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. Teenage Leadership

    Hi, I do think your web site could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, great site!


    June 26, 2021 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Different Leadership Styles

    Hello there! I just would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info you have right here on this post. I am coming back to your web site for more soon.


    June 27, 2021 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. limetown podcast

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Many thanks for supplying this info.


    June 27, 2021 at 04:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. apple podcast rankings


    June 27, 2021 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. The Leadership Challenge


    June 27, 2021 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. The Dichotomy Of Leadership

    This is the perfect web site for anybody who really wants to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic which has been discussed for decades. Excellent stuff, just excellent!


    June 27, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. goop podcast

    I seriously love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as Iím looking to create my very own website and would like to know where you got this from or what the theme is called. Cheers!


    June 27, 2021 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Leadership Management


    June 27, 2021 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Leadership Course


    June 27, 2021 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ufo podcast


    June 27, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Leadership Images

    Great post. I will be dealing with a few of these issues as well..


    June 27, 2021 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Servant Leadership Examples

    I truly love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím planning to create my very own blog and would like to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Kudos!


    June 27, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 27, 2021 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 2500 Sprinter Van Repair


    June 27, 2021 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Courier Van Repair


    June 27, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Camper Repair Places Near Me


    June 27, 2021 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Nearby RV Repairs


    June 27, 2021 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Mercedes Sprinter Service Locations

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I can't join it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 27, 2021 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. local artist Victoria bc

    You actually make it seem really easy together
    with your presentation but I to find this matter to be actually something that I believe I'd never understand.
    It kind of feels too complicated and very broad for
    me. I'm taking a look forward for your next
    put up, I will attempt to get the cling of it!

    June 27, 2021 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 27, 2021 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Collision Repair Shop Near Me

    I needed to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you postÖ


    June 27, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sprinter Van Windshield Replacement Shop


    June 28, 2021 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repair Garden Grove


    June 28, 2021 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Van Technician


    June 28, 2021 at 00:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Places Near Me

    This is the perfect site for anyone who really wants to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been discussed for decades. Wonderful stuff, just great!


    June 28, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Rv Paint Shop


    June 28, 2021 at 06:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair San Clemente California


    June 28, 2021 at 06:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thanks for supplying these details.


    June 28, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Ford High Top Van Repair Shop

    Hi there, I believe your site could be having web browser compatibility problems. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, fantastic blog!


    June 28, 2021 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair Orange County California

    When I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!


    June 28, 2021 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Sprinter Van Repair Los Angeles

    Good site you have here.. Itís difficult to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    June 28, 2021 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 28, 2021 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Suspension Repair Sprinter Van


    June 28, 2021 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Airport Van Repair

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this site. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉


    June 28, 2021 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 28, 2021 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. more details

    always i used to read smaller articles or reviews which also clear their motive, and that is also happening with
    this paragraph which I am reading here.

    June 28, 2021 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Cheers!


    June 28, 2021 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Cargo Van Repair Shop


    June 28, 2021 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Cargo Van Repair Shop Near Me

    Howdy! This post couldnít be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


    June 28, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    This is the right blog for anybody who wants to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic which has been written about for ages. Excellent stuff, just great!


    June 28, 2021 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 28, 2021 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 2800 Suspension Repair Sprinter Van

    Hi! I just want to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post. I will be coming back to your website for more soon.


    June 28, 2021 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repair Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    Hi! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you have here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.


    June 28, 2021 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sprinter Repair Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Collision Repair Shop Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Chevrolet Cargo Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Repair Sprinter


    June 28, 2021 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Camper Repair Shop Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 22:54 | 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 Local Marketing Business


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.