June 8th, 2011
01:28 PM ET

Can my tailbone pain be cured?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Asked by Will of Denver, Colorado

I am an average person - good health and slightly overweight. Last year on a dare/challenge from a friend I rode my bicycle 50 miles without any previous training. I successfully completed the 50 miles, although I had extreme pain in my tailbone following the ride. I assumed this was temporary and continued to live my life. However, a year or so later it still has pain when I sit down. I'm not sure where to start besides seeing my normal doctor. Is this something that can be cured or could I have done lifelong damage to my tailbone?

Expert answer

Dear Will,

I think you already know that strenuous exercise without proper preparation through training is not a good idea.

That being said, the medical term for pain in the tailbone is coccydynia. It is usually caused by trauma and it usually gets better with conservative therapy over a period of several weeks, but it can sometimes take several months for it to improve.

The coccyx is a projection at the base of the spine. It is made of bone, cartilage and fibers. The coccyx bears weight when a person is sitting.

Some of the muscles that control defecation attach to the coccyx, and there may be pain in the injured tailbone upon defecation and when tightening the anal sphincter.

There are no national incidence numbers for this condition, but pain in the tailbone is a rather common problem. A busy primary care doctor usually sees a few cases per year. It is far more prevalent in women than men. It is rare in children.

The most common cause is traumatic injury from a fall backwards into a sitting position. Other causes include repetitive minor trauma from sitting a long time. People not only get it from long bike rides, but from sitting in a car or plane for a prolonged period. Sitting on hard surfaces is more likely to cause it.

Women can get coccydynia through trauma during vaginal birthing.

Obesity is a major risk factor in men and women. The diagnosis of coccydynia is made through the patient's history of the pain and trauma and from physical examination.

On examination, the physician can usually reproduce the symptoms through direct pressure on the tailbone. Initial treatment is conservative, using nonsteroidal pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen; protection of the area with a donut or wedge pillow; and alternating applications of heat and cold packs.

Patients with pain after more than three months of good conservative therapy merit further evaluation which might include X-rays of the pelvis and tailbone.

A very few patients will need to be treated with injections of local anesthetic, or local anesthetic and steroids, directly into the tailbone area. In a very rare case of protracted pain without improvement, the tailbone can be surgically removed. This operation is called a coccygyectomy.

soundoff (1,780 Responses)
  1. Mercedes Sprinter Start Error Fault Repair

    You are so awesome! I do not suppose I have read through anything like that before. So wonderful to discover another person with original thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that's needed on the web, someone with some originality!


    June 3, 2021 at 06:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. SEO Marketing Consultants


    June 3, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Video Marketing Companies

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!


    June 3, 2021 at 07:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Internet Marketing Companies


    June 3, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mercedes Sprinter Service Center Near Me

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 3, 2021 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Auto Sprinter Repair

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after going through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!


    June 3, 2021 at 07:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Tires Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. CrulkAsd

    cialis shop dapoxetine and cialis cialis drug

    June 3, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. rv insurance near me

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Many thanks!


    June 3, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. 2012 Mercedez Benz Sprinter Repair


    June 3, 2021 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. rv orange county ca

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog articles.


    June 3, 2021 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Internet Marketing Companies Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Local Marketing Business


    June 3, 2021 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Couches Riverside

    This is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 3, 2021 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Mechanics California


    June 3, 2021 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Social Media Marketing Agencies Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. EncoxAni

    rx discount pharmacy trustworthy canadian pharmacy international pharmacy no prescription

    June 3, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 2006 Sprinter Climate Control Repair


    June 3, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. couch repair near me


    June 3, 2021 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. trailer repair shops near me

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    June 3, 2021 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Roof Repair Service Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 20:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sprinter Van Repair Laguna Niguel

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am going through problems with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I can't join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 3, 2021 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sprinter Repair Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. redtube store


    June 4, 2021 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. fleet repair near me

    I really love your blog.. Great colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as Iím attempting to create my own personal site and would love to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Appreciate it!


    June 4, 2021 at 00:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Local Marketing Near Me

    I blog often and I really thank you for your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.


    June 4, 2021 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. MileSwa

    cialis buy generic cialis online cialis black 800 to buy in the uk one pill

    June 4, 2021 at 00:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Authorized Mercedes Sprinter Service Centers Near Me


    June 4, 2021 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. hiking near me

    Howdy! This article could not be written much better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will send this post to him. Pretty sure he'll have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


    June 4, 2021 at 06:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. watch repair san clemente


    June 4, 2021 at 06:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Sprinter Heater Valve Repair

    I blog quite often and I truly thank you for your information. Your article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.


    June 4, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Van Wheelchair Lift Repair


    June 4, 2021 at 07:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Freightliner Sprinter Service

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to check out new things you postÖ


    June 4, 2021 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. ZisseVed

    cialis walgreens coupon cialis suppliers what do cialis pills look like

    June 4, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. awnings orange county ca

    Itís difficult to find well-informed people in this particular topic, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 4, 2021 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. social security office near me

    Hi! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after going through many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Nonetheless, Iím definitely delighted I discovered it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!


    June 4, 2021 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Sprinter Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 4, 2021 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. EncoxGtv

    best rx online pharmacy discount drugs of canada canadian pharmacy meds.com

    June 4, 2021 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Sprinter Diesel Repair

    May I simply say what a relief to uncover someone who really understands what they are talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you're not more popular given that you certainly have the gift.


    June 4, 2021 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Sprinter Side Door Repair


    June 4, 2021 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Repair My 2006 Dodge Sprinter 3500 Rv

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Many thanks! Where are your contact details though?


    June 4, 2021 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Repair Body Rust On Sprinter Van

    Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!


    June 4, 2021 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. fedex office near me


    June 4, 2021 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. High Roof Sprinter Repair Panels


    June 4, 2021 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sprinter Black Death Repair


    June 4, 2021 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. CrulkAsd

    buy cialis paypal paypal cialis cialis discount

    June 4, 2021 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. camper repair places near me

    After looking over a number of the blog articles on your web page, I really like your way of blogging. I added it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my web site as well and let me know how you feel.


    June 4, 2021 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Mercedes Sprinter Rust Repair Panels

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!


    June 4, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. wing stop near me


    June 4, 2021 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. tadalafil cvs

    tadalafil peptides tadalafil vs vardenafil tadalafil research chemical

    June 4, 2021 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

Leave a Reply to LebnEncox


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.