The tailbone or sacrum bone (Coccyx) is composed of 3-5 small bones jointed to the lower end of the sacrum bone at the bottom of the spine. This bone bonds to each other at around the age of 30.
Coccydynia is the pain in the sacrum, ie the coccyx bone. This pain is usually caused by problems with the joint (sacrococcygeal joint) between the coccyx bone and the sacrum bone. It may cause severe discomfort in sitting or leaning on the back.
It is more common in women and overweight. It is approximately 5 times more common in women than in men. Although the reason for this is not known, it is thought that women may be exposed to trauma more easily as the sacrum bones are slightly more posteriorly dislocated. Another reason may be the damage to the sacrum bones of women when birthing. Obesity is also known to cause sacrum pain. This is thought to be due to the fact that obesity changes the person’s sitting position, thus both sitting in a bad position and excess pressure on the sacrum bone of excess weight.
How do we protect our tailbone?
There is no clear way to prevent coccyx pain and to protect the sacrum bone, but risk factors can be reduced. Taking some precautions while doing some sports such as horse riding, cycling, skiing, and rowing and avoiding falling especially when walking on icy or rough roads can protect your sacrum bone.
Causes of coccydynia
The most common causes of coccydynia are falling and though exercises such as extreme cycling and rowing. In these activities, the sacrum bone may be crushed, broken or dislocated. This causes a painful inflammatory reaction and muscle spasm. In addition, bone growth at the lower end of the sacrum bone, joint diseases where the bone joins the spine, inflammations of the joints, infections, and cancers of this region can also be the cause of coccydynia.
The patient’s medical history is very important for diagnosis. Fallings and traumas in the past are questioned. The fact that the pain is over the sacrum bone is usually easily diagnostic and the pain may increase by stepping on it during the examination. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) of the patient may reveal the status of the coccyx, dislocations in the sacrococcygeal joint, fractures in the bones or tumoral events after the examination.
Coccydynia may become chronic and may last for more than 2 months in a minority of patients. In this way, it can severely impair the quality of life. In these conditions, it is necessary to consult a doctor and be treated. Many people with sacrum pain can heal with medical treatment. The things that will be done in medical treatment are listed below.
An ice pack or hot application: both can relieve pain quickly but briefly.
Bagel-shaped cushions may be therapeutic as they relieve the pressure on the sacrum bone during sitting.
Sitting for too long should be avoided.
Bed rest can accelerate healing as it prevents the strain of the sacrum bone.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve pain by reducing inflammation in the coccyx.
Injection into the sacrum bone or sacrococcygeal joint can be performed. This injection can sometimes lead to complete or prolonged pain relief.
Rarely needed. All non-surgical treatments are considered in cases where there has been a long-tried but no response. The coccyx bone is surgically removed. It is a very short and effective operation under general anesthesia.