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Tailbone (Coccyx) Injury (cont.)

Tailbone Pain Diagnosis and Testing

The cause of coccyx pain is largely determined based on a thorough medical history and a physical examination by a health-care professional. He or she will inquire about recent injuries to that area as well as and factors that make the pain better and worse. Occasionally, X-rays or other imaging studies may be performed.

  • The vertebral column (spine) will be examined for areas of tenderness, redness, swelling, or bruising. A neurologic examination may be performed. A rectal examination may also be performed. For this exam, the health-care provider inserts a finger into the rectum to feel the area of the coccyx in order to determine if there is a dislocation or fracture that can be felt, and if direct pressure against the coccyx reproduces the pain.
  • X-rays may be taken to determine whether or not there is a fracture or dislocation of the coccyx, and this is usually done if there is a history of trauma or injury to this area. However, X-rays may not always reveal these injuries. Some physicians recommend X-rays in both the standing and seated positions to better determine the presence of a fracture or dislocation. Rarely, at the discretion of the health-care professional, a CT scan, MRI, or bone scan may be ordered at a later time if X-rays do not reveal the cause of the continuing coccyx discomfort, or if there are concerns about a tumor or infection as the cause of the pain.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/12/2015

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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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