4 Causes of Tailbone Pain — and What You Can Do About It

Childbirth

Photo Credit: Marco Maccolini / iStockPhoto.com

Why Does My Tailbone Hurt?

Tailbone pain can be tricky to diagnose. If you suffer from tailbone pain, pinpointing why you are suffering from the pain is important in order to treat the pain.

When you are suffering from tailbone pain, you’re probably going to make an appointment with your primary care doctor, who will do a work-up to try to determine the cause. From there, they will make referrals as necessary in order to treat the pain.

However, “tailbone” is not a medical term that you will hear from your doctor, so it is helpful to learn some of the medical lingo that you will hear at your appointment:

  • Coccyx: the medical term for tailbone. The coccyx is the triangular bony structure at the end of the vertebral column. Although we call it the “tailbone” it is not just one bone, but is three to five bones that are held together by joints and ligaments.
  • Coccygodynia/coccydynia: the medical term for coccyx pain. Coccygodynia was the original term for coccyx pain and was created in 1859. It is still used today but has been shortened to coccydynia, which is used more frequently.

1. Childbirth

The natural act of delivering babies can actually cause fractures to the coccyx. It inevitably causes pain due to the pressure on the pelvic region.

What to Do About It

This type of coccyx pain is typically temporary. As your body heals from childbirth, so too does the injury to the tailbone. Pain medications may be prescribed if the pain is especially bothersome.

Stool softeners are also often prescribed; this prevents constipation, which can cause further pain in the region. Eating foods high in fiber are also helpful in preventing constipation.

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