The tailbone, also called the Coccyx, is a set of fused bones that make up the very end of the spine and it might be the culprit contributing to a lot of symptoms you may be experiencing, like constipation, low back or pelvic pain. The tailbone acts as an attachment point for many pelvic floor and hip muscles and can easily be shifted if muscles and ligaments surrounding it are tight or too loose. When there is pain at the tailbone, it is referred to as Coccydynia.
There can be many things that can cause tailbone pain, here are 4 examples we see most commonly:
1. A direct fall on your tailbone can cause a fracture of the tail bone or cause the tip of the tailbone to be bent or shifted.
2. Pregnancy or childbirth: Based on the positioning of your baby during pregnancy, as the fetus grows, more pressure is exerted on the tail bone causing increased pain.
3. Having a job requiring extended sitting especially sitting slouched, this leads to excessive and constant pressure placed on the tailbone.
4. If the Pelvic Floor Muscles are over-functioning, especially if one side of the pelvic floor muscles are over functioning over the other.
If your tailbone is irritated or shifted, common symptoms can include:
1. Achy or piercing pain in the tailbone.
2. Pain with bowel movements & constipation – if the tailbone tip is angled very forward it can actually push into the rectum causing a sensation of “bowel fullness” and feeling like you are not completely emptying your bowels.
3. Increase pain with sitting for long periods of time from the pressure especially if you are slouching as you sit.
4. Increase pain with position changes like sitting to standing.
5. Pain during sex.
The best way to tell the positioning of your coccyx, is by scheduling a visit with a pelvic health physical therapist. We are trained to be able to assess the positioning of the coccyx and the impact of it on surrounding ligaments and muscles. Based on the causes of your tail bone pain, we will develop a treatment plan to address your pain.
Some general guidelines for tailbone pain can include
stretching the muscles surrounding the pelvis with stretches such as: happy baby, or the stretching the piriformis
Avoiding sitting for long periods of time, and changing positions frequently
Applying hot or cold packs to relax the muscles surrounding the tailbone
If you feel, you are experiencing tail bone pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our pelvic floor physical therapists that will assess what is specifically going on with you. Schedule your discovery session today!