The tailbone, or coccyx, is a bone located at the bottom of the spine where the back joins the buttocks. Experiencing a fall onto a hard floor or other surface that does not provide any "give" can result in bruising of the tailbone, a condition that is quite painful. Tailbone pain caused by bruising can last for several weeks, and a fracture of the coccyx may take even longer to heal. Measures of self-care at home can help stop, or at least lessen, bruised tailbone pain.
Things you need
Ice the tailbone area 3 to 4 times a day for the first few days post-injury. Use flexible ice packs or bags of frozen vegetables that conform to your body's shape for 20 minutes at a time. Lie on your side or back, depending on your comfort level, as you ice.
Take a pain reliever every 4 to 6 hours while you are experiencing tailbone pain. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation. Ask your doctor for an alternative if you are unable to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Avoid constipation while you have a bruised coccyx. Straining and otherwise putting pressure on the tailbone can increase your pain. Drink lots of water and eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other fibre-rich foods to regulate your digestive system. Stool softeners may be used if dietary adjustments are not enough.
Take a break from your everyday activities, if possible, to allow your body to rest. Assess your progress by bending over, walking, sitting. When your pain has receded and you do not experience much discomfort when performing these actions, you can safely resume your normal activity level.
Avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your tailbone area while you are still bruised and in pain. Use a doughnut pillow, a pillow with a hole in the middle, when sitting. Center your coccyx over the cutout in the pillow so that you will not be pressing down on the injured bone.
Things you need
- Ice pack
- Fibre-rich food
- Doughnut cushion