Do you suffer from regular pain at the base of your spine?
Yes. You may be experiencing pain in your coccyx bone, or as we more commonly call it, your tailbone. Coccyx pain can cause persistent discomfort that's difficult to ignore.
It can range from mild to severe, so it’s essential to seek help from a physical therapist if the pain doesn’t resolve within a reasonable timeframe (before things get worse).
Some people refer to the pain in this area as “coccydynia," which is a common condition affecting up to 16% of the general population.
It causes symptoms such as sharp or dull pain in the lower back and between the buttocks.
Other factors that can increase your risk of tailbone pain include obesity and spondylolisthesis (a condition where a vertebra slips out of place or sitting in one place for too long.
While there may be days when dealing with coccyx pain becomes challenging, remember that various non-surgical interventions – like physical therapy, are proven to help decrease the discomfort and increase your quality of life.
So, let’s look at some of the potential causes of persistent pain in the tailbone and explore how physical therapy can help you get back on track.
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The Anatomy Of Your Spine And The Coccyx Bone
As the foundation of our body, the spine plays a crucial role in facilitating your movements and supporting your upper body.
Therefore, understanding its anatomy is essential for maintaining a healthy spine, preventing injuries, and understanding the potential causes of your pain.
In addition, knowing the different parts of your spine and how they function together can help you take better care of it and prevent painful conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and sciatica.
The human spine generally consists of 33 bones called vertebrae, separated by intervertebral discs that function as shock absorbers.
The coccyx bone, commonly known as the tailbone, is at the base of your spine and consists of 3-5 fused vertebrae forming a triangular shape and is typically 1-2 inches long in an adult human.
Despite its relatively small size and seemingly minor role in the body, the coccyx plays an important role in supporting the upper body's weight and enabling comfortable movement during activities like sitting, standing, and walking.
The coccyx is an attachment point for several muscles crucial for health and physical function. These muscles include the glutes, the levator ani – on either side of the pelvis, and the coccygeus muscles, which together form the “pelvic diaphragm” or, as it's more commonly known, the pelvic floor.
Treatment for coccyx injuries can include pain management strategies like ice, heat, or medication, as well as physical therapy and, in some cases, surgery.
In rare cases, the coccyx may need to be removed entirely (a procedure called a coccygectomy) to alleviate chronic pain or other issues.
What Causes Coccyx Pain?
Coccyx or tailbone pain can significantly affect your quality of life – when the bone at the bottom of your spine becomes injured or inflamed, leading to discomfort and pain.
Some of the most common causes of coccyx pain include trauma from a fall or childbirth, degenerative joint disease, and poor posture.
People who spend hours sitting, such as office workers or truck drivers, are also at a higher risk of developing coccyx pain.
In addition, some people are born with a more flexible coccyx that has not fused completely, which can lead to pain or discomfort when sitting for long periods of time.
Injuries to the coccyx are common and can be caused by several factors, including falls or repetitive strain.
One of the most causes of coccyx pain is a traumatic injury, such as a fall onto the tailbone. The symptoms of a coccyx injury can include sharp, localized pain in the tailbone area, pain when sitting or during certain movements, and inflammation or bruising of the skin over the affected area.
In addition, conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis can contribute to coccyx pain. Endometriosis, infections, and tumors in the pelvic region can also lead to discomfort in the tailbone area.
There is no cut-and-dried cause, so getting a proper diagnosis and ruling out more serious conditions is important.
While the pain can be mild and go away on its own, in some cases, it can become chronic and require medical intervention. But the most important thing to note is you must get a proper diagnosis for coccyx pain from a trained physical therapist who can help you discover the root cause.
How To Treat Coccyx Pain
Tailbone pain is a frustrating issue for those who experience it. Still, there are numerous treatments available to help alleviate the pain.
These treatments include rest, ice and heat therapy, over-the-counter pain medications, and physical therapy.
In more severe cases, injections or surgery may be necessary to fix coccyx pain. But we recommend you consult a physical therapist before doing anything to decide the best course of treatment for your situation.
Seeking treatment early can promote faster recovery, help prevent complications and keep you off the surgeon’s table.
So, if you are experiencing coccyx pain, don't suffer in silence – book a free consultation with one of our physical therapists.
While coccyx pain isn’t an overly common complaint, don’t be tempted to brush it aside. It’s important to understand the potential causes of persistent coccyx pain and find out the root cause for you.
Especially if your symptoms are persistent and become more severe over time. In that case, we strongly recommend you visit a physical therapist or doctor for diagnostic testing. Then, we can determine which treatment is best for your needs.
Why Physical Therapy Is The Best Treatment For Coccyx Pain
At Cardin & Miller Physical Therapy, we specialize in treating pain conditions, including lower back, foot, knee, shoulder, and neck pain.
Various factors, including poor posture, muscle imbalances, and injury, can cause these conditions. Therefore, identifying and addressing the underlying cause of pain is key to effective pain management.
It may be tempting to try and diagnose and treat coccyx pain on your own. However, delaying professional help is risky and can worsen pain over time. Without proper treatment, pain can lead to more significant injury, longer recovery times, and chronic pain.
Our mission is to provide you with the tools and support you need to live your best life pain-free. We can address underlying pain causes, increase strength, and reduce pain, amongst many other things.
Living with chronic pain can be debilitating, affecting every aspect of your life. Unfortunately, many people ignore their pain and hope that it goes away on its own.
However, the truth is that chronic pain rarely resolves itself without professional help. Seeking out physical therapy services can provide long-term pain relief.
While painkillers can provide short-term pain relief, they come with significant risks and side effects. Over time, regular painkiller use can cause damage to your liver, kidneys, stomach, and heart.
Physical therapy provides a safe and effective alternative for long-term pain relief without the risks of painkiller use.
Physical therapy is an important part of treatment for coccyx pain. Many people find 100% relief from coccyx pain with this type of therapy.
During the sessions, we work with you to develop a tailored plan that helps reduce coccyx-related pain and improves the overall mobility of your spine.
We start by evaluating the area around your tailbone to determine where your pain is coming from and what caused it in the first place.
This evaluation will include assessing your posture and muscle strength and your movement patterns while sitting or standing up. This evaluation helps us create a personalized treatment plan for you that targets the muscles and other areas affected by coccyx pain.
The therapies we use include stretching, postural re-alignment, education, strengthening exercises, and manual therapy. The stretching helps to stretch out your tight muscles. The ones that are contributing to the pain.
Manual therapy targets painful trigger points. At the same time, postural work helps you develop better posture and movement patterns that don't aggravate your symptoms.
Finally, when you're ready, strengthening exercises help to build muscle around the tailbone for added support.
By working with us, you can expect to experience significant improvement in your coccyx pain and overall mobility.
So, if you think you are suffering from coccyx pain, please seek help. We can create a plan and provide treatments to get you back on track and feeling better quickly.
Don't wait to schedule an appointment - take the first step towards a pain-free life today.