FAQ’s on Coccydynia

What is Coccydynia?

Coccydynia, better known as tailbone pain, is an inflammation of the tailbone (the coccyx) most commonly as the result of injury. There are many potential injuries that can occur to the coccyx which will produce symptomatic pain for the patient. While the healing process for coccydynia can be extensive, many patients will be able to achieve a full recovery with careful treatment of their condition. Coccydynia is seen most often in women, as their coccyx is generally both larger and more exposed than a mans.

What are the causes of Coccydynia?

Nearly all causes of coccydynia occur from trauma to the coccyx. The largest, most commonly occurring, form of trauma is impact to the area from having fallen down onto a hard surface. Trauma can also consist of a direct impact to the area from an outside force, such as what occurs when a patient receives a blow during a sporting activity. Other common causes include repetitive friction placed onto the coccyx, or if patients perform actions that may repeatedly strain the area (found most often in cyclists).

Coccydynia also has a number of less common symptoms including the formation of bone spurs due to arthritis, compression of one or more nerve roots, infection of the area resulting in swelling, and pain occurring from a spinal injury. Women also face an individual cause that can occur during childbirth, as injury may be sustained as the child is birthed.

What are the symptoms of Coccydynia?

The largest symptom of coccydynia, and the strongest indicator that is it present, is pain localized to the tailbone that may worsen if the patient sits. Tenderness of the area is also likely, with pain becoming more severe if the area is touched. Patients may also have visible bruising on their tailbone in cases where the cause of injury was direct impact to the area. In some cases, where coccydynia is severe and producing large amounts of swelling, patients may experience difficult in passing a bowel movement.

One important note of coccydynia is that pain felt in the tailbone may be indicative of other, more severe, conditions being present. Patients are strongly encouraged to contact a Jacksonville physician in order to receive proper diagnosis and treatment in order to prevent potentially threatening effects.

How is Coccydynia diagnosed?

There is an established diagnosis process for coccydynia, with physicians able to identify the condition based on visible symptoms. Patients will be examined thoroughly for any signs of injury to the area, with many patients being given a test of their tender spots which can assist in indicating potential causes. Patients will also be examined for the presence of other conditions which could be producing the symptoms being experienced. One common condition that can produce similar symptoms is shingles, which can be ruled out by the simple fact that it causes a visible rash on the patient while coccydynia doesn’t.

What are the treatment options for Coccydynia?

The largest factor in the successful treatment of coccydynia is whether or not pressure can be kept off the area. Using items to reduce the pressure placed on the tailbone while sitting, such as padded cushions, is strongly encouraged for patients. Also encouraged is to avoid sitting for extended periods of time. For patients who have symptoms that are not fading, or if the symptoms become worse, clinical care should be sought immediately.

Medication can be used for pain relief, with direct pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications used to assist with swelling providing the most relief. Patients with persistent or severe symptoms may be given a cortisone injection for extended relief. In very extreme cases, patients may require corrective surgery to obtain symptomatic relief.