Pain in Tailbone

Coccyx (tailbone) pain is a symptom that can mean a number of conditions. In fact, studies have shown that about one-third of the cases of coccydynia (tailbone pain) are unknown. The tailbone is made up of three to five small bones, held together by joints and ligaments that together form a triangular shape at the base of the vertebral column. Because of its triangular shape, the tailbone serves as a tripod base for humans when sitting. Injury to this part of the body can vary from mild to very serious and is a common symptom in a long list of medical conditions.

Symptoms of Coccydynia

Have you ever felt a painful pressure on the coccyx when you sit down? There is a possibility that the pain could be a sign of coccydynia. The pain can vary from mildly uncomfortable to excruciating, and is most commonly noticed when sitting down. Usually, coccydynia is caused by injury, falls, constant strain, cancer, surgery, and can be present from birth, although that is not usually common. The most frequent symptoms of tailbone pain are shooting pains from the tailbone through the legs, the feeling that you are sitting on a small marble that moves around, sharp pains from the tailbone up through the spine, pain during or before bowel movements, and sometimes pain during sexual intercourse can occur. Secondary symptoms can range from foot pain to lack of sleep and depression. Cases of tailbone pain are more common in women than men, and because of this, experiencing coccyx pain during the menstrual cycle is not uncommon.


Causes of Coccydynia

There are many causes of tailbone pain and sometimes the cause is unknown. However, coccydynia can always be treated, and usually, the problem is solved with surgery or other methods of treatment. There are the lucky individuals who experience tailbone pain for a few days/weeks/months before it suddenly disappears forever. To get a better look at what type of treatment is best, you should first being to understand the causes of tailbone pain.

First and most common is the bruised tailbone. This can happen from hard falls, athletic injury, or most any physical activity that ends in falling on one’s backside. Other causes are a misaligned or rigid coccyx, pilonidal cyst, bone spur on coccyx, calcium deposits, complications from previous surgeries, and sometimes cancer can be the culprit of tailbone pain.


Just as there are a number of symptoms and causes for coccydynia, there is also a wide range of treatment methods – all depending on the case and how bad the pain actually is. For example, a doctor may decide to treat calcium deposits or bone spurs with medication rather than surgery if the problem has not progressed too far yet. A bruised tailbone is usually only treated with pain medication, as this is an injury that simply has to heal on its own over time. There are some conditions involving tailbone pain that must be treated with surgery and more advanced medicine, however it entirely depends on the case, and the doctor’s recommendations.

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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