Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain)
- Posted on: Sep 1 2015
As a specialist in the diagnosis, treatment, and documentation of injuries sustained in all types of accidents (car accidents, work accidents, construction accidents, slip and falls, etc.) Dr. Jeff J. Mollins (Brooklyn’s most popular doctor), often treats cases of coccydinia. Although not as common as other back injuries, coccyx pain can be disabling, and MUST be diagnosed properly to rule out any conditions that may have similar symptoms but are much dire.
The coccyx is the very bottom portion of the spine. It represents a vestigial tail (hence the common term “tailbone”) and consists of three or more very small bones fused together. While it was originally thought that the coccyx is always fused together (with no movement between the coccygeal vertebrae), it is now known that the entire coccyx is not one solid bone but often there is some limited movement between the bones permitted by the fibrous joints and ligaments.
The most common causes of coccydynia are the following:
- Local Trauma-A fall on the tailbone (or trauma to the tailbone as seen in many accidents) can inflame the ligaments or injure the coccyx or the coccygeal attachment to the sacrum. This is the most common cause of tailbone pain and also the most commonly seen in the office of Dr. Jeff J. Mollins.
- Childbirth-During delivery, the baby’s head passes over the top of the coccyx, and the pressure created against the coccyx can sometimes result in injury to the coccyx structures. While uncommon, the pressure can also cause a fracture in the coccyx.
- Pressure-Certain activities that put prolonged pressure on the tailbone (like sitting on a hard surface for long periods of time), may cause the onset of coccyx pain. If this condition occurs at work (like constant sitting behind a computer), then this injury may be considered a work related accident and possibly covered under New York State workers compensation as a repetitive stress injury.
- Tumor or Infection-Rarely, coccydynia is due to a tumor or infection in the coccyx area that puts pressure on the coccyx. An experienced doctor (like Dr. Jeff J. Mollins), must be able to successfully diagnosis this condition and provide the proper medical referrals to prevent potential serious consequences.
Diagnosing coccydinia, as always, starts with a clear, concise, history. Dr. Mollins is fully aware that understanding the precise mechanism of the accident can often lead to an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Mollins is very specific when performing the history and always asks about pre-existing conditions which includes any previous accidents and/or injuries. The next step is to perform a comprehensive, thorough, physical examination which includes both orthopedic and neurologic testing as well as concise measurement of ranges of motion of the affected areas. Often, Dr Mollins will require the need for diagnostic testing. In the case of coccyx pain, standard x-rays and/or mri scan are commonly required. When it comes to providing an accurate diagnosis, Dr. Mollins does not hesitate to refer for needed diagnostic testing.
Treatments for coccydinia are usually noninvasive and local. Some of the treatments consist of the following:
- Initially applying ice to the affected area. This will reduce both swelling and pain.
- After the first 24 hours, changeover to moist heat which can promote and begin the healing process.
- Place the patient on a comprehensive regimen of chiropractic treatment, augmented by various forms of physiotherapy (ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation for example).
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce the swelling around the coccyx that is usually a cause of the pain.
- Avoid sitting for prolonged periods, or placing pressure on the area, as much as possible.
- As always, if the problem is due to infection or tumor (or even if suspected) refer to the appropriate physician.
Remember, if you are involved in any type of accident feel free to call Dr. Mollins, even if you don’t believe you are seriously injured. Dr. Mollins believes it is always better to be safe than sorry!!
Posted in: Back Pain Treatment