Back Pain

Fractured Tailbone

Coccyx or tailbone is the last segment of the spine. This comprises of 3 – 5 vertebrae which can be either separated or fused. In humans, coccyx is located deep inside such that it is safeguarded from any trauma or injury. Yet, some people, particularly women, have very prominent tailbones which are more susceptible to injuries. A seated fall or any direct blow may result in coccyx injuries. Dislocations and bruises are the most common injuries. Even minor fractures and hairline cracks may emerge, but rarely one can find complex bone fractures. This article discusses about the causes, symptoms and recovery of fractured tailbone.

Causes of Fractured Tailbone:

Many tailbone fractures are simple ones such as hairline fractures. Simple fractures or common hairline fractures are located between the joints of coccygeal vertebrae.

  • Chip type break is another common form of fractured tailbone. When a concentrated and strong force is applied to the coccyx, tailbone fracture may develop.
  • A direct blow to the region or a seated fall may also lead to tailbone fracture.
  • Childbirth and pregnancy may also lead to coccyx, minor fractures or injuries.
  • It is noticed that people who participate in regular bicycling or rowing are more prone to this condition and this leads to fractured coccyx and other symptoms.

Symptoms of Fractured Tailbone:

As discussed above, complex tailbone fractures occur very rarely. However, minor cracks and hairline fractures may lead to tenderness, discomfort and severe pain in the site.

  • Bruises may also occur in the case of trauma.
  • Coccyx fracture makes it very difficult for an individual to sit for long durations, particularly on soft surfaces.
  • Also, bowel movement is extremely painful.
  • In women with tailbone fracture, sexual intercourse is painful.
  • Some people feel shooting pain in the legs due to coccyx fracture.

Recovery from Fractured Tailbone:

Most tailbone fractures aren’t medical emergencies, but complex fractures may lead to excruciating pain in tailbone, numbness and tingling sensation in the region and also weakness in the legs. Immediate medical attention is required in such cases. Often, tailbone fracture is detected with the help of X-rays and other procedures.

Mostly, tailbone fracture heals on its own and treatment includes oral medications such as pain relievers, changes in lifestyle, usage of special seat cushions, injections, stool softeners, etc. It takes one year for healing. Also, exercises for tailbone fracture are suggested in this time.

If symptoms doesn’t improve after 12 – 15 months of treatment, it can be because of other problem. Coccyx removal surgery or coccyx repair surgery is performed in complex tailbone fracture.

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