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. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair California

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this web site needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info!


    June 17, 2021 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair Santa Ana

    I blog frequently and I truly thank you for your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to book mark your site and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your Feed as well.


    June 17, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Nearby RV Repair

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that make the most significant changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    June 17, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Santa Ana

    After I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!


    June 17, 2021 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair


    June 17, 2021 at 05:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


    June 17, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Arnulfo Griver

    He always played frequently of nights. Season #4 – Approved a bill granting Warriors fought their way into a BCS bowl game in 2008.

    Kevin Durant attempted 1,366 field goals and 448 free
    carries out.

    June 17, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Orange County


    June 17, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Camper Repair Shop Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. bike shops near me


    June 17, 2021 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. www.pharmaceptica.com

    erectile issues https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 17, 2021 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. trade csgo skins

    Excellent items from you, man. I have consider
    your stuff previous to and you're just too great.
    I actually like what you've obtained right here, really like what you're stating and
    the way through which you assert it. You make it enjoyable and you continue to take
    care of to keep it wise. I cant wait to learn far more
    from you. This is really a great web site.

    June 17, 2021 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. xfinity store near me


    June 17, 2021 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. same day covid testing near me

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I can't join it. Is there anyone else having identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 17, 2021 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. tacos near me

    There is certainly a lot to find out about this topic. I really like all the points you have made.


    June 17, 2021 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. total wine near me

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 17, 2021 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. animal hospital near me


    June 17, 2021 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. papa john's near me


    June 17, 2021 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. gun range near me


    June 17, 2021 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. salons near me


    June 17, 2021 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. massage near me

    You've made some really good points there. I checked on the web for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    June 17, 2021 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. sears near me

    This website definitely has all the info I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 17, 2021 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. grocery near me


    June 17, 2021 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. total wine near me


    June 17, 2021 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. airbnb near me


    June 18, 2021 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. small engine repair near me

    This is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate informationÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 18, 2021 at 02:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. publix near me


    June 18, 2021 at 03:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. ups drop box near me


    June 18, 2021 at 04:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. spas near me

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It's always interesting to read articles from other authors and practice something from other web sites.


    June 18, 2021 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. www.amazon.com/mytv

    http://www.Amazon.com/mytv Enter Code – Amazon.com/mytv – Register on Your Smart Device
    To get to the http://www.amazon.com/mytv, you should simply to enlist from your gadget and utilize the http://www.amazon.com/mytv code
    that is of 5 to 6 character and it is arranged in the Amazon video application on the TV
    or the gadget. In the event that you don’t know what is
    Amazon Prime, it is a paid membership application to http://www.amazon.com/mytv which will give
    you admittance to an enormous scope of administrations with
    free quick conveyance and limitless video web-based features that are only accessible
    with the arrangements among the others.


    June 18, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. stores near me

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more about this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people don't talk about these topics. To the next! All the best!!


    June 18, 2021 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. barbershop near me


    June 18, 2021 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. bob evans near me

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always exciting to read through content from other writers and practice a little something from their websites.


    June 18, 2021 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. vape stores near me


    June 18, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. liquor near me

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me just as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I really thought you'd have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    June 18, 2021 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repairs Nearby

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who was doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this matter here on your web site.


    June 18, 2021 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Seal Beach

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe that this site needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!


    June 18, 2021 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair

    There's certainly a lot to find out about this issue. I really like all the points you've made.


    June 18, 2021 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. new house construction


    June 18, 2021 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Camper Repair Shops Near Me


    June 18, 2021 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. pharmaceptica

    chloroquine tablets https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Many thanks for providing this information.


    June 18, 2021 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Fountain Valley


    June 18, 2021 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 18, 2021 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. wings near me

    There's certainly a lot to find out about this topic. I like all the points you have made.


    June 18, 2021 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    This website certainly has all of the info I needed concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 18, 2021 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair Garden Grove

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!


    June 18, 2021 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Well written!


    June 18, 2021 at 21:18 | 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 combigan


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.