How Do You Relieve Tailbone Pain
Learn about home remedies that can help relieve tailbone pain

Tailbone pain can be relieved with home remedies such as rest, heat application, ice packs, and stretches as well as over-the-counter pain relievers.

The following home remedies may help reduce tailbone pain:

  • Avoid prolonged sitting and lean forward while sitting down
  • Apply heat or ice to the affected area
  • Take a hot bath to relax muscles and ease pain
  • Use a wedge-shaped gel cushion or coccygeal cushion (donut pillow) when sitting
  • Lie on your side to reduce the pressure on the coccyx
  • Stretch the muscles of the lower back and pelvis
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Take stool softeners to reduce pain during bowel movements
  • Avoid activities that worsen the symptoms
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen), or aspirin

If your tailbone pain does not improve despite these measures, consult a doctor who can help rule out other serious conditions such as a tailbone, hip, or spinal fracture.

What is tailbone pain?

Tailbone pain, also known as coccydynia or coccygodynia, occurs in or around the small triangular bony structure at the bottom of the spine (coccyx). The term “coccyx” comes from the Greek word “cuckoo” because it resembles a bird’s beak with the tip pointed down.

The coccyx is made up of 3-5 fused vertebrae (bones) with several tendons, muscles, and ligaments connected to it. Tailbone pain can be severe and make it difficult to perform daily tasks.

What are the symptoms of tailbone pain?

Tailbone pain typically feels dull, achy, and piercing but may increase and become sharp due to activities such as:

  • Prolonged standing or sitting
  • Rising from a seated to a standing position 
  • Defecation (bowel movements)
  • Sexual activity 
  • Menstruation (for women)

Other related symptoms that may occur along with coccydynia include:

What causes tailbone pain?

Tailbone pain can be caused by: 

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What are the risk factors for tailbone pain?

Factors that can increase the risk of tailbone pain include:

  • Sex (women are 5 times more likely than men to develop coccydynia)
  • Age (affects adults and adolescents more often than children)
  • Obesity (obese people are 3 times more susceptible than those at an ideal weight)
  • Rapid weight loss

How is tailbone pain diagnosed?

Your doctor will inquire about your medical history and any recent injuries or trauma. The following tests may be ordered to confirm a diagnosis:

How is chronic tailbone pain treated?

Tailbone pain usually goes away on its own within a few weeks or months. Treatment for chronic tailbone pain may include:

  • Physical therapy: Includes pelvic floor relaxation techniques, such as breathing deeply and completely relaxing the pelvic floor
  • Manipulation: Massaging the muscles attached to the tailbone may help ease pain
  • Acupuncture: Provides temporary relief
  • Massage therapy: Provides temporary relief
  • Medications: Coccygeal nerve block can be done by using numbing medications and steroids to decrease inflammation
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: Electric stimulation interferes with the transmission of pain signals from the coccyx to the brain

In rare cases, if coccyx pain does not go away with treatment, your doctor may recommend surgery, in which the bony point on the coccyx is removed to help fix the problem:

  • Partial coccygectomy: Removal of part of the coccyx 
  • Total coccygectomy: Removal of the entire coccyx

When to see a doctor about tailbone pain

Call your doctor immediately if your tailbone pain is accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • A sudden increase in swelling or pain
  • Sudden numbness, weakness, or tingling in either or both legs
  • Constipation that persists for a long time
  • Inability to control bowels or bladder movements

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Medically Reviewed on 10/27/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

Tailbone pain: How can I relieve it? Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tailbone-pain/expert-answers/faq-20058211

Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain). Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10436-coccydynia-tailbone-pain

Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia). WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/cancer/tailbone-pain-coccydynia

Coccydynia. Intermountain Healthcare: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/pain-management/conditions/hip-and-leg-pain/coccydynia/