Understanding Coccygodynia

Back view of male buttocks with pelvic bones ghosted in.Coccygodynia is pain at the lowest tip of the spine (the coccyx, or tailbone). This is sometimes called a “bruised tailbone.” Tailbone pain can be very uncomfortable. It can also interfere with daily activities, such as driving.


How to say it


What causes coccygodynia?

Causes of tailbone pain include:

  • Injury to the tailbone from a blow or fall

  • A bone spur on the tailbone

  • Poor posture while sitting

  • Sitting for a long time in an uncomfortable position

  • Vaginal childbirth

  • Arthritis

In some cases, the cause of the pain can’t be found.

Symptoms of coccygodynia

You may feel:

  • A dull ache or sharp pain in the tailbone area, near the top of the buttocks

  • Muscle spasms in the lower back or pelvic area

  • A sense of pressure in the rectum

Pain may be triggered by things like walking or standing up from sitting. It may hurt more if you sit for long periods. Things that put pressure on the tailbone, such as riding a horse or having sex, may also trigger the pain.

Treatment for coccygodynia

Tailbone pain often goes away by itself within a few months. Treatment focuses on reducing pain and protecting the tailbone. Treatments can include:

  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine to help relieve pain and swelling

  • Warm or cold to help relieve symptoms for a time, such as a heating pad, hot water bottle, or ice pack

  • Keeping pressure off the tailbone to help the area heal by shifting weight forward onto your hipbones and thighs when sitting or sitting on a special cushion

  • Medicine injected into the area to help relieve severe symptoms

  • Physical therapy to help strengthen the structures around the tailbone

If no other treatments work, you may need surgery to remove all or part of the coccyx.


When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Pain that continues for more than 2 months or gets worse

  • Pain that limits your usual activities

  • Pain that doesn’t get better by trying the self-care treatments described above

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed

  • Redness or swelling

  • A new sore in the cleft of the buttocks, especially one that contains or drains pus

  • Other new symptoms