The end portion of your spine below the sacrum is called the coccyx, or tail bone, made up of three to five bones fused together to form a triangular shape. Fibrous joints and ligaments allow for some limited motion within the coccyx, enabling it to move backward and forward with movements of the legs, hips and pelvis, and adjusting for support and balance during standing and sitting. When seated, your body weight is distributed among your ischium (sit bones) and your coccyx.
Coccydynia is localized pain that gets worse during activities that put pressure on the lower spine, like sitting, having a bowel movement, and during sex. The condition is more common in females, and often occurs from childbirth trauma, or after a fall. Obesity increases your risk of coccydynia.
Coccydynia is usually diagnosed through medical history and a clinical exam. At NYDNR, we use diagnostic ultrasound to visualize and confirm coccydynia.
Coccydynia can be treated conservatively, using non-invasive therapies. Traditional treatments for coccydynia include:
At NYDNR, we use extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) to treat tailbone pain. The treatment uses a sequence of short-duration sonic pulses with high peak pressure, directed at the tailbone. A recent randomized study (Lin et al, 2015) compared ESWT to other common therapies, and found it to be more effective and satisfactory in reducing tailbone pain.
In another study (Marwan et al., 2014), patients who did not respond well to traditional treatment methods reported a dramatic reduction in pain and discomfort, 12 months following their ESWT therapy.
The sports medicine team at NYDNR uses cutting edge technologies and innovative therapies to treat coccydynia. We are dedicated to getting to the source of your pain and correcting it, so you can return to your busy life, pain-free.
Lin, Shih-Feng, et al. “The effects of extracorporeal shock wave therapy in patients with coccydynia: a randomized controlled trial.” PloS one 10.11 (2015): e0142475.
Marwan, Yousef, et al. “Extracorporeal shock wave therapy relieved pain in patients with coccydynia: a report of two cases.” The Spine Journal 14.1 (2014): e1-e4.