The coccyx (also known as the tailbone) is the triangular bony structure at the bottom of the vertebral column that serves as an attachment for our pelvic floor muscles. It is composed of three to five bony segments held in place by joints and ligaments. When injured, it can cause debilitating pain. This pain can be termed as coccygodynia, coccydynia, or coccalgia.
These injuries may result in a bruise, dislocation, or fracture (break) of the coccyx. Although they may be slow to heal, the majority of coccyx injuries can be managed with cautious treatment.
The majority of coccyx injuries occur in women, because the female pelvis is broader and the coccyx is more exposed.
Most tailbone injuries are caused by trauma to the coccyx area, such as:
Your doctor can determine if you have a fractured or dislocated coccyx with an x-ray. It is best to have the x-ray done in both sitting and standing positions to understand the severity of the injury.
Though coccydynia usually resolves over weeks to months with supportive care, it is sometimes protracted and debilitating. To speed up the recovery period, pelvic floor physical therapy can help improve coccyx positioning and pelvic floor muscle tone. Biofeedback, manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, and activities are some of the treatment techniques used in physical therapy for this problem.
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