Coccyx Pain: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

The coccyx is your tailbone. You can have pain in your tailbone from a fall or other injury. Pregnancy and childbirth also can cause tailbone pain. Sometimes, the cause of pain is not known. A tailbone injury causes pain when you sit, especially when you slump or sit on a hard seat. Straining to have a bowel movement also can be very painful.

Tailbone injuries can take several months to heal, but in some cases the pain goes even longer. You can take steps at home to ease the pain. In some cases, a doctor injects a corticosteroid medicine into the coccyx to reduce swelling and pain.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, take an over-the-counter medicine to reduce pain.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your tailbone for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • About 2 or 3 days after your injury, you can alternate ice and heat. To soothe the tailbone area, take a warm bath for 20 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day.
  • Sit on soft, padded surfaces. A doughnut-shaped pillow can take pressure off the tailbone.
  • Avoid constipation, because straining to have a bowel movement will increase your tailbone pain.
    • Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fibre.
    • Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
    • Get some exercise every day. Build up slowly to 30 to 60 minutes a day on 5 or more days of the week.
    • Take a fibre supplement, such as Benefibre or Metamucil, every day if needed. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • Schedule time each day for a bowel movement. A daily routine may help. Take your time and do not strain when having a bowel movement.
  • Follow your doctor's directions for stretching and other exercises that might help with pain.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You are unable to move a leg at all.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse symptoms in your legs or buttocks. Symptoms may include:
    • Numbness or tingling.
    • Weakness.
    • Pain.
  • You lose bladder or bowel control.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You are not getting better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: May 27, 2016