Spinal Problems Bone Coccydynia

Coccydynia is a condition categorized by inflammation and pain of the coccyx (tailbone). Although the cause of this specific type of tailbone pain and inflammation is often unknown, any injury or stress that affects the tailbone or surrounding muscles and nerves can lead to coccydynia pain.

Possible stressors of this coccyx pain include:

  • Childbirth
  • Fall or other injury
  • Prolonged sitting on hard surfaces
  • Repeated stress from activities such as horseback riding, bicycling or motorcycle riding
  • Spinal cyst, tumor or infection (in rare situations).

The only possible way to prevent coccydynia and the associated tailbone pain is to avoid activities that might lead to excessive stress or injury, including prolonged sitting.

Symptoms of Coccydynia

Unfortunately, the symptoms of coccydynia aren’t exclusive to this condition. Your doctor will need to rule out other possibilities such as infection, pilonidal cysts and bone fracture. Common symptoms of coccydynia include:

  • Back pain
  • Coccyx pain when sitting down or changing between sitting and standing
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain or spasm of pelvic muscles
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Tenderness directly over tailbone.

Diagnosis of Coccydynia

Since symptoms such as tailbone pain may coincide with other conditions, you’ll want to get a proper diagnosis to confirm that you are indeed experiencing coccydynia pain. In order to confirm this diagnosis, your doctor may administer the following tests:

  • Anesthesia test: Your doctor may inject local anesthesia into your coccyx region. If the injection results in immediate pain relief, this suggests coccydynia.
  • CAT scan: These images of your brain may rule out other, more serious conditions, such as cancer.
  • MRI exam: Your doctor may complete a seated MRI exam, which will identify any irregular weight patterns in your coccyx region.
  • X-ray: Your doctor may take two X-rays: one sitting and one standing. Major differences between the position of the coccyx in these two may suggest instability in the this region.

Tailbone Pain Treatment Options

Initial treatment for coccyx pain often includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the use of a sitting cushion to reduce tailbone pain when sitting. Other treatments for coccydynia may include:

  • Chiropractic or osteopathic realignment of the spine
  • Heat therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the pelvic muscles
  • Sitz baths (soaking the hips and buttocks)
  • Steroid injections (local nerve block)
  • Ultrasound therapy.

In rare and very severe cases, surgery to remove the coccyx (coccygectomy) might be considered. However, surgery is not guaranteed to relieve coccydynia pain.


Cleveland Clinic Staff. (2010). Coccydynia (Tailbone pain). Retrieved March 26, 2010, from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/Coccydynia/hic_Coccydynia_Tailbone_Pain.aspx

Cocccyx Pain Staff. (2007). Dynamic (sit/stand) x-ray. Retrieved April 12, 2010, from http://www.coccyx.org/investig/dynamic.htm

Cresse, M. (2009). Coccydynia. Retrieved March 26, 2010, from http://www.med.nyu.edu/patientcare/library/article.html?ChunkIID=445932

Spine Universe Staff. (2009). Coccydynia: Tailbone pain. Retrieved March 26, 2010, from http://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/coccydynia/coccydynia-tailbone-pain