Coccyx (tail bone) is the bony area present in the buttocks and any inflammation on this area is known as coccydynia. There would be swelling and tenderness in the tailbone causing pain in the buttocks area. The affected person will have increased pain while sitting rather than standing or walking.
Tailbone pain is caused by infection, injury or a fracture. Sometimes even a small injury or trauma can cause coccydynia (pain and inflammation in the tailbone). It can also be caused by pilonidal cyst formation or sciatica. Even a fall can radiate injury on the tailone damaging the ligaments attached to the sacrum.
For some women, tailbone pain is caused during delivery when the head of the baby pushes its way through the vagina creating pressure on the coccyx causing injury and pain.
The area of coccyx (tailbone) becomes tender and inflamed. For some there may be severe problems in sitting. Acute pain can be managed with lifestyle modifications and oral medicines. But chronic form of tailbone pain is difficult to treat.
Your doctor will look out for the symptoms of pain in the tailbone area. If needed, he may do a CT scan or MRI scan on the affected area for diagnosing the illness rightly.
Most of the tailbone pain will get settled after few weeks but for some people, there may be chronic pain on this region. Since the region is not flexible for making a casting or bracing it takes time for complete healing. Unlike other areas of the bone where the site can be made immobile by wearing a splint or casting, in coccyx area this cannot be made. The area is continuously under movement and this also would delay in curing the inflammation, making the tailbone pain chronic or longstanding.
Persons who suffer from severe coccydynia should wear padding while sitting and should avoid sitting in the same posture for long time. Number of oral medications is available for giving temporary relief from pain and inflammation. You can take anti-inflammatory drugs available over the counter before visiting your doctor.
The ideal way to treat tailbone pain of chronic nature is to combine one or more methods of treatment. For instance, oral medications can be coupled with physiotherapy for getting fast relief.
For some people, intense pain on the coccyx area can affect their life making it difficult to sit or do other activities. In such cases, surgery is done for removing the injured bone to improve the quality of life.
Your doctor will find out the root cause of the tailbone pain before starting treatment. Anti-inflammatory medicines primarily inhibit the secretion of cyclo oxygenase and prostaglandin to give relief from pain.
Ibuprofen or Motrin or Advil is taken for reducing the prostaglandin synthesis. For some patients Acetaminophen is prescribed for relieving moderate to severe pain with inflammation. Tramadol is prescribed for reuptake of nor-epinephrine in the brain that transmits the signals of pain. Fentanyl citrate is administered for patients with hyperactive airway problems who have tailbone pain.
Physiotherapy is given for improving the functions of pelvic bones. There are specialists dealing with pelvic pain syndrome who can train the patients with tailbone pain for managing daily life activities without medicines. The exercises are meant to relieve the pressure from the coccygeus and priformis muscles that would give permanent relief for the person.
Coccygectomy is the surgery done for removing the infectious ligaments from the coccyx region. However there may be complications after surgery and it may not be successful in providing relief from pain.
Apart from treatment, the affected person should know the ways to manage the life with pain. He should be educated about the activities that are to be avoided and that which may aggravate the pain.