually all that’s needed for complete pain resolution. In rare situations, if the condition becomes chronic, surgery for resection to remove the irritated bony section (coccygectomy) is necessary. Most people who experience coccydynia make a full recovery.
If you are experiencing tailbone pain and would like to find out about the treatment choices we offer, please schedule an appointment in our San Antonio, New Braunfels, or Seguin office.