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Tailbone Injury – Everything you Need to Know

Tailbone Injury – Everything you Need to Know


The tailbone or coccyx is the final segment of the vertebral column. Coccyx pain or discomfort can also be known as coccydynia. When it comes to a tailbone injury, most occur in women as the female pelvis is wider, leaving the coccyx bone more exposed. Most of injuries to the coccyx occur due to trauma, however, check out the list below for other causes of tailbone injuries.

Tailbone injury causes

  • A fall onto the tailbone in a seated position, usually onto a hard surface.
  • A direct blow to the tailbone, from a traumatic incident such as that from contact sport.
  • Repetitive straining or friction against the tailbone (that can happen in rowing and cycling) can cause coccyx pain.
  • The tailbone can also be injured during childbirth.
  • Other less common causes of tailbone pain include- bone spurs, tumors, local infection, compression of a nerve root and injuries to other part of the spine.

If you have unexplained pain or tenderness of the tailbone or worried about your pain, it is advisable to contact your GP.

Tailbone injury signs and symptoms

  • Severe pain and tenderness localised to the tailbone area.
  • Bruising or swelling may also be visible.
  • The pain is typically worse when sitting or when direct pressure is placed on the tailbone.
  • Straining or bowel movements may be painful.

Tips and treatment of tailbone pain

  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces. Leaning slightly forward may also help take the direct pressure off the tailbone.
  • Using a donut cushion to sit on may help with relieving pressure while sitting. A donut cushion has a hole in the middle to prevent the tailbone from direct contact on a flat surface. This is only advisable for people who have do not have skin pressure issues or vascular problems. Speak to your GP if your have any concerns.
  • Appropriate use of medication under the guidance of your GP and pharmacist will help reduce pain and improve your ability to move around.
  • For a traumatic injury of the tailbone using ice for the first couple of days may be helpful. You can apply ice for 10-15 minutes several times a day to relieve symptoms.
  • Eat foods high in fiber to soften stools and avoid excessive straining and constipation.

Contact the Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic today if you are experiencing tailbone pain for an individualised course of treatment. Our trained physiotherapists are experienced in treating tailbone pain and ready to help you feel more comfortable.

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