Symptoms and Signs of Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia)

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia)

The tailbone (coccyx) is a triangular bony structure located at the bottom of the spinal column between the buttocks. Pain in the tailbone area, also called coccydynia, can be caused by injury to the coccyx (such as falls, direct blows, during childbirth, or repetitive strain as from sports such as cycling or rowing), bone spurs, compression of nerve roots, localized infections, pilonidal cysts, and tumors. In some cases, the cause of coccydynia is unknown.

The symptoms of tailbone pain usually worsen when there is pressure or contact with the coccyx and the pain is often relieved when pressure is removed from the coccyx. Symptoms of tailbone pain may include severe localized pain or a deep ache in the tailbone area when touched, bruising if there has been traumatic injury to the coccyx, pain that worsens when sitting for long periods of time or on hard surfaces, painful bowel movements, and painful sexual intercourse (in women).

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.