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Coccydynia (Tailbone pain) - Understanding the pain in your butt!

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Coccydynia, or pain in the tailbone, is a term used to describe pain experienced in or around the coccyx bone. The pain can vary from a dull ache to an intense sharp sensation. Interestingly, coccydynia is more prevalent in females, being five times more likely to affect them than men. This higher prevalence in females is often linked to pregnancy, which can become a literal pain in the butt.

The coccyx bone is located at the base of the spine and usually consists of 3-5 fused vertebrae. It forms a joint with the sacrum, known as the sacrococcygeal joint, and is an essential attachment site for the ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor.

What causes it?

Various factors can cause coccydynia, such as:

  • Direct impact or falling onto the coccyx bone

  • Excessive pressure on the coccyx during prolonged labor, resulting in postpartum coccydynia

  • The release of the pregnancy hormones which can alter the position of the coccyx bone due to ligament relaxation

  • Hypertonic pelvic floor muscles that displace or move the coccyx bone, leading to tenderness and pain

  • Prolonged sitting with poor posture, exerting extra force on the coccyx bone

  • Pelvic imbalance causing stress and strain on the coccyx or sacrococcygeal joint

  • Postural imbalances affecting the coccyx bone, sacrococcygeal joint, or related soft tissues

  • Gradual onset of coccydynia without any apparent cause.

Why is it important to treat the coccyx?

Despite its small size, the coccyx bone can significantly impact nearby muscles when experiencing pain. In the case of coccydynia, the pelvic floor muscles tend to tighten to protect the area, leading to a potential vicious cycle. The consequences of persistent pelvic floor tightness include impaired bladder and bowel control, sexual function, spinal stability, and lymphatic drainage.

The Osteopathic approach for coccyx pain:

When treating coccydynia, osteopaths consider the entire body, not just the coccyx region. Assessing the whole body helps identify any imbalances in the pelvis, sacrum, and spine that may affect the coccyx's alignment. Proper sitting posture education is crucial to minimize pressure on the coccyx bone, and stretches for the pelvic floor can aid in relaxation. A pelvic health osteopath can assist in relaxing the pelvic floor and aligning the coccyx bone.

At The Osteopathic Pelvic HubO our experienced Osteopaths are well-versed in treating coccydynia, whether it resulted from a fall or is related to pregnancy. We can assess your pelvic floor using real-time ultrasound or internal vaginal assessment, external assessment, providing education and rehabilitation for sustained relief and prevention of recurrence.


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