The coccyx, or tailbone, is the last bone of the vertebral column, and usually consists of three to five fused vertebrae that connect with the sacrum, a part of the pelvis. Pain in or around the coccyx is called coccygodynia, or tailbone pain. The pain usually radiates to the lower sacral and perineal areas of the body. Frequently affecting women more than men, the condition has both acute and chronic forms. Some believe that the syndrome has a significant psychological basis.
The most common symptom of coccygodynia is strong pain while sitting. Pain is often described as a burning pain in the rectal area. Beside pain, numbness could also occur in lower parts of the spine. In most cases, pain is aggravated by bowel movements, sexual intercourse or menstruation. Diagnosis of coccygodynia The most common method of diagnosis is definitely a radiographic imaging, which usually includes a lateral view of the coccyx. There are four radiographic types of pelvis: 1. With the coccyx curved slightly forward 2. Similar to type 1 with the tip almost pointing straightforward 3. The coccyx is sharply angled on the anterior side 4. Type with subluxation of either the sacrococcygeal joints or the coccygeal joint
Coccygodynia can be caused by a number of factors. Usually, patients report pain after a fall onto their buttocks. This is referred to as acute coccygodynia. Chronic coccygodynia, on the other hand, usually occurs after damage to the sacrococcygeal ligaments due to a difficult pregnancy, delivery, repeated trauma, or from repetitive strain from rowing, cycling or faulty posture while sitting. Some also cite anal intercourse as the cause of pain. In many cases, pain derives from a malformation of the coccyx itself. Sometimes bony spurs appear on the coccyx, but only seem to be painful in thin patients who do not have the padding to protect the region from the spur. Other causes of coccygodynia include cancer or damage to the sacrum that generates referred pain, meaning pain that appears in one region but originates from another. Muscle strain or tension, pinched nerves or damaged nerves, or dislocation of the coccyx due to gross obesity are additional causes.
Treatment for coccygodynia is essentially simple non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and avoidance of body weight coming on your coccyx. This is difficult to practice. A smart way of doing this is to sit on one buttock so that coccyx does not touch the cushion. If you have a sitting job you could sit between two cushions so that your coccyx comes between the gap of two cushions. The catch is this needs to be continued for two, three months before you feel any change.