Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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How is coccydynia diagnosed?

Coccydynia is commonly diagnosed based solely on the symptoms and the examination findings of local tenderness. Other conditions can be excluded by the examination (such as shingles, which typically would be associated with local rash) and other testing (to exclude bone or tissue disorders, such as with CAT scan or MRI scan).

What is the treatment for coccydynia?

Patients with coccydynia are advised to use a well-padded seat when sitting and avoid long periods of sitting when possible. If the condition becomes severe or persistently troublesome, then medical attention should be sought to accurately evaluate the cause of the pain, especially if there is associated bruising or rash.

Rest, avoiding reinjury to the affected area, anti-inflammatory medications, and pain medications can relieve symptoms. Sitting on a pillow, cushion, or buttock support can help. Some patients with persistent coccydynia are treated with local cortisone injection. This injection is simply performed in the doctor's office and can potentially dramatically relieve the pain and even resolve the symptoms for many. Sometimes, the injection includes fluoroscopy or ultrasound. Physical therapy with exercises can be helpful with recovery. Rarely, when patients have unrelenting pain, a surgical resection of the coccyx can be performed to remove the irritated bony prominence.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/22/2016

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