A Pain in the Back

Tailbone pain (medical term, coccydynia) is not as common or as serious as many other spinal ailments. Still, if you suffer tailbone pain you know how miserable it is and how it affects your quality of life.

The tailbone (medical term, coccyx) is the bony structure at the end of your spinal column, at the back of your pelvis. It consists of three to five small bones fused together. There is, however, some limited movement between the bones owing to attached ligaments. The tailbone serves as an attachment site for various ligaments, muscles and tendons in your back and pelvic area. It also helps support your body when you’re standing or sitting.

Tailbone pain is about five times more common in women than in men. The female pelvis is broader, which makes the tailbone stick out more, making it more susceptible to injury, particularly in thin women.

Injury from a fall is the most common cause of tailbone pain, especially a fall where you land hard on your bottom. A sharp, direct blow can also damage your tailbone. A fall or blow can fracture, dislocate or bruise one or more of the bones that make up the tailbone.

Frequent rubbing together of the bones – which happens during bicycling, for example – can also cause tailbone pain. Pregnancy and childbirth put pressure on the tailbone and can damage it. Prolonged sitting, especially on a hard or narrow surface, can bring about tailbone pain. The pain can also come from a problem somewhere else in the pelvic area. And sometimes, the source of tailbone pain is simply unknown.

Treatment Options

In the great majority of cases, tailbone pain is treatable. You can treat yourself at home. Over-the-counter pain relievers often provide some relief. If your pain comes from a fall or blow, apply ice to the sore area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, four times a day, for two or three days after the pain starts. After that, apply heat several times a day. Sit on a doughnut cushion to keep your tailbone from coming in contact with the surface of your chair. Or use a wedge cushion, which pushes you slightly forward, taking pressure off your tailbone.

Sitting usually aggravates tailbone pain, so you need to stand, kneel or squat more. Of course, in most social and work situations it might be embarrassing to stand or kneel when everyone else around you is sitting. Besides using a cushion, there are other ways to make your sitting more comfortable. Squirm around. Change your position every 15 to 20 minutes. Lean forward in your chair and rest your arms on a table or desk when you can. Lean to one side for a while then to the other to shift the weight on your buttocks and take pressure off your tailbone. But be careful with these movements; you don’t want to strain your back.

If you can’t find relief on your own, see your doctor. A number of clinical treatments are available for tailbone pain. Your doctor can give you an injection of a numbing agent and steroids to provide relief. Or you can undergo surgery to have parts of the tailbone removed. Such surgery, however, is rare and the very last resort.

Treatments without drugs or surgery include chiropractic manipulation and physical therapy. A trained physical therapist knows how to properly massage or stretch you to relieve your tailbone pain.

Learn more about Migraine Headache and Endometriosis Pain at ClearPassage.Com

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