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Causes and Treatments for a Bruised Tailbone

Treatment options for a bruised tailbone may be limited. Bruising the coccyx or tailbone, is well known as a very painful and long lasting injury. Most of the time this type of injury is accidental, but may also occur from activities or sports. Preventing a tailbone injury is difficult and treatments usually mean resting and allowing for the tailbone to heal itself.

The coccyx or tailbone is located at the bottom part of the spine, and is made up of five boney parts. These delicate boney parts can be easily injured in falling or compaction accidents. Women are more susceptible to tailbone injuries as the tailbone is more exposed in women’s pelvises. Injuries to this area can occur from accidents, especially slip and fall types, repetitive motions against the tailbone and even the act of giving birth. Bruising from any of these types of injuries can appear around the tailbone. Having a bruised tailbone is usually a very painful condition. The pain can be dull and chronic or very acute, and often gets worse during certain movements. These can include sitting or laying down, bowel movements, sexual intercourse or any other kind of straining of the muscles or tendons.

Diagnosing an injury to the coccyx is usually pretty simple. Pain, tenderness and bruising of the tailbone area are good indications that you have injured your tailbone. Visiting a doctor may still be needed to determine how serious the injury is, and whether the small bones that make up the coccyx has been damaged. There is also the possibility of this type of pain occurring from other and possibly more serious problems, another reason to have the injury checked out by a doctor.  A doctor may use x-rays to determine the extent of the injury, and because of the close proximity of the spine, other tests may also be required. These may involve neurological exams to check for spinal problems and rectal examinations to check for dislocations internally.

Treatments for coccyx injuries center on pain management and home care techniques for allowing the area to heal. Anti-inflammatory medications, as well as those for relieving pain will most likely be prescribed. Corticosteroids may be injected into the surrounding area in serious cases. Over the counter medications may also be used. Icing the injured area several times a day may also be helpful. Give the area a chance to heal by avoiding long periods of sitting or by using a cushion device.  Cushion devices, often called donuts because of their shape are inflatable or stuffed pads that prevent the tailbone from being pressed on when sitting. Often this type of injury will also affect the patient’s bowel movements, so a stool softener may also be prescribed. A bruised tailbone often takes weeks of home care and protection of the area before it completely heals.

The largest cause of injury to the coccyx is a falling injury, usually an accident. This makes prevention of tailbone injuries hard. Any activities or sports that may lead to contact with the tailbone should be performed while wearing padded safety gear. Athletes that receive constant friction or rubbing of their tailbone, such as bicyclists or rowers, should take proper steps to avoid bruising their coccyx.

In very rare cases, patients may suffer from chronic tailbone pain that may or may not have a known cause. Sometimes these patients do not respond to medical treatments. Long term and chronic tailbone pain can become a condition that inhibits their lifestyle. Surgery to repair or even remove the bones of the tailbone may be needed for people with these types of pain.


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