Your tailbone, more correctly called the coccyx, makes up the bottom portion of your spine below the sacrum. The triangular arrangement of three to five fused bones is thought to be the remnant of a tail, hence the common name tailbone.
Although the bones of the coccyx are fused, it is not one solid bone. Fibrous joints and ligaments allow for limited movement among the bones of the coccyx. The coccyx moves slightly forward and backward with movement of the pelvis, hips, and legs.
When you sit or stand, the coccyx, along with other bones that make up the pelvis, adjust position to better support and balance your body. When sitting, your weight is distributed among the sit-bones, or ischium, and the tailbone, to provide balance and stability.
Coccydynia is the name assigned to pain in your tailbone. Pain is localized and usually worsens when sitting or with activities that put pressure on the bottom of the spine, like sitting on hard surfaces, having a bowel movement or during sexual intercourse. Coccydynia is most common in women, often caused by trauma to the tailbone from childbirth or from a backward fall. Obesity increases the risk of coccydynia.
Coccydynia is normally diagnosed through medical history and physical exam, although diagnostic ultrasound may be employed to confirm the condition. Most traditional treatments for tailbone pain are non-invasive and conservative.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a technologically advanced and non-invasive therapy that uses shockwaves to treat tailbone pain. During an ESWT session, a sequence of sonic pulses with a high peak pressure, rapid pressure rise, and short duration are generated outside the body, focused on the coccyx.
In a recent randomized controlled study comparing ESWT to physical modalities, the research team found ESWT to be a more effective and satisfactory treatment for reducing tailbone pain, discomfort and disability than treatment with physical modalities.
In another study of patients who did not respond well to traditional treatments, ESWT dramatically reduced pain and discomfort, and continued to be effective at a 12-month follow-up.
The sports medicine professionals at NYDNRehab have extensive experience treating tailbone pain. We use cutting edge technology, combining diagnostic ultrasonography and extracorporeal shockwave therapy to treat coccydynia. At NYDNRehab, we are dedicated to getting to the source of your pain, not just treating the symptoms. If you are suffering from tailbone pain, do not waste your time and money on therapies and treatments that fall short of the mark. Make an appointment with NYDNRehab today, and set yourself on the road to recovery from coccydynia.
Lin SF, et al. (2015) The effects of extracorporeal shock wave therapy in patients with coccydynia: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE 10(11), e0142475.
Marwan, Yousef et al.(2014). Extracorporeal shock wave therapy relieved pain in patients with coccydynia: a report of two cases. The Spine Journal, 14(1), e1-e4.