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Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia)

What Is Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia)?

The coccyx, or tailbone, is the triangular bony structure located at the bottom of the vertebral column between the buttocks. It is composed of three to five bony segments held in place by joints and ligaments. Pain in the area of the tailbone, also termed coccydynia, can be caused by a variety of conditions and can lead to either acute or chronic discomfort in this area. Coccydynia occurs most commonly in adolescents and adults, and it is more prevalent in women than in men. Most cases of tailbone pain can be managed at home with conservative measures.

What Causes Tailbone Pain?

There are many different conditions that can lead to tailbone pain. Often, the cause of the pain is unknown (idiopathic) and never determined. Conditions known to lead to coccyx pain include the following.

Trauma: Injury to the coccyx is a very common cause of tailbone pain. Injury to the coccyx may lead to a bruise, fracture, or dislocation of the coccyx.

  • A fall onto the tailbone in the seated position, usually against a hard surface, is a common cause of coccyx injury.
  • A direct blow to the tailbone, such as those that occur during contact sports, can also injure the coccyx.
  • The coccyx can be injured or fractured during childbirth.
  • Repetitive straining or friction against the coccyx (as happens in bicycling or rowing) can injure the coccyx.

Less common causes of coccyx pain include bone spurs, compression of nerve roots, localized infections, pilonidal cysts, and tumors.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/23/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia):

Tailbone Pain - Describe Your Injury

Please describe your tailbone injury.

Tailbone Pain - Treatment

What was the treatment for your tailbone pain?

Tailbone Pain - Cause

What caused your tailbone pain?

Tailbone Pain - Recovery Time

What was the recovery time for your tailbone pain?

Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia) Cause

Fracture

When outside forces such as a direct blows or falls are applied to bone it has the potential to fail. Fractures occur when bone cannot withstand those outside forces. Fracture, break, or crack all mean the same thing. One term does not imply a more or less severe injury. The integrity of the bone has been damaged, which causes the bone structure to fail, which results in a fracture or broken bone.


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Coccyx Pain »

Coccyx pain (tailbone pain) can frustrate patients and significantly impair quality of life, but relief is possible.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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