Coccydynia

If you have ever sat down suddenly and experienced sharp pain, there is a possibility it is coccydynia. Coccydynia basically means “pain in the tailbone,” or coccyx.

It occurs more frequently in women than men, and usually appears in either gender after age 40. The affected area remains tender all the time.

In most cases, coccydynia resolves itself on its own within a few weeks, but it can become chronic. If you experience long-term tailbone pain, visit a Tampa Bay spinal doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

The Coccyx

The coccyx rests at the bottom of the spine. It is a small, triangle-shaped bone, known as the tailbone. It consists of three to five vertebrae with various muscles, ligaments and tendons attached.

Potential Causes

Coccydynia is more common in women because it often relates to tailbone damage during childbirth. Other coccydynia causes include:

  • Falls
  • Other trauma to the tailbone
  • Excess tailbone mobility
  • Tumors
  • Cysts
  • Infections

Obese individuals are more likely to develop coccydynia than those of normal weight. In many cases, the cause of coccydynia is not determined.

Symptoms

Suspect coccydynia if experiencing the following symptoms or situations:

  • Local pain – pain is site specific, and does not affect the legs or pelvis
  • Aching soreness – feelings of soreness in the tailbone may come or go or stay constant
  • Worsening pain while sitting – pain also increases when moving from a sitting to standing position
  • Increased pain during intercourse, menstruation or bowel movements
  • Feeling a frequent need to defecate

It is not uncommon for coccydynia sufferers to experience depression and anxiety stemming from the constant soreness and loss of quality of life.

Diagnosing Coccydynia

Coccydynia is diagnosed through a combination of physical examination and medical history.

The Tampa Bay doctor will want to know when the patient first felt tailbone pain, and, if female, whether the patient has given birth vaginally. In some cases, a prolonged labor ending in a Caesarean section can also bring on coccydynia.

A doctor in Tampa Bay may perform a rectal examination to check for masses and rule out other conditions. Other diagnostic testing includes X-rays, CT scans, or magnetic resonance imaging. In some cases, physicians may order a bone scan.

Treatment Options

Coccydynia treatments vary on the severity of the condition. In mild to moderate cases, over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen may help.

Custom-tailored cushions created for the patient by a biomedical engineer helps relieve pain while sitting. Alternating heat and cold therapy may be recommended, along with massage.

Stool softeners help patients dealing with painful defecation. If needed, the back pain doctor in Tampa Bay may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.

Physical therapy concentrating on strengthening muscles supporting the tailbone and stretching ligaments may help coccydynia patients.

Muscle manipulation may ease coccydynia symptoms, moving the tailbone back to its normal position. As the Mayo Clinic notes, such manipulation is generally done via the rectum.

An injection of cortisone pain medication into the tailbone offers long-term relief from coccydynia.

In a worst-case scenario, a procedure known as a coccygectomy is recommended. As the name implies, it involves surgical removal of the tailbone. While rare, this operation provides pain relief to the severely afflicted who have not responded to more conservative treatments.

Contact a Doctor

If you are suffering tailbone pain or any other sort of back issue, contact a Tampa Bay back pain doctor to make an appointment for an examination.