Coccyx (tailbone) location image Source: eHealthStar
What is tailbone pain and where is it located?
The tailbone or coccyx is the lowest part of the spinal column. It lies below the sacrum, beneath the buttocks crease. The bottom end (the tailbone tip) is about an inch (2.5 cm) above the anus and is bent slightly forward .
Coccydynia or tailbone pain can range from mild to severe. In cases where the pain is severe, it is always best to get help from a general practitioner. In addition, if the pain is a result of an accident of injury, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately.
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Coccydynia is often caused by an injury, but it may occur seemingly spontaneously. There are many causes of tailbone pain that can mimiccoccydynia, including sciatica, infection (including shingles of the buttocks), pilonidal cysts, sacroiliitis, and fractured bone (broken tailbone or tailbonefracture).Feb 22, 2016 Medicinenet
Tailbone pain is any pain in the tailbone area. It can arise either from the coccyx bone or related ligaments, muscles, bursae (fluid-filled sacs that prevent friction), nerves or skin. When the pain arises from the actual coccyx bone, the coccyx will usually be sensitive to palpation; this is known as coccydynia, coccygodynia or coccyalgia (medical terms for tailbone pain)
The pain is worst during sitting and when rising from sitting to standing position; some people describe it as sitting on a marble or knife . The pain can be triggered by lying on the back, prolonged standing, walking, running, jumping, lifting heavy objects, sexual intercourse, bowel movement or even by coughing and sneezing, and can be relieved by leaning forward or to aside
Image: Emedicine Medscape
The majority of coccyx injuries occur in women because:
- The women’s coccyx is rotated, leaving it more exposed to injury
- Women have a broader pelvis, which means that sitting places pressure on their coccyx (male anatomy causes them to sit without much pressure on the coccyx)
- Childbirth is a common cause of the condition.
Image: New Health Advisor
It is derived from Greek word for “cuckoo” due to its resemblance to the beak of this bird, the coccyx comprises the most distal aspect of the vertebral column. It consists of three to five rudimentary vertebral units that, with the exception of the first coccygeal segment, are typically fused. The ventral surface of the coccyx is slightly concave with transverse grooves that demarcate the regions where the vestigial coccygeal units had previously fused. The dorsal aspect is slightly convex and displays similar transverse markings as well as multiple paired tubercles known as the coccygeal articular processes, the most superior of which are referred to as the coccygeal cornu. These structures articulate with the sacral cornu of the inferior sacral apex at S5, either as a symphysis or as a true synovial joint; this articulation represents one of the borders of the foramen for the exiting dorsal branch of the fifth sacral nerve root. The coccyx also serves as a site of attachment for the gluteus maximus muscle, the coccygeal muscle, and the anococcygeal ligament.
Body mass index (BMI) appears to influence the prevalence of coccydynia, as obesity is three times more common in patients with coccydynia than in the normal population . The coccyx of a leaner patient normally rotates during sitting so that the coccyx is in an optimal position to absorb the forces that are generated during this activity. As the BMI increases, the degree of pelvic rotation with sitting is reduced and the angle of incidence is increased. Consequently, the coccyx in obese patients is more susceptible to sudden elevations in intrapelvic pressure that occur with a fall and repeated sitting down. This increased exposure to pressure places the coccyx at an increased risk of posterior subluxation.Normal and below-normal weight patients are more likely to develop coccydynia consequent to lesion patterns other than posterior subluxation as their coccyges rotate in a more optimal fashion to lessen forces from falls and sitting .
The symptoms described vary:
- Pain during or after sitting:
- Acute pain while moving from sitting to standing.
- Pain caused by sitting on a soft, but not a hard surface : This is usually happens when the joint between the sacrum and coccyx is unstable, so that the coccyx can be pushed out of place when you put pressure on it by sitting or lying. When you sit on a hard surface, most of your weight is taken on your ‘sit-bones’ , the hard bits at the bottom of your pelvis. But when you sit on a soft surface, the foam rubber pushes up between the bones, increasing the pressure inside you and pushing the coccyx out of place.
- Deep ache around the coccyx
- Sensitivity to finger pressure on the tip or edges of the coccyx Local pain in the tailbone area that is worse when touched or when any pressure is placed on it
- Shooting pains down the leg
- Like sitting on a marble that moves around
- Like sitting on a knife
- Like being impaled on a garden cane, with or without chilli peppers
- Pain during bowel movements, and sometimes before
- Increased pain around the time of a woman’s monthly period – this may be due to variations in the levels of estradiol.
- Pain during sexual intercourse, either in men or women.
- Pain during menstruation
If the pain was caused by trauma, then there may be other parts of the body damaged as well. If this damage includes the sacrum, hips or legs, it may be very difficult to sort out what is causing the most pain
Painful feet, from standing too much. One particular problem that can develop is plantar fasciitis. Plantar means the foot, and fasciitis is inflammation of the fascia, or fibrous tissue enclosing and connecting muscles. This condition is sometimes called heel spurs.
- Exhaustion, depression, lack of sleep.
- Painful back, from sitting in awkward positions to relieve the pressure on the coccyx.
- Other aches and pains around the body. In the case of coccyx pain, the whole area of the buttocks can become hypersensitive because of this effect. This, of course, makes sitting even more uncomfortable, and chairs and sitting positions which were initially OK can become uncomfortable. Hips may become painful if you are lying on them most of the time.
Causes of pain
- Unstable or dislocating coccyx
- Spur on coccyx
- Misaligned, rigid, or long coccyx
- Muscle spasm or tightness
- Pilonidal cyst
- Tarlov/meningeal cyst
- Pudendal neuropathy
- Referred pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Previous medical procedures
- Deposits of calcium in joints
- Idiopathic coccydynia
- Imaginary pain
Exercise for coccyx pain
- Using Cold packs
Applying cold packs or ice to the affected area can help reduce coccyx pain dramatically. All you need to do is to place ice or a cold pack on the affected area for around thirty minutes every few hours.
- Walking : It has a powerful relaxing effect on the spasms that tend to build up around the coccyx.
- Leg exercises
- Anal lock : This exercise is done in bed, morning and evening. It involves the same muscles you use to “hold on” when you need to go to the toilet but can’t get there right away. The muscles are tensed and held for 10-15 seconds, repeatedly.
- Weightless squats : Repeatedly go from this position to standing.
- Inversion therapy : This method involves hanging upside down at an angle on an inversion table, with the feet fastened in position. This applies traction to the spine.
- Breathing and relaxation exercises : Reduce coccyx pain using breathing and relaxation exercises combined with deep massage.
- Yoga : Getting rid of coccyx pain using yoga like Shalbasana, Bhujangasana and Ardha shalabh asana.
For mild coccydynia, there are yoga poses and home remedies that may help relieve the pain.
Home Remedies For Coccydynia
1. Change Your Posture
Many of us spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer or laptop. The most important way to reduce tailbone pain is to avoid sitting for too long. This is very common if you have a desk job. While sitting, do not slump backward with your neck forward into a C shape.
It is important to take frequent breaks and small walks if you have a job that requires you to sit for long hours. Leaning forward while seated may also help. Consider sitting on a soft chair or seat to reduce the pain.
2. Use Warm And Cold Packs
Apply warm and cold packs to your tailbone. Warm packs include hot water bottles and microwaveable heating pads. Cold packs are available as gel-filled pads in pharmacies.
The hot and cold treatment is safe if used correctly. Heat causes the blood vessels to dilate, bringing more blood to stimulate healing of damaged tissues. Cold treatments can be used to reduce any swelling or inflammation near the tailbone area.
3. Wear Loose Clothes
Consider wearing loose-fitting clothes and avoid clothes like tight jeans or trousers that may put pressure on the tailbone region. Also, try avoiding heels and wear comfortable, flat shoes to reduce tailbone pain.
Yoga Poses For Coccydynia
1. Mulabandhasana (Root Lock)
This yoga pose strengthens the pelvic floor and calms and relaxes the mind.
- For this asana, keep a folded blanket or towel ready.
- Sit comfortably on the floor on the folded blanket/towel with your legs crossed and your spine straight. Breathe normally.
- Focus your attention at the base of the spine. Feel the muscles on the pelvic floor. Relax and do this a couple of times to get a feel of it.
- Try to contract these muscles. This is similar to the movement that you’d experience when you are urinating and want to stop the flow. The movement is to contract and raise the entire pelvic floor.
- Next, take a long, slow breath in. Hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds and exhale. Release the lock and repeat the steps.
2. Shalabasana (Locust Posture)
This yoga pose benefits the entire back by increasing its strength and flexibility.
- Lie down on the floor on your belly and place your chin on the floor.
- Place your toes on the floor, touching your knees to the ground.
- Place your hands below the hips in a way that your palms rest on the ground.
- Inhale and bring the right leg up and hold it straight.
- Hold this position and keep breathing.
- Exhale and bring the right leg down.
- Repeat this for the left leg.
- Next, inhale and bring both the legs up as high as possible keeping the knees straight.
- Exhale and bring the legs down and relax.
3. Shishuasana (Child’s Pose)
- Sit on your heels. Your knees should be slightly apart and toes joined together.
- Inhale with both hands up.
- Exhale and move forward. Press your palms, arms, and forehead on the mat.
- Relax in this position and observe your breathing. Relax your muscles completely.
- Inhale, look forward, and lift both hands up along with the body.
- Exhale and release and come back to the initial position.
Please make sure you speak to a yoga trainer before practicing these yoga poses. If you experience any kind of discomfort, notify your trainer instantly.
FOR SEVERE COCCYX PAIN
Image: Coccyx org
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Acupressure & Natural Therapy