FAQ\’s on Coccydynia

The Coccyx is the scientific name given to the small triangular bone at the base of the spinal cord in humans and other primates. It is otherwise referred to as the “tail bone.” Coccydynia refers to pain at the tail bone and is common on average of one in a 100 patients suffering from low back pain. The coccyx is positioned as the last bone of the spine; consisting of three smaller bones, or vertebrae. The main function of the coccyx is to bear weight while sitting. With the surge in the use of computers, coccydynia is becoming more common.

So if you have coccydynia, you are not alone. The good news is that, this medical condition is treatable. It is recommended that you seek medical advice on the various courses of treatment options available

Why do I experience pain at the base of my spine whenever I sit down? 

There are many causes of such pain and it is advised that you see a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose the root cause of the pain so as to know the right medication or therapy that would best help alleviate pain symptoms. Chances are that you may be suffering from coccydynia, which is a persistent pain located at the tail end of the vertebral column.

What then are the usual causes of coccydynia? 

There is not one definite cause; usually it is a combination of factors with the most common cause being age related “wear and tear.” With coccydynia usually there is a direct impact on the tail bone either, as a result of an accident or during childbirth, which resulted in the condition or had contributing factors in the development.

Shifting of coccyx bone: the coccyx may shift over time from its normal anatomical position. Posture when sitting for activities involving repetitive motion in a pivoting position, such as cycling or rowing, or repetitive pressure on the lower vertebrae.

Trauma: injury to the coccyx resulting from a road or traffic accident, or more commonly a fall.

Childbirth: women are more susceptible to coccydynia as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that are attached to the coccyx are displaced in the body makes the passage for the baby. Naturally women have a broader coccyx in a more pronounced position. Due to these contributing factors women are five times more susceptible to develop coccydynia than men.

What are the symptoms of coccydynia? 

That is the first and most common symptom of coccydynia is pain, and in some cases extreme pain. Classically, this pain is more pronounced when sitting a hard chair or surface. Sitting on a hard surface places pressure on the tailbone, and further stress with leaning backwards in a chair.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain in your tail bone area whenever you sit, stand, walk or lie down.
  • Pain during the night hours when body muscles start relaxing on the coccyx area
  • Pain during a bowel movement
  • Increased pain during and after engaging in a physical activity
  • Pain after a prolonged sitting session.

How is it diagnosed?

One telltale relation in determining a diagnosis of this condition is to take note if the pain symptoms are relieved when the person stands and walks. This would indicate coccydynia.

One method is by administering anesthetics to the area. If an immediate relief is derived, then it is likely to be coccydynia. Further diagnosis is done by X-ray and scans.

How is coccydynia treated?

This depends on the severity. Pain-relieving treatments such as chiropractic care, acupuncture massage therapy, and pain medications are often employed in the treatment of coccydynia first. Severe cases may need surgical correction or a multidisciplinary pain management treatment course.