What is Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain?

Coccygodynia or coccygeal pain is identified as the inflammation or tenderness of the coccyx or tailbone, which is the bony region situated between the buttocks on top of the anus. Coccygodynia or coccygeal pain is related to the pain and inflammation at the tip of the tailbone between the buttocks.

What is Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain?

Usually this pain is experienced when the victim sits on hard surfaces. This pain frequently changes and from time to time and it gets worsened when the victim stands from the sitting position. Coccygodynia or coccygeal pain is also known with different terms, for instance:

  • Coccyx pain
  • Tailbone pain
  • Coccalgia

These different names are all said to express a host of warning signs in the tailbone which may be caused due to several conditions or injuries. Treatment depends on the gravity, length and root cause of the pain.

The general treatment for coccygodynia or coccygeal pain is conservative management therapy which can include massage, ganglion impar block, and injections. For those patients who face uncontrollable pain, coccygectomy is the better solution for coccygodynia or coccygeal pain.

What is a Coccygectomy?

Coccygectomy is a procedure for coccygodynia or coccygeal pain, a clinical process by which the tailbone or coccyx is detached from the body. This particular process is considered a necessary treating option for sacrococcygeal teratoma. In addition, it is also required for removing the harmful cells, the tumors growing in the coccyx.

Why Do More Women Suffer From Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain Than Men?

Mainly, in the women the coccygodynia or coccygeal pain/ injuries arise because:

  • As the coccyx in the woman is twisted, there is more possibility to get it injured.
  • As per women's anatomy, their pelvis is broader than men. Therefore, women indulge more pressure on their coccyx in sitting position than men, and lead them to coccygodynia or coccygeal pain.
  • Childbirth is another common issue for coccygodynia or coccygeal pain in women.

Epidemiology of Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain

Rate of occurrences: Coccygodynia or coccygeal pain is considered as the cause for back pain in less than 1% cases. In women it is almost five times more common than men. It may be for the coccyx bone of women is more prominent than in men. Although, coccygodynia or coccygeal pain can attack any person at matured ages, but the minimum age of starting this problem is about 40 years.

Etiology of Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain

The potential reasons of coccygodynia have been described and especially the single axial trauma which occurs when a person falls on his/ her coccyx directly or during the childbirth is one of the most common causes of coccygodynia or coccygeal pain. However, according to the experts, experiencing pain which occurs within one month in the beginning is very much vital in mounting the risk of unsteadiness and coccygodynia or coccygeal pain in the coming days.

Obesity is also prominent factor for coccygodynia or coccygeal pain. BMI (Body Mass Index) is considered as a threatening factor (more than 29.4 in men or 27.4 in women) for increasing both posttraumatic coccygodynia or coccygeal pain and idiopathic coccygodynia or coccygeal pain.

When high-BMI persons take seats, the coccyx extends out of posterior because of insufficient acute rotation of pelvis. As a result, when an individual sits the intra pelvic pressure increases and ultimately it leads to the partial displacement of the coccyx. Individuals having a normal coccyx also can experience coccygodynia or coccygeal pain. In those cases, the origin of the pain may be for secondary cause, like tumor, posttraumatic arthritis, infections or bursitis.

Pathophysiology of Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain

Due to some general pathophysiological ways coccygodynia or coccygeal pain may develop in a person. Coccygodynia or coccygeal pain, due to giving birth to a child and effect of sudden fall on one's coccyx are the two major issues for coccygodynia. Coccygodynia or coccygeal pain is for restricted displacement of sacrococcygeal synchondrosis. It may be as result in abnormal changes of the coccyx like too much sitting, or recurring trauma of nearby muscles and ligaments and raise inflammation of pain and tissues.

Causes of Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain

Until now, it is not so clear that which part of the anatomy is the origin of coccygodynia or coccygeal pain. In most of the cases, the proper cause of the coccygodynia or coccygeal pain is unknown and these states are identified as idiopathic coccygodynia or coccygeal pain. In such cases, the warning signs can only be managed.

Usually, the underlying causes of the coccygodynia or coccygeal pain can be identified with the help of diagnosis.

  • Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain Caused Due to Local injury: The ligaments of the tailbone can be inflamed or the coccyx can be injured or lead to the coccygeal attachment to the sacrum due to a direct blow on the tailbone. Probably, it is the most common reason of coccygodynia or coccygeal pain.
  • Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain Caused at the Time of Child Birth: At the time of delivery, the head of the baby goes over the coccyx and so extra pressure is produced against the coccyx and may injure the structures of the coccyx (the ligaments, bones and disc). Though, it is found in minimum amount, the pressure also can call the fracture in coccyx.
  • Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain Caused Due to Chronic Load: A few activities which indulge prolonged pressure on the tailbone, such as sitting on hard surface for long duration, may cause the beginning of coccygodynia or coccygeal pain. And the tailbone pain due to these causes is temporary, but when the symptoms and inflammation are not controlled, and then it may persist for ever.
  • Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain Caused Due to Infection or Tumor: If any infection or tumor occurs in the area of coccyx, then it creates pressure on the coccyx and arise coccygodynia or coccygeal pain.

Signs and Symptoms of Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain

The warning signs and symptoms of the pain in tailbone will normally get worse when excessive pressure is put on it or directly it gets in touch with of coccyx. The pain can decrease bytaking away the pressure. For example, it happens when walking or standing.

The following signs and symptoms of coccygodynia or coccygeal pain may be experienced:

  • Pain in the tailbone noticeably increases in the sitting position.
  • Coccygeal pain increases with indulging pressure on the tailbone or touching that particular area.
  • Tailbone Pain also gets worse when the individual is changing posture from sitting to standing position.
  • Pain in the tailbone rises with constipation and it decreases after a bowel movement.

When Is The Right Time To Contact The Doctor for Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain?

Individuals, who have the warning signs and symptoms of coccygodynia or coccygeal pain or intolerable pain in their coccyx area, immediately need to contact with a health expert.

A medical practitioner may require testing of someone to determine the primary causes of the coccygodynia or coccygeal pain and to any potentially serious conditions which can be lead to tailbone pain. In addition, if it is a case of traumatic damage of the coccyx, then it may call for the studies of images.

Risk Factors for Coccygodynia or Coccygeal Pain

Here are the risk factors which may increase the chances of coccygodynia or coccygeal pain, such as:

  • Weak bones, which can happen with osteoporosis can lead to coccygodynia or coccygeal pain.
  • Inflammation in joint or changes in the structure of bone, which are the results of arthritis can cause tailbone pain.
  • Certain actions, such as horseback riding or participation in sports may lead to coccygodynia or coccygeal pain.
  • Changes or dislocation of bones which can be occur due to obesity or displacement from injury.
  • Sitting continuously for a long time on hard place can cause coccygodynia or coccygeal pain.
  • Pain in low back area.
  • Osteomyelitis or any type of infections.
  • Tumor or cyst in spinal cord.

Also Read:

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: December 16, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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