Tailbone Injury Symptoms
How to Tell if Tailbone Injury Symptoms are Present
Tailbone injury symptoms can be diverse and various. The coccyx is the vestigial 'tail' that is found in all humans and is made up of five bones, which are held in place by ligaments at the base of the spine. Interestingly, a large number of tailbone injuries occur in females, because the female pelvis is more exposed as it is wider.
Causes of Injury
Most of these injuries are caused by blunt force trauma to the coccyx. This can happen as a result of falling, physical contact sports, repetitive strain injury (cycling or rowing) and even childbirth. Very uncommon causes can be compression of nerve roots, local infections and even tumors.
Symptoms of Injury
When the coccyx is injured, acute localized pain and tenderness is felt in the environs of the injury. Other common tailbone injury symptoms are visible bruising in the area as blood vessels may have been ruptured beneath the skin due to a fall or hard contact. Pain can be exacerbated by being seated for a long time as this puts lengthy stress on the sensitive areas. Bowel movements can often be painful as well. Some women even experience pain while having sexual intercourse if they have suffered any injuries to their coccyx.
Seek Medical Attention
Regardless of severity, one should always seek medical attention if an injury to the coccyx is suspected. While an injury might heal quickly without medical intervention, there could be unexplained side-effects and consequences caused by the injury itself - or the pain could be a result of a more malignant cause, such as a tumor, which needs to be identified as soon as possible and dealt with. It is rare to have to visit an emergency room with an injury to the coccyx, because this is a vestigial area in human beings. But it is still wise to visit a medical professional so any adverse consequences can be identified and dealt with.
Tailbone injury symptoms are often responded to with some medical examinations. X-rays aren't often used; it is more likely that the patient's medical records and a direct examination of the coccyx is undertaken. It is likely that the entire spine is examined. It is even possible to have a neurological examination, because the spinal chord links directly to the brain. Usually, a rectal examination is also performed to isolate if any internal injuries have occurred.
If an x-ray is needed, it will be taken both stood up and sat down as injuries and fractures may show up differently. If x-rays do not reveal the cause of the coccyx injuries then it may even be possible for the doctor to order an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, although this is quite rare.
Post Medical Home Care
It can take weeks and months for a fracture of the coccyx to heal, but steps can be taken at home to speed up this process and reduce pain. First of all, sitting for long periods of time can be painful on the coccyx. Consider soft surfaces and leaning forward to move weight away from the tailbone. It also helps to alternate sitting on each side, rather than both at the same time. Consider even lying on the side for a while instead of sitting if at all possible.
As with any sprain or bone injury caused through blunt force trauma, it is necessary to apply a regime of ice pack application to the affected area for 15-20 minutes a day, five times a day, for at least a few days. Medication may also be prescribed such as ibuprofen to reduce pain. There are even special 'donut' cushions, which have a hole on the inside to prevent the tailbone from coming into contact with hard surfaces.
All in all, tailbone injury symptoms are easy to identify and injuries to the coccyx are treated easily and heal easily.