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. 2006 Sprinter Tank Fuel Pump Repair

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I am hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own site now 😉


    June 4, 2021 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Art Van Repair


    June 4, 2021 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 2006 Sprinter Transmion Repair

    I could not resist commenting. Perfectly written!


    June 4, 2021 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. EncoxHtf

    cialis for bph reviews cialis 20 mg price canada buying viagra or cialis min canada

    June 5, 2021 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Locksmith Las Vegas

    I am really happy to say it's an interesting post to read . I learn new information from your article , you are doing a great job . Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    June 5, 2021 at 06:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Pressure Washing Sacramento

    Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations. You’re doing great work. Keep it up. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    June 5, 2021 at 06:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. EncoxAni

    Zoloft nw pharmacy in canada cialis online pharmacy

    June 5, 2021 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Pressure Washing Sacramento

    I really like this post. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    June 5, 2021 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 2006 Mercades Sprinter 2500 Turbo Actuator Repair

    Good info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!


    June 5, 2021 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv repair shops near me


    June 5, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. zaxby's near me

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the greatest websites on the net. I'm going to highly recommend this web site!


    June 5, 2021 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Google Marketing Experts


    June 5, 2021 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. tadalafil daily online

    tadalafil tablets ip 20 mg canada generic tadalafil tadalafil 75mg

    June 5, 2021 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Mercedes Sprinter Repair

    You have made some decent points there. I looked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    June 5, 2021 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. cheap cialis

    how long does tadalafil last cialis pills tadalafil evolution peptides

    June 5, 2021 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 2006 Sprinter Transmion Repair

    I absolutely love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím trying to create my own personal website and want to find out where you got this from or what the theme is called. Appreciate it!


    June 5, 2021 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. cialis without a prescription

    tadalafil 30mg liquid cialis without a prescription tadalafil tablets 5mg

    June 5, 2021 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sprinter Seat Fabric Repair


    June 5, 2021 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Sprinter Van Brake Repair Near Me


    June 5, 2021 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. eye doctor near me


    June 5, 2021 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Handicap Van Ramp Repair


    June 5, 2021 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Dodge Sprinter Vacuum Pump Repair


    June 6, 2021 at 05:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Mercedes Sprinter 3.0 Intake Runner Repair


    June 6, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Conversion Van Repair Near Me

    May I simply just say what a comfort to find somebody who genuinely understands what they are talking about on the net. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you aren't more popular given that you definitely have the gift.


    June 6, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. spas near me


    June 6, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. hydroxychloroquine sulfate corona

    cloriquine 20201023 cloraquine

    June 6, 2021 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Mercedes Sprinter Body Repair

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this site needs far more attention. Iíll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!


    June 6, 2021 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. oc furniture yorba linda


    June 6, 2021 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. nice bnf

    chloroquine natural sources hydroxychloroquine buy choroquine

    June 6, 2021 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Sprinter Rv Repair Near Here

    Hello there! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for the excellent info you have here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.


    June 6, 2021 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. casinos near me

    After looking at a handful of the blog posts on your web site, I honestly appreciate your technique of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site too and let me know how you feel.


    June 7, 2021 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. EncoxGtv

    canadia online pharmacy canadian pharmacy clomid canada pet pharmacy

    June 7, 2021 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Van Sliding Door Repair

    Hi, I do think this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to come back once again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    June 7, 2021 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. cabinet repair orange county

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not fail me just as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I really thought you'd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.


    June 7, 2021 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Mercedes Winnebago Sprinter Repair


    June 7, 2021 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Freightliner Sprinter Service


    June 7, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. orange county california rv parks

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I really thought you would probably have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.


    June 8, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. 먹튀검증업체

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this
    site. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you
    later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal site now

    June 8, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. horse trailer repair


    June 8, 2021 at 02:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. toy hauler modifications


    June 8, 2021 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Parts Riverside

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!


    June 8, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. repair rv door

    Howdy! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs up for your great information you have here on this post. I'll be coming back to your web site for more soon.


    June 8, 2021 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Zisseloh

    free cialis cialis viagra mail order uk discrete billing www cialis

    June 8, 2021 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Mercedes Sprinter Van Abs Repair


    June 8, 2021 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. EncoxHtf

    active ingredient in cialis cialis and blood thinners cialis cheap generic

    June 8, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Leak Riverside

    I was excited to uncover this site. I wanted to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely savored every part of it and i also have you book marked to check out new stuff in your web site.


    June 8, 2021 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. boom truck repair


    June 8, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. cloroquine protein

    side effects of hydroxychloroquine aralen for sale hydroxychloroquine sulfate 200

    June 8, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. nivaquine

    what is hydroxychloroquine sulfate aralen for sale hydrocloquin

    June 8, 2021 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Zisseloh

    cialis vision loss cialis w/dapoxetine cialis price australia

    June 8, 2021 at 17:56 | 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 Shera Kinsky


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.