FAQ’s on Coccydynia
Coccydynia, which is more commonly known as pain in the tailbone, is the result of inflammation occurring in the coccyx (the tailbone). There are a number of potential causes for this inflammation, with the most common cause being direct injury to the tailbone that produces symptomatic pains in the surrounding tissue.
The healing process for coccydynia can be an extensive endeavor; many patients will be able to make a full recovery with careful management of their coccydynia. Coccydynia has been known to occur more frequently in women, as their coccyx is typically larger and more exposed than men’s.
What are the causes of Coccydynia?
Nearly every instance of coccydynia is the result of trauma occurring to the coccyx. The most common form of trauma affecting patients is from an impact to the coccyx, typically from falling into a seated position on a hard surface. It is possible for a hard outside force to impact the coccyx enough to cause damage, such as if the patient receives an impact during an activity. Other common causes of coccydynia include repetitive movement of the coccyx resulting in friction, or if the patient performs certain activities that can strain the area (commonly found in cyclists).
Women face a unique cause of coccydynia occurring primarily during childbirth, as it is possible for an injury to occur to the coccyx during the process.
What are the symptoms of Coccydynia?
The most common symptom of coccydynia is also one of the strongest indicators that the condition is present. This symptom is pain in the tailbone that worsens when pressure is placed on it, such as when a patient sits. Tenderness of the general area, with pain occurring to the touch, is another common indication and symptom. There is the possibility of visible indicators, primarily in the form of bruising on the tailbone where impact occurred. Patients may experience swelling that interferes with their bowel movements in instances where damage to the coccyx is severe (A comparison of conservative interventions and their effectiveness for coccydynia: a systematic review.2013).
How is Coccydynia diagnosed?
Diagnosis for coccydynia can typically be achieved through visual examination of the area in search for signs of injury. Tests of tender areas, if present, can assist in narrowing down potential causes of a patient’s symptoms. Other potential causes of the present symptoms will be accounted and examined for, until it can be confirmed that coccydynia is present. Some patients may receive imaging techniques, such as X-ray, to examine the severity of the damage present.
What are the treatment options for Coccydynia?
The single most important factor in treating coccydynia successfully is whether or not the tender area can be kept free of pressure. Patients are encouraged to use items to cushion the tailbone during periods of sitting, and to be careful when lowering themselves into a seated position. Patients are also encouraged to avoid sitting for long durations of time. Medication for pain and inflammation will be given to the patient to assist in alleviating symptoms. If pain does not fade, or does not change in severity, patients are strongly suggested to seek clinical treatment.
Patients who are having chronic symptoms as a result of coccydynia may be able to obtain relief through the use of intrarectal manipulation of the coccyx (The treatment of chronic coccydynia with intrarectal manipulation, 2006). Patients with chronic symptoms may also receive a guided ganglion impar block with a radiofrequency component to provide relief (Fluoroscopically guided ganglion impar block by pulsed radiofrequency for relieving coccydynia, 2010). This is the careful blocking of the ganglion impar nerve bundle to stop transmission of pain signals to