You’ve been working at a desk and sitting too long all day. You may be active in between but suddenly one fine day you feel like you’re sitting on something and you experience a gradual pain starting form a dull ache to a constant discomfort in your tailbone also called your coccyx. Like thousands of people worldwide, you have developed coccydonia or tailbone pain which may be characterized as a throbbing aching pain almost like a muscle spasm but in your coccyx, the other word for your tailbone. So what do you do about it?
1. Most common cause of tailbone pain is sitting too long
Coccydonia can occur suddenly after an injury or for no apparent reason although sitting to long is one of the prime causes of the condition. The pain ranges from dull aching to spasms that can spread to the thigh, hips and rectum. Sitting becomes a problem and you may in severe cases find it difficult to sleep.
2. Home remedies can help manage the condition
If you are perplexed about it, don’t worry as there are many home remedies to manage the condition. Even doctors will tell you that it is more your lifestyle changes, exercise and home strategies that will do much to relive your condition which may go away on its own although it may take some time to do so.
3. Where do you feel the pain?
The pain from coccydonia is felt in the tail bone. It can be a dull constant ache or it could also be sharp stabbing pains. In certain cases it could feel like a throbbing ache. Sometimes you may feel as if your tailbone is lengthened or swollen because you may experience the sensation of sitting on something. Sometimes when left untreated it can spread down the legs and the back.
p> The pain may radiate down the legs or up the back. It can feel like it is in the tailbone itself, or in the surrounding muscles and structures.
4. Causes of tailbone pain
Tailbone pain is associated with various causes that could be minor or serious. These include
- Injury to the tailbone or to surrounding muscles.
- Sitting too long for prolonged periods and also sitting awkwardly.
- Traumatic childbirth.
- Degeneration of nerves or joints.
- Pelvic floor dysfunction.
- Nerve compression during pregnancy.
Levator syndrome also causes coccyx pain and inflammation. Lumbar disc disease, spine surgery and spinal problems may also lead to tailbone pain.
However the most common cause of tailbone pain is sitting for prolonged periods for weeks on end without frequent breaks in between. This is why the condition is also known as weaver’s bottom.
5. Can it go away?
Yes tailbone pain form common causes or even injury can go away provided you commit yourself to managing the condition. Coccydonia can go away on its own which usually happens between 8-12 weeks.
6. When should you see a doctor?
Consulting a doctor for coccydonia or tailbone pain depends on the severity and causes. Obviously for injuries, it is wise to see a doctor or your therapist. However, in common cases and tailbone pain from sitting or no reason, you could wait a couple of weeks before seeking medical intervention. But, it is also advisable to start your own home strategies to arrest the problem from developing further. The decision to see a doctor depends entirely on your ability to bear the problem, your discomfort and its severity.
7. If you experience the below symptoms, then see a doctor immediately
Loss of sensation, bruising, problems in movement and coordination, tingling that suggests a broken structure, it doesn’t go away after a week, fever, your home remedy worsens the problem or other symptoms develop.
8. How to manage the problem
There are many strategies to manage tailbone pain. Here are some of them
- Stretches. 5 best stretches are provided at the end of the article
- Exercise and yoga. Both yoga and pilates can help alleviate tailbone pain
- Taking frequent breaks during work especially when having to sit too long at a desk job
- Using a coccyx cushion
- Ice pack. Apply an ice pack compress for 15 to 20 minutes
- Hot and cold compress: apply heat compress for 15 minutes. Rest and again apply ice compress for 15 minutes. This reduces the inflammation.
- Tailbone massage. You can use the help of a masseuse or get a family member to massage the coccyx area.
- Topical creams. Analgesic or anti inflammatory pain relief creams are also advised for application daily.
- OTC. Over the counter medication such as NSAIDS like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are also prescribed in management of tailbone pain. However, your doctor will be the best person to decide which medication to prescribe you depending on the severity of your condition.