The Signs of a Broken Tailbone

Written by isabel prontes
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The Signs of a Broken Tailbone
Four spinal bones make up the tailbone. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Erik Charlton)

A broken tailbone is commonly known as a coccyx fracture. The coccyx is the lowest section of the spine or the backbone. It is shaped like a triangle and has a tiny size. It comprises four spinal bones (or fused vertebrae). It is slightly curved going from the latter part of the spine all the way inside the pelvis. It has a small amount of motion. There are various possible signs and symptoms that a tailbone is broken.

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Signs

The most common signs and symptoms of a broken tailbone include feeling tenderness directly over the tailbone, and pain that gets stronger when sitting up from a chair or sitting in general. If you notice any pain or tenderness in the tailbone region, it is very likely you have broken it. You may also notice a bruise in the area. Some people also might experience extreme pain when engaging in sexual intercourse. Sitting down for extended periods also becomes very difficult with a broken coccyx.

Risks

Some people are at a significantly higher risk of breaking a tailbone. Knowing the risk factors could make it easier to determine whether someone has broken the tailbone. These risk factors include bad nutrition habits (especially deficiencies of vitamin D or calcium), lowered muscle mass (which could cause falling more frequently and bad balance), various congenital bone disorders, ageing, osteoporosis, various recreational activities (like skating), and violence. Females are more likely than males to break their tailbones, as well.

Causes

Also, a couple of common factors could lead to broken tailbones. Some newborns fracture their coccyx when travelling out of the birth canal. Also, if you fall on your rear end, you could break the tailbone (this is why skating and other recreational activities that could lead to falling into a seated position are riskier).

Sitting Tips

One of the most common signs of a broken tailbone is discomfort while sitting. There are several ways to help ease the pain of sitting with a broken tailbone. These methods include sitting on either a doughnut pad or air cushion, slouching to shift forward your weight (off of the tailbone), and sitting on a chair that is both firm and hard (soft chairs can oftentimes raise coccyx pressure).

Prevention

There are also several easy ways to try to prevent broken tailbones from happening in the first place. These include partaking in weight-bearing workouts to keep the bones strong and healthy, and consuming a diet full of both vitamin D and calcium.

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