The last bone of the vertebral column is known as the tailbone or coccyx in medical terms. It usually consists of three to five vertebrae, fused together, which connect with the sacrum. Any pain in and around the coccyx is called coccygodynia or tailbone pain. The pain is usually very prominent in the lower sacral and perineal areas of the body. Tailbone pain when sitting is a condition that affects more women as compared to men. This condition can be both acute as well as chronic.
There are various factors that can cause tailbone pain when sitting. The most common cause is, when the patients fall onto their buttocks. This causes an impact injury to the bone, giving rise to pain. Such a pain caused by injury is known as acute coccygodynia. On the other hand, chronic coccygodynia is caused due to a difficult pregnancy, delivery, repeated trauma to the last vertebrae or repeated strain caused due to repetitive activities like rowing, cycling, and having a faulty posture while sitting. There are some experts who opine that experiencing pain of the tailbone when sitting down can also be caused due to anal sex.
Malformation of the coccyx itself can be the primary cause of this pain. Spurs on the coccyx is another common cause. Often due to the bone spurs, there is no padding to protect the region, giving rise to pain. Damage to the sacrum, caused to various reasons, gives rise to referred pain in the area. Strained muscles, pinched or damaged nerves, or dislocation of the coccyx can also give rise to tailbone pain.
Tailbone pain when sitting or when rising from a seated position is the most common symptom of coccygodynia. The pain experienced is often a burning sensation in the rectal area. If it becomes chronic, the patient may also experience pain while standing or lying down as well. The other symptom is numbness in the lower region of the spine. This condition can also be experienced during bowel movements, sexual intercourse, or menstruation.
The secondary yet debilitating pain can also be experienced in the back area, due to sitting in odd positions in order to relieve the pain in the tailbone region. The person can suffer from aching feet and leg pain, as the patient avoids sitting down due to the ache. Pain in the entire buttock region can also be a symptom.
Patients suffering from tailbone pain when sitting for too long are advised to use a well-padded seat, when they sit and avoid sitting for longer time period as far as possible. Rest is one of the most important parts of the treatment. Often anti-inflammatory medications and pain killers are prescribed to the patient. If the condition is severe, certain local injections may be administered. In rare cases, surgical resection of the coccyx to remove the irritated spur is carried out. Physical therapy is often recommended to the patient to relieve the patient of the pain. One of the most important tasks carried out by the health care professional is to correct the posture of the patient, which in most cases is the cause of tailbone pain. Certain exercises can also be recommended to the patient.
When a patient experiences tailbone pain when sitting, it is recommended that he/she does not neglect the condition, and get himself/herself examined from a health care professional as soon as possible. At the same time avoid any sort of stress on the lower back.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.