Tailbone Pain When Sitting Down—How to Relieve the Pain
Millions of people worldwide experience tailbone pain while sitting. The tailbone, also known as the coccyx, is part of the spinal column and located at the very end of the sacrum. When pain occurs in this area, it's called coccygodynia. If you're experiencing coccygodynia while sitting, this article will help guide you to a solution.
What Causes Tailbone Pain While Sitting?
Coccygodynia can be caused by several different factors, such as:
- Falling and landing in a seated position—this is one of the most common causes.
- Prolonged sitting on a hard or narrow surface.
- Trauma during vaginal deliveries—this is the main reason women are five times more likely than men to experience coccygodynia.
- Obesity—the heavy load borne by the coccyx can cause bruising.
Other conditions can mimic coccygodynia and should be ruled out by your physician. These include:
- Calcium deposits
- Avascular necrosis
- Pilonidal sinus infections
- Proctalgia fugax
How to Tell Whether You Have Coccygodynia:
If you're experiencing tailbone pain while sitting down, it's almost a sure sign of coccygodynia. However, the only way to know for sure is to get a definite diagnosis from your physician. If you decide to see your doctor, be aware that you might have to go through a rectal examination. To confirm the diagnosis of coccygodnia, your doctor will have to grasp the coccyx between the thumb and forefinger and manipulate that area. If you experience pain upon manipulation, the diagnosis is usually confirmed.
It's better to begin with a conservative approach to coccygodynia. This involves:
- Heat or ice
Resting the coccyx isn't as easy as it sounds since sitting is something that most of us have to do. Luckily, there are special cushions that can alleviate the pressure and help make sitting much more enjoyable.
A Few Stretches for a Bruised Tailbone
Extreme Treatments for Tailbone Pain
If the pain persists, a more aggressive approach may be needed. Some of the more common conventional treatments for coccygodynia include:
- Steroid Injection - This treatment may relieve the pain, though relief may only last for a couple of weeks.
- Manipulation - This must be done through the rectum, and studies haven't shown a large improvement in symptoms.
- Surgery - When all else fails, surgical removal of the coccyx, also known as a coccygectomy, may be performed. Although some people have reported relief from this procedure, the effectiveness is still not known. Since there is a high complication rate, most doctors are recommending that their patients stick to the conservative treatments.
To sum it up: Analgesics, ice or heat, and pressure relief are the preferred treatment methods for tailbone pain. In order to prevent pressure to the coccyx, it is highly suggested that a specially-made cushion be used while sitting.