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Coccydynia (Tailbone pain)

What is coccydynia?

Coccydynia is a term used to describe pain around the coccyx (the small tailbone that is found at the bottom our spine). The pain itself usually comes from the surrounding muscles and tendons that have become damaged. The pain is often brought on by sitting, and gets worse if you sit for prolonged periods of time.

What causes coccydynia?

The damage to the muscles and tendons around the coccyx, which causes the pain, is usually the result of a fall or an injury from a sporting activity (like cycling, rowing or skiing); it may also be caused by excessive straining during childbirth or sitting for prolonged periods of time with a poor posture.

How is coccydynia diagnosed?

If you have coccydynia, it can normally be diagnosed during consultation with a physical examination. Sometimes you may need further tests, like an x-ray, to rule out any other cause of your pain, such as a fracture in the coccyx.

Treatment and recovery

Following diagnosis, symptoms can sometimes resolve following a period of rest from any activities that may be contributing to your pain, as well as a combination of physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications and pain-killing injections into the area (known as a caudal epidural).

In cases where these measures are ineffective to relieve symptoms or there is extensive damage to the coccyx, surgical removal of the coccyx can prove beneficial. The recovery period following this operation includes physiotherapy and most people take up to 6 weeks to return to their normal light activities, and 3 months to return to sports.

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