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?
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.
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.
It's a pity you don't have a donate button! I'd definitely donate to this fantastic blog!
I suppose for now i'll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google
account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group.
I like it when folks come together and share ideas.
Great blog, stick with it!
Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be exciting to read content from other authors and use a little something from other websites.
Hi there! This blog post couldnít be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!
Very nice write-up. I definitely love this website. Continue the good work!
You've made some good points there. I checked on the internet for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.
Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!
Link exchange is nothing else except it is only placing the other person's website link on your page at appropriate
place and other person wiill also do similar for you.
Feel free to visit my website situs slot online
Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!
After looking at a handful of the articles on your website, I truly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site too and tell me how you feel.
I truly love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím trying to create my very own site and would love to find out where you got this from or what the theme is called. Kudos!
That is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate informationÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!
Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!
This page truly has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.
Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post. Thank you for supplying these details.
Poker Stars Direct has it for almost 40% off the regular shop price. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman was clutch once again, delivering another last-second win for the Bucs. So of course, I picked the flow and took my spot.
Iím impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thatís both equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.
May I just say what a relief to uncover an individual who really understands what they are discussing on the internet. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you aren't more popular since you certainly possess the gift.
Hey there! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your great info you have here on this post. I am coming back to your blog for more soon.
Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. It's always exciting to read through articles from other authors and use something from other web sites.
I quite like reading an article that will make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this web site needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the information!
This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise infoÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!
A motivating discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you need to write more on this issue, it may not be a taboo matter but usually people don't speak about these subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!
I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!
I needed to thank you for this good read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to look at new things you postÖ
Hello! I could have sworn Iíve visited this blog before but after looking at a few of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím definitely pleased I found it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!
Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of the website is also really good.
Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering issues with your RSS. I donít understand why I cannot join it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!
Very nice write-up. I certainly love this website. Stick with it!
I couldnít resist commenting. Perfectly written!