Coccyx Injury

"Every injury is associated with pain or discomfort". Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx is an injury caused to the coccyx or the tailbone where the coccyx breaks, dislocates or gets unstable. Coccyx or the tailbone is a triangular shaped small bone located at the base of the vertebral column. Any injury to this bone can cause pain and discomfort in the victim. In this current article we will take a look on some of the most important symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatments, follow up steps after the injury, pain management at home, along with some preventive measures for the Coccyx injury or the Bruised Coccyx.

Coccyx Injury

An overview on Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

As mentioned earlier Coccyx, also known as the tailbone is a triangular shaped bone made of three to five vertebrae known as the Coccygeal vertebrae and is located at the base of the vertebral column. Coccynx injury or Bruised coccyx is any injury caused to the coccyx or the tailbone which can lead to a condition called Coccydynia or pain and discomfort in the coccyx area. Usually women have a broader pelvis than the men which makes them more prone to Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx.

Though the healing procedure may be slow, the majority of coccyx injuries can be managed with proper treatment. We will talk about the treatment and pain management procedures in our later section of the article.

Signs and Symptoms of Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

Following are some of the signs and symptoms of Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx.

  • There is a severe pain felt at the base of the spine where there is the Coccyx or tailbone.
  • There may be bruising or swelling
  • There may be an increased intensity and duration of the pain with continuous sitting
  • The pain increases when changing position from sitting to standing.
  • Sitting in a soft surface in Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx can cause more pain in the tailbone region
  • Pain in the buttocks can be felt
  • Pain during sex and during bowel movements.
  • There is also lower backache.

Causes of Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

There are some prime causes leading to the Coccyx injury or the Bruised coccyx. Following are some of them.

  • Usually tailbone injuries are caused by trauma to the tailbone or the Coccyx region.
  • A direct blow to the Coccyx, especially during contact sports can cause the injury
  • Childbirth can also cause a Coccyx injury or bruised Coccyx in women.
  • A repetitive straining against the coccyx, especially during rowing or cycling can lead to the coccyx injury or bruised injury.
  • Most common trauma leading to a coccyx injury is a fall on to the coccyx or tailbone in the seated position, usually against a hard surface.
  • Medical conditions like obesity or hip arthritis can cause Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx.
  • Bone spurs, compression of nerve roots or any injuries to other parts of the spine, any kind of local infection or tumors can lead to Coccyx injury or bruised Coccyx.

Diagnosis of Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

  • Usually the cause of Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx may be determined based on a medical history and a physical exam.
  • A rectal exam is also performed for determining the condition of Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx. For doing this doctor inserts a finger in to the rectum so as to feel the area of coccyx or tailbone if there is any dislocation or a breakage or fracture that can be felt in the patient and if direct pressure against the coccyx or tailbone reproduces the pain in the existing condition of Coccyx injury or Bruised coccyx.
  • A neurologic examination may also be performed for diagnosing the condition of Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx.
  • X-rays are also rarely taken in order to determine if there is any fracture or dislocation.

Treatments for Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

Here are some of the most common and effective treatments for Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx.

  1. Reduction as a treatment for Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx: Reduction may be essential if there is a dislocated coccyx. While reduction procedure, your doctor would move your coccyx or the tailbone in to the correct position through your rectum. Medicines will also be given to you for reducing discomfort during this procedure of Reduction.
  2. Treating Coccyx injury or Bruised coccyx via Medicines: Medicines for reducing the pain may include the NSAIDS like Ibuprofen. However, one must avoid NSAIDS in case he or she has kidney problems or in case taking blood thinner. There are some prescription medicines for reducing the pain, swelling in case of the coccyx injury or bruised coccyx, which may be prescribed by your health care provider once you visit him. Stool softeners may be used for preventing one from constipation and thus preventing from any further pain in coccyx injury or bruised coccyx.
  3. Injections of Corticosteroids for Pain Reduction in Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx: In case of continual pain or intense pain, you may be given injections of corticosteroids or local anesthetics in to the coccyx or tailbone area.
  4. Surgical Treatments for Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx: There are some rare and selective cases where a surgery is essential. A surgical procedure may be used to remove the coccyx in case of severe coccyx injury or bruised coccyx. This procedure is known as coccygectomy. However, it must be remembered that there are various risks involved with such a procedure including the infection and poor wound healing. There are also cases where surgery too cannot provide long term pain relief.
  5. Alternative Treatments for Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx: Some of the best known alternative treatments for Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx include the following.
  • Physical Therapy: There are some physical therapy exercises which can help you in reducing the condition of a Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx. Your physiotherapist would make you know about how to do the pelvic floor relaxation techniques like deep breathing, and completely relaxing your pelvic floor while urinating or while your bowel movements.
  • Manipulation: Massaging the muscles that are attached to the coccyx or the tailbone might ease pain and provide some relaxation. Manipulation is done through the rectum.

Pain Management in Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx: At-home care!

There are some ways to reduce the pain in Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx which can be done at home. Following are some of the pain management strategies to note down in case you or any of your known ones suffer from Coccyx injury or a Bruised coccyx.

  1. Pillow and Cushion for Reducing Pain in Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

    1. Cushions with cut-outs for better support and comfort to the Coccyx area:

      Cushions with cut-outs are the best for providing enough support and comfort to the coccyx or the tailbone region. Two-part cushion, Medport cushion, Marvel cushion, Inspiri cushion, Gel-tech cushions etc are some of the most popular types of cut-outs cushions. These cushions can be used either at home, at car or at work.

    2. Donut-shaped cushions for better support and pain reduction in the coccyx region:

      These are the donut shaped cushions usually circular with a hole at the center or ring-like cushions which provides you with the ability to sit in a way where none or very less of the bodyweight pressure is applied on the coccyx or the tailbone itself. The idea here is you are going to sit with the lower part of your both buttock cheeks supported by the ring of the cushion and the tailbone is centered over the middle of the hole.

    3. Nursing pillows for new mothers with the Coccyx injury or a Bruised coccyx:

      New mothers having Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx while childbirth may get a comfortable nursing pillow for them which would greatly relax them.

    4. Custom air cushion for Coccyx area:

      A custom air cushion is the one which has some of its sections with a lower air pressure than other sections. This is designed to relieve pressure sores and also helps in relieving much of the pressure from your Coccyx or tailbone when you sit on it.

    5. Two Garden kneeling pads for support and comfort to the tailbone region:

      Kneeling pads work great for some people with Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx. You can use two garden kneeling pads side by side leaving a gap for the tailbone or the coccyx portion to sit on comfortably.

    6. Enhancers for supporting and comforting the tailbone or Coccyx region:

      Enhancers are usually the air filled, cellular designed and well adjustable support surfaces which can be used by the patients feeling pain at the Coccyx region.

    Want to make your own Coccyx cushions? Check out here!

    1. Simple made-at home Coccyx cushion to help you cope with Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx: You can make simple and comfortable coccyx cushions by following the steps given below.

    • Take any piece of old material of 100 cm * 25 cm and a little for the seam.
    • Next, sew it in to a tube
    • Then, stuff it with warn socks, old pantyhose, bit of foam etc.
    • Finally, sew the two ends together. Your coccyx cushion is ready! Isn't it really simple and easy to be done at home?

    a. Using Pool noodles for supporting the tailbone or Coccyx region: Children's foam swimming pool noodles, fashioned like a U-shaped cushion works as a nice coccyx cushion once fitted in to a chair, your car seat etc. Below are the steps to make the cushion.

    • Simply cut the pool noodle with a knife and make it like the shape of U by using a duct tape for holding the U-shape.
    • You can do this, by wrapping the tape around one end couple of times and then bring to the other end from the bottom and wrap around the other end.
    • This makes a U-shaped cushion for your coccyx or tailbone region.

    b. Making Comfortable Cushioned Toiled Seats at Home for Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx : "Releasing out the waste from body without pain is the best pleasure you get in the toilet." It can be a trouble-time in the toilet room in case you have a coccyx injury or bruised coccyx. You can make your own toilet seat for supporting and comforting your coccyx region while bowel movements. Follow the below listed steps to make this cushion.

    • This can be done by bringing home a wooden toilet set.
    • Removing the lid from the toilet is the next thing you need to do.
    • Final step would be covering the circle with a fabric covering for better comfort.
  2. Check on How to Sleep Comfortably in Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

    It is important for you to check on you while sleeping with an injury at the coccyx region. You must sleep on a firm mattress. Placing a pillow under your knees in case you are a back sleeper or placing a pillow between your knees if you are a side sleeper; can help in reducing pain and tension in your coccyx or tailbone and back portion.

  3. Ice for Reducing Pain and Swelling in Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

    Ice actually aids you in reducing the pain and swelling. It may also be used to safeguard you from tissue damage. You can use an ice pack or use some crushed ice in a plastic bag, cover it with a towel and place it on the coccyx or the tailbone area for about 20 minutes in every hour or two in a day.

  4. Diet that Helps in Case of a Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

    Constipation can cause further pain in case you are suffering from a Coccyx injury or Bruised coccyx. It is essential for you to take diets rich in fiber which can help in softening stools and preventing constipation.

  5. NSAIDS or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain reduction in Coccyx injury or Bruised coccyx:

    Taking NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen or Aspirin can reduce pain or improve the conditions in Coccyx injury or Bruised Coccyx.

    Apart from all the above pain management strategies, it is important for you to avoid sitting down for long periods to reduce or control the pain in Coccyx injury or Bruised coccyx

Prognosis for Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

Most of the conditions in Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx usually improve within several weeks of the sincere treatments and pain managements. However, the prognosis for Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx ultimately depends on several factors including the causes for the injury, the patients' general health, his or her ability to comply with the treatments etc.

Preventing Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

As most of the Coccyx injuries or Bruised coccyx conditions are accidental, they cannot be entirely prevented. However wearing protective padding while participating in contact sports that can cause the injury can help you prevent the injury to some extent.

FAQs related to Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx:

  1. When should one visit a doctor in case of a Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx?

    Following are some of the conditions which require a doctor's visit.

    • If you have problems in having bowel movement or in urinating
    • If the pain or swelling goes worse with home treatments
    • If you have fever.
  2. When does one require an immediate help in Coccyx injury or bruised coccyx?

    You need an immediate help in following conditions.

    • If you are not able to move your legs
    • If you have trouble breathing
    • If the pain is extremely severe
    • If your legs go numb all of a sudden.
  3. What is the usual Healing Time or Recovery Period for Coccyx Injury or Bruised Coccyx?

    Healing time of recovery period for coccyx injury or bruised coccyx can take somewhere around 8 to 12 weeks in case you have a tailbone fracture. However in case your coccyx injury is a just bruise, healing period would be around 2-4 weeks.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 7, 2016

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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