By Adelaide Women's Physio | March 9, 2016
What is Coccyx or tailbone pain?
Coccyx pain is usually focal tenderness on the tip of your tail bone. Pain is usually worsened from sitting (especially in a car) and when rising from sitting. It is often referred to as Coccydynia. This pain can vary from mild to very severe and can often reduce function and quality of life.
What causes Coccyx pain?
Sometimes a direct trauma to the coccyx can occur from an impact during a fall. Pregnancy or childbirth may also start the pain. It may be ongoing due to sitting positions, tightened muscles around the coccyx or due to a fracture or dislocation of the small coccyx bone. Other times it can start from a poor sitting posture, a change to seating or sitting on hard surfaces or degenerative change. Coccyx pain can also occur for no known reason. It is very rare that bony calcification or a tumour may be the cause of pain.
How can coccyx pain be diagnosed?
Generally Coccydynia is diagnosed based on symptoms. However if pain is from a trauma, complicated childbirth or if it is very persistent, an x-ray in sitting and standing can be very helpful.
What treatments are available for Coccydynia?
If from a recent fall or injury (6-8weeks) you may want to consult your doctor for some appropriate medications and any imaging if needed. During this healing period seeing a physiotherapist may be helpful to give advice on posture and help release any tightening of muscles attached to the coccyx bone and sacrum.
Physiotherapy may help ongoing coccyx pain by promoting healing as follows:
• Assessing your overall posture and contributing factors as well as examining the coccyx
• Examining the coccyx and related pelvic tissues
• Teaching you to exercise and relax the surrounding muscles to help rehabilitation
• Educating you on the problem.
• Giving clear postural advice to reduce pain.
• Providing manual therapy techniques
• Using ultrasound and/or dry needling
• Taping specific pelvic muscles and joints to provide support
• TENS therapy
• Referring you for imaging if required