What is Coccydynia?

By Andrew Orpiano, MS, LAT, ATC

What is Coccydynia?

Coccydynia is a condition of which patients complain of localized pain in the coccyx bone also known as the “tail bone”. Unlike other injuries where patients may feel relief resting, individuals with coccydynia may have decreased tolerance with prolonged sitting, standing and functional movements such as standing up from a seated position.

Illustration of coccydynia and the parts of the body it affects. JOI Rehab

Pain felt in the Coccyx

Risk Factors that Contribute to Coccydynia

Adults are more likely to develop the condition who are obese in addition to women during childbirth. Coccydynia can develop from internal trauma such as falling directly on the coccyx or externally among women while giving birth. Prolonged sitting on hard and narrow surfaces can lead to individuals developing coccydynia. There is no specific method in preventing coccydynia from developing, however, there are various methods to manage and treat the condition.

How does Coccydynia Develop?

Coccydynia can develop from a minor incident such as fall or more significant such as during childbirth for women. The condition can be treated conservatively with proper ergonomic changes, healthy lifestyle, and time. However, if patients feel minimal to no relief with conservative treatment further medical evaluation may be necessary along with aggressive treatments.

Conservative Treatments for Pain in the Tail Bone

Coccydynia can successfully be treated conservatively but individuals may notice relief of symptoms within weeks to months. Conservative treatment for coccydynia may include but not limited to use of a circular cushion while sitting, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and/or physical therapy. The use of a circular cushion will improve the individual’s ability to tolerate sitting for prolonged periods of time without direct pressure on the coccyx.

X-Ray image of the Coccyx bone of the back. JOI Rehab

X-Ray image of the Coccyx

NSAIDs will help reduce pain and inflammation along the bone. And physical therapy can help with core strengthening and posture education to correct postural deficits that may contribute to coccydynia. If an individual feels minimal to no relief with conservative treatment, more aggressive treatments may help alleviate the pain symptoms such as injections or pelvic floor rehabilitation.

Written By: Andrew Orpiano, MS, LAT, ATC

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