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What Should You Do Following a Tailbone Injury?

Last Updated: August 19th, 2020 at 12:48 pm
Read Time: 7 Minutes

Immediately Following a Tailbone Injury

If you are seeking broken tailbone treatment, or looking to address general tailbone pain, it is essential that you see a doctor and chiropractor as soon as possible. A tailbone injury can make the simplest of activities seem impossible. Even sitting becomes painful when the tailbone has suffered an injury. However, there are methods to finding relief during this frustrating time.

ChiroCare of Florida has experience treating patients suffering from broken tailbone injuries, and there are a variety of treatment methods that may effectively address your pain. Chiropractic treatment can speed up the recovery process, getting you back to daily pain-free life as soon as possible.

What is the Tailbone?

The tailbone is a small, triangular-shaped bone located at the very bottom of your spinal column. The medical name for this bone is the coccyx, however, it's most commonly referred to as the tailbone.

Though it is small, the coccyx is a fully functioning component of the musculoskeletal system. It works in conjunction with the muscles, ligaments, and bones of the pelvis, which are in place to protect and support the pelvic organs. The tailbone also provides stable anchorage points for ligaments and muscles, supporting our ability to walk upright and carry ourselves.

Because of its large role in keeping us structurally upright, even a bruise to this small bone makes us feel extreme amounts of pain. It can affect your quality of sleep, your ability to exercise, and your overall quality of life. If you are in need of broken tailbone treatment, or treatment for general tailbone pain, see a specialist for a thorough evaluation. You do not have to live in pain.

Causes of a Tailbone Injury

Surprisingly, a plethora of events can cause a tailbone injury. While even sitting on a hard surface for a long period of time can cause pain in the tailbone, the most common method of injury is direct impact to the bone. This tends to happen in cases of slips and falls, especially on staircases, when one loses balance and falls directly onto the bone itself as opposed to landing flat on the buttocks.

Further causes of tailbone injury can include:

  • High impact sports, such as football
  • Activities in which an athlete is at great risk of falling, such as gymnastics or figure skating
  • Repetitive activities, such as cycling or rowing
  • Women can fracture the coccyx during childbirth

Other common causes of broken tailbones and tailbone injuries include injuries on the job, and chronic health conditions. Those with osteoporosis are more likely to experience breaks and fractures, as are individuals with degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis.

Symptoms of a Tailbone Injury

Due to the majority of tailbone injuries occurring as a result of direct impact to the bone, individuals typically feel the effect of the injury at the time of the trauma. When the coccyx is injured, the muscles surrounding it will become stiff. Because of this, swelling can occur and the bone may begin to pull away from it's respective place in the spinal column, causing the nerves in the area to become compressed.

Approximately 2.7% of all back pain-related hospital admissions result in a diagnosis of coccydynia, and it is much more prevalent in women compared to men. Women receive the diagnosis at a rate that is five times that of males. It is more prevalent in women over the age of 40. However, as injuries and slips and falls can happen to anyone, never rule out the possibility of needing broken tailbone treatment or the need for assessment because of your age or gender.

Symptoms often experienced with a tailbone injury consist of:

  • Inflammation and irritation
  • Bruising around the spine
  • Pain and tenderness in the lower back
  • Numbness when sitting
  • Difficulty adjusting from a standing position to a seated position
  • Pain or strain during bowel movements
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Swelling in the lower back and around the base of the spine

Coccyndia

The official medical diagnosis for a broken or injured tailbone is coccyndia. While the condition may arise from either too much movement of the tailbone, which puts stress on the joint and pelvic floor, or from not enough movement, which causes the coccyx to move outward and put pressure on the surrounding bones and muscle, there is no doubting that it can be extremely painful. It is also possible for the coccyx to become dislocated, though it is rare.

If you require broken tailbone treatment resulting from a slip and fall or other injury, you must seek it as soon as possible. Leaving the injury untreated can lead to long-term complications.

What to Do If You Experience Pain

If you believe that you need broken tailbone treatment, or are experiencing persistent pain in the area affected by Coccyndia, it's essential to see a medical professional as soon as possible. There can be lasting consequences of not treating an injury that can lead to chronic pain and damage down the road.

Generally, any pain that does not subside within a few days is cause for concern.

Diagnosis

The first step in seeking broken tailbone treatment, or coccyx pain, is to receive the proper diagnosis. As chiropractors are experts in muscular skeletal conditions, they are often the best place to turn. Diagnostic testing may include X-rays and MRIs to evaluate the state of the bone and lower spine.

A chiropractor will examine the angle of your coccyx to determine the way it is causing pain and form the best treatment plan for your specific injury.

Treating a Tailbone Injury

When your tailbone suffers an injury, it is crucial to determine the level of damage. While you can simply bruise the tailbone, you can also fracture or dislocate it. Likewise, it is important to ensure that other vertebrae of the spinal column have not been injured during the trauma as well.

The first step to treating a tailbone injury is to visit your doctor to have it examined. Your doctor will most likely issue an X-ray to determine the presence of a fracture or dislocation. To achieve symptom relief, your doctor may advise you to complete the following:

  1. Avoid physical activity that causes pain, and rest.
  2. Ice the coccyx for 20 minutes every hour for the first 48 hours after injury, then two to three times a day while symptoms persist.
  3. Use a cushion or donut pillow to take pressure off the coccyx while seated, and avoid sitting on hard surfaces or sitting for extended periods of time.
  4. Sleep on your stomach.
  5. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, to alleviate pain.
  6. Incorporate fiber and plenty of fluids into your diet to prevent constipation or painful bowel movements.

A bruised or sore tailbone can take 4 weeks to heal, whereas a fractured or broken tailbone can take from 8 to 12 weeks to fully heal. Be sure to adhere to your doctor's instruction during this time.

Chiropractic Treatment for an Injured Tailbone

A chiropractor can prove to be incredibly beneficial following a tailbone injury. This is because the coccyx is part of the spinal column, and therefore, it responds to trauma much like any other vertebra of the spine would. When out of alignment or damaged, it will cause irritation to the nerves and tissue that surround it, as well as tighten the muscles that are supporting it.

A chiropractor can correct the misalignment of the coccyx to provide relief. Likewise, they can utilize spinal manipulation to alleviate the pain felt from tight or sore muscles. At ChiroCare of Florida, we incorporate stretching routines, massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, and machine-assisted treatments such as ultrasound therapy to alleviate pain and promote healing from an injured coccyx.

Seeking Treatment

Seeking broken tailbone treatment, or treatment for coccyx pain of any kind, is imperative. If you are in pain, give us a call today. Our staff will advise you on how you can safely relieve pain at home until your first visit.

When scheduling your appointment, we will ask you various questions regarding your medical history and inform you of any paperwork you may need to bring to your first appointment. If your pain is the result of an injury or childbirth, we may request that you bring copies of medical records or X-rays if you have them. If you do not have this paperwork, there is no need to worry. We can still evaluate your injury and the source of your pain to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that is suited for your needs.

At your first appointment we will work with you to develop a treatment plan that you are comfortable with and provide you with advice on how to treat your pain between appointments.

If you've suffered an injury to your tailbone, visit your closest ChiroCare of Florida office as soon as possible so that you can begin healing in no time.

About the Author:
Dr. Steven Schwartz
Raised in Coral Springs, Florida, Dr. Steven Schwartz is a major advocate for the South Florida community. CEO of ChiroCare of Florida, Dr. Schwartz has grown the group from one facility to 11. Whether he’s treating patients or volunteering for community service, Dr. Schwartz’s long-term goal is to ensure that each and every patient can experience the ChiroCare of Florida difference.
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