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Coccyx Fracture

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Subject: Coccyx Fracture

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About this topic

The coccyx is also known as the tailbone. It is a small bone at the end of your spine. It is shaped like a triangle and is made of a few even smaller bones that are joined together. Muscles and strong bands that hold bones and joints together all attach to the tailbone. Normally, the tailbone curves in just a little bit. It does not move very much. You may have a tailbone break if there is a tiny crack in it. It also may break all the way.  

What are the causes?

  • Fall

  • Direct blow to the tailbone

  • Childbirth

What can make this more likely to happen?

Women are more likely to have a tailbone break than men. You are also more likely to have this problem if you are older, have weak bones, or are not getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. You may break your tailbone by playing sports or by having a baby. 

What are the main signs?

  • Pain and soreness at the tailbone that is worse when sitting or when you have bowel movements

  • Bruised tailbone

  • Swelling

How does the doctor diagnose this health problem?

Your doctor will feel around your lower back and tailbone area. Your doctor may need to do a rectal exam. During a rectal exam, the doctor puts a finger into the rectum to feel the front side of the tailbone. Your doctor may order: 
  • X-ray

How does the doctor treat this health problem?

  • Ice

  • Special cushion to use when sitting

  • Shot to help with pain and swelling

  • Surgery is rarely needed

What drugs may be needed?

The doctor may order drugs to: 
  • Help with pain and swelling

  • Soften stools

What can be done to prevent this health problem?

  • Stay active and work out to keep your muscles strong and flexible.

  • Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong.

  • Wear the right equipment when playing sports.

Helpful tips

  • Use a special cushion for sitting. It has a hole in the middle of it to take pressure off of the tailbone. This is called a doughnut cushion.

  • Lean forward when sitting to take pressure off the tailbone. Try to shift your weight from side to side at times.

Where can I learn more?

NHS Choices 

Last Reviewed Date

2015-03-31 

List_set bdysylist

  • Neuromuscular and Skeletal

  • Therapy (Occupational, Physical, Speech, etc)

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about conditions, illnesses, injuries, tests, procedures, treatments, therapies, discharge instructions or life-style choices that may apply to you. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider’s advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you. 

Copyright

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved. 
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