Tailbone pain (also known as pain in coccyx, coccydynia, coccygodynia) is a very common and bothersome pain that is easily diagnosed. One who suffers from pain in coccyx feels an annoying pain in most sitting positions. Almost everyone is said to have experienced it at least once in life. It is a self-limiting disease that resolves within weeks with supportive care.
It is commonly cause by direct trauma when someone falls backwards into a sitting position. In this situation, the coccyx, which is the small end part of the backbone, becomes hurt. Very rarely, it might break and become dislocated. This causes inflammation and local muscles spasms, which also contribute to the annoying pain. People who are overweight are more likely to develop tailbone pain.
In the absence of a history of a major trauma, repetitive minor trauma can also cause tailbone pain. A frequent scenario is prolonged sitting in a poor position, which often happens during a car travel or intercontinental air travel. It gets worse when someone sits on a hard, narrow or ill-shaped surface.
Another cause of tailbone pain is degenerative joint disease. Injury to the joint and bony structures could have happened at the time of birth that happens during difficult childbirth. It could also happen later in life similar to other joints that undergo degenerative changes. Obesity is also known to be a risk factor for degenerative joint diseases.
Other disorders affecting structures close to the coccyx can produce pain in that region. Pilonidal sinus infection should be mentioned, which is presented with pain, warmth and redness over the coccyx. The underwear covering that area becomes stained with the pus-filled discharge from a pilonidal cyst that is infected. It is easy to pick this disease as the swelling, discharge and small openings are visible during examination.
There are other uncommon causes that produce tailbone pain. Sometimes spasm of the muscles in the area creates annoying pain, which is usually resolved spontaneously. Diseases of the anus and its supporting structures can also be a source of pain.
A number of bone diseases can hit the coccyx and be responsible for a localized pain. Tumors in that area are also seen which might directly compress the coccyx or irritate the sensory nerves in that area.
Tailbone pain is a benign and self-limiting clinical disease. Over-the-counter pain relief medication is part of the initial management. There are pillows and cushions, which direct the force and pressure away from coccyx. When tailbone pain becomes prolonged, diagnostic tests and surgical intervention might come into play. These conditions should be investigated and identified by experienced physicians.
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