Tailbone (Coccyx) Injury
Tailbone Injury Treatment
Tailbone injuries are often extremely painful, so home remedies aim to control pain and avoid further irritation to the area.
- Avoid sitting down for long periods of time. When seated, avoid sitting on hard surfaces and alternate sitting on each side of the buttocks. Also, lean forward and direct your weight away from the tailbone.
- For traumatic injuries, apply ice to the tailbone area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day, for the first few days after the injury.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce pain and improve your ability to move around. Do not take NSAIDS if you have kidney disease, a history of gastrointestinal bleeding, or are also taking a blood thinner -- such as Coumadin -- without first talking with your doctor. In that case, it is safer to take acetaminophen, which helps lessen pain but does not reduce inflammation.
- You can purchase a "doughnut" cushion or pillow to sit on. This cushion has a hole in the middle to prevent the tailbone from contacting the flat surface.
- Eat foods high in fiber to soften stools and avoid constipation.
In addition to home care, a doctor may be able to provide further relief of pain with other medical and, rarely, surgical interventions.
- Stronger pain medications may be prescribed at the discretion of your doctor.
- Stool softeners may be prescribed to prevent constipation.
- Injections of local anesthetics into the tailbone are sometimes required for continuing pain.
- Rarely, the coccyx may be surgically removed.
Follow-up After a Tailbone Injury
Follow-up is recommended at the discretion of your doctor and depends on the severity of the injury and the progress you are making with medical treatment.
- Most people do not require follow-up if their coccyx injury is improving with medical treatment.
- People with chronic tailbone pain, for whom medical therapy has not worked, require more frequent follow-up and may be referred to other medical or surgical specialists.
Prevention of Tailbone Injuries
- Most tailbone injuries are accidental (such as a slip on ice) and therefore cannot be entirely avoided.
- Wear proper protective padding when participating in contact sports that can potentially lead to coccyx injuries.
- The prognosis for tailbone discomfort depends on many factors.
- The original cause of the problem (whether from a fall or other trauma, tumor, or infection)
- If traumatic, the severity of the injury (a bruise, fracture, or dislocation)
- Your ability to comply with medical treatment
- Your natural ability to recuperate and heal
- The majority of cases of traumatic coccyx injury get better within several weeks of the injury with proper medical treatment.
- A few people suffer from chronic discomfort despite proper medical treatment. This can be an extremely frustrating and debilitating problem.