Coccydynia is the fancy term for a sore tailbone. When you have tailbone pain it is especially painful to sit down. It can be caused by several different things but often coccydynia is associated with falling on your behind or other events such as giving birth. It can also be referred pain from the low back, pelvic joints and surrounding muscles or in some cases there are no obvious reasons.
Coccydynia is more common in women, which is attributed to the difference in the female pelvis leaving the tailbone more exposed. Often those complaining with coccydynia describe dull/achy pain or sometimes more intense/sharp pain particularly with movement (e.g. rising from sitting) or after sitting for a long time. Often there can be discomfort during bowel movements. The symptoms may come on gradually or suddenly depending on the cause. When it starts gradually, people often start compensating by sitting on one bum cheek to take the pressure off of the tailbone area and lessen pain.
What causes this complaint? There are a number of different causes of tailbone pain so it is important to have a proper examination to determine why the pain is there and where it is coming from. Some common causes are:
Direct impact or a fall directly onto the tailbone e.g. a slip on ice landing on your bum
Prolonged sitting with your weight on your sacrum and tailbone e.g. flights/long car rides
Damage to the tailbone during childbirth (vaginal delivery)
Strain of the pelvic floor muscles from pregnancy
Gradual onset of soreness with no apparent cause
Referred pain from the low back, pelvic joints and surrounding muscles.
Other causes of coccydynia include infections and tumours, but thankfully they are very rare. Thus certain conditions are not suitable for care at NBH. In that case I would refer you to your GP.
If care at NBH is suitable for your particular case of coccydynia, a plan of care would be prescribed for you and detailed education/advice on how to optimise your spinal and pelvic health to prevent recurrence or future injury.
To minimise pain, when sitting, try to sit tall and avoid slumping backwards which puts more pressure on your tailbone. Avoid sitting for long periods (no more than 45 minutes at a time). Stretch whenever possible. Likewise, avoid sitting on hard surfaces without a cushion (such as a wooden bench or a metal folding chair). Avoid leaning back against a wall when sitting. This will put added pressure on the tailbone, causing pain to worsen. Maintain good hip flexibility and squat regularly for gentle opening of the pelvic outlet to lengthen the muscles.
This post is a short introduction to coccydynia and some of the more common causes. If you have any further questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact the clinic here. If you have been putting up with this pain, gentle hands-on care at Natural Back Health may be suitable for you. Call today to arrange your first visit!!
Appointment times are flexible with late evening availability at the Cork street clinic. The last consultation time for new clients is 19.30. The last regular care appointment is 20.00.