Bruising the tailbone, or the coccyx, is a painful condition that can leave its sufferers unable to comfortably sit or sleep. Treatment typically involves keeping pressure off the area and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. Stress-reducing exercises can also be used to relax and alleviate the pain from centralising in the tailbone. Long-term or acute pain for longer than a few weeks may be a sign that your tailbone is broken. Consulting with your doctor is always the best option for treatment.
An injury to your tailbone is called coccydynia after the word coccyx, the medical term for the bone. It is made up of a triangle shape of bones at the bottom of your spine and has three to five segments. Mild treatment to the area is usually the only course of action after injury.
More women suffer from tailbone injury than men because they have a broader pelvis. The female tailbone becomes more exposed than a man's. Sitting down on a hard object, childbirth, getting hit during contact sports, repetitive stress from biking, bone spurs, infection and tumours are all causes of tailbone injury.
Identifying a bruised tailbone is easy. The pain is intense and concentrated in the seat area, and it can make bowel movements and sex painful. You might also feel tenderness or swelling and wince after sitting too long. You can start treating a bruised tailbone by alternating your sitting and using a pillow or a doughnut cushion to cushion yourself.
Ice your tailbone for up to 20 minutes three to four times a day, during the days following your injury. You can also take ibuprofen for the pain. If your tailbone is sensitive during bowel movements, eat more fibre to soften your stools and drink water to flush out any constipation. Your doctor might also recommend laxatives. Do not take any medications that you may be allergic to or that have not been recommended by your health care provider.
Take calming baths, meditate, work on deep breathing exercises and employ stress-reducing techniques to ease the pain. Lying on your side and leaning forward while sitting can also alleviate stress on the tailbone.
A bruised tailbone should heal itself within a few weeks with the help of ice, alleviating pressure on the area, and ibuprofen. Pain for more than a month may be a sign that there is a fracture in the tailbone. Treatment is typically the same as for a bruise, but it may require follow-up with a doctor.
For intense, long-term pain, a doctor may prescribe pain medication or take an X-ray of your tailbone to determine if it's fractured. In rare cases involving tumours, a tailbone might be surgically removed to resolve the issue.