If you’ve ever injured your tailbone, then you know the feeling isn’t a pleasant one. This injury can cause pain and discomfort that can often take longer to heal, with results like a bruise, dislocation, or fracture of the coccyx that need to be managed with cautious treatment.
Overview of Tailbone Injuries
Most tailbone injuries occur from trauma caused in the coccyx area. This area is formed by three to five bony segments that are held in place by joints and ligaments. It is a triangular structure that is located at the bottom of the vertebral column. A majority of the time, these injuries are seen in women, due in part to the fact that the female pelvis is broader and the coccyx is more exposed.
How Tailbone Injuries Occur
This injury can occur after falling against a hard surface in a seated position, or if the tailbone receives a direct blow during contact sports. Bicyclists and rowers can injure this area after repetitive straining or friction against the coccyx. Less common causes include bone spurs, spine injuries, infections, and tumors. Sometimes, the cause of injury to the coccyx is unknown.
Symptoms of a Tailbone Injury
Those with a tailbone injury can experience severe localized pain and tenderness in the area, as well as worsening pain when sitting for prolonged periods of time. If this injury is a result of trauma, a bruise may be visible in the area. The pain is typically worse when sitting for prolonged periods of time or when there is direct pressure applied to the tailbone area.
Treatment for Tailbone Injuries
There are a few things that you can do to help control pain in the tailbone area and avoid further irritation. If you can, steer clear of sitting down for long periods of time. When you do sit, make sure to lean forward and direct your weight away from the tailbone. Like with most injuries, applying ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes four times a day can help the area recover from trauma.
How to Prevent Tailbone Injuries
For the most part, tailbone injuries are accidental and there is no way to avoid them. One thing that can be done to prevent this injury from happening is to wear proper protective padding when participating in contact sports.
This article was adapted from WebMD. Read the full article here.
If you have any questions about tailbone injuries, please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician.