Considered rare, tailbone pain (coccydynia) is often relegated to the lower back, hips, and buttocks. Caused by added pressure on the bottom of the spine, coccydynia usually becomes worse when sitting due to the location of the tailbone. Treatment typically involves a combination of remedies, and Santa Monica spine surgeons discuss the most common ones below.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Tailbone pain is frequently aggravated by the swelling of nearby tissues. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to minimize irritation around the tailbone. Such medications include Naproxen, ibuprofen, and COX-2 inhibitors.
2. Ice or Heat Therapy
When tailbone pain first appears, applying cold in the form of an ice pack or gel pack may soothe irritated or inflamed muscles. Ice should only be placed on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, off and on throughout the day. Applying heat with a heating pad or hot pack can produce similar results.
3. Adjusting Posture
Being mindful of your posture may keep pressure off your tailbone. Sit all the way back in chairs and shift positions periodically. Using ergonomically designed chairs may also help.
4. Donut Pillows
A specially designed U-shaped pillow called a donut pillow can reduce pain by taking pressure off your tailbone. Other custom pillows or foam pillows may have a similar effect.
5. Gentle Stretching
Relief is sometimes experienced by stretching the muscles around the tailbone. Consider working with a physical therapist to receive recommended stretches likely to be safe to perform. On a related note, manual manipulation in the form of massage therapy or chiropractic treatment can also stretch and soothe supporting muscles.
In rare cases, a surgical procedure called a coccygectomy may be performed to remove the coccyx (tailbone). It will usually only be considered if conservative treatments haven’t been working for anywhere from 5 to 6 months to a year or if the pain is severe and not going away after activity modification and the use of heating pads or ice packs. Local injections may provide enough relief to avoid surgery altogether.
To learn more about coccydynia and other conditions that cause back pain, get in touch with the expert surgeons at The Spine Institute Center. We provide a wide array of surgical and non-surgical services, including XLIF fusion surgery, epidural steroid injections, and Mobi-C disc replacement. Santa Monica residents looking for relief from their chronic pain should give us a call at 310-828-7757. We hope to hear from you soon.