A group of three to five small bones called the coccyx is at the base of your spine. When you have a tailbone injury, you have bruised or fractured one of these bones.
Most tailbone injuries lead to bruising and pain but rarely lead to an actual fracture or broken bone.
Tailbone injuries are often caused by backward falls onto a hard surface, such as a slippery floor or ice.
Symptoms of a tailbone injury include:
A tailbone injury can be very painful and slow to heal. Healing time for an injured tailbone depends on the severity of the injury.
In rare cases, symptoms do not improve. Injection of a steroid medication may be tried. Surgery to remove part of the tailbone may be discussed at some point, but rarely not until 6 months or more after the injury.
Follow these steps for the first few days or weeks after your injury:
For pain, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and others) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, and others). You can buy these medications without a prescription.
It may be painful to go to the bathroom. Softening your stools may make it easier when using the bathroom. Eat plenty of fiber and drink plenty of fluids. You can also find stool softeners at your local drugstore.
As your pain goes away, you can begin light physical activity. Slowly increase your activities such as walking and sitting.
Your doctor may not need to follow up if the injury is healing as expected. Your doctor may want to you to follow up if the injury is more severe.
Call the doctor if you have:
Coccyx injury: Coccyx fracture
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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