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Friday, August 04, 2017

6 Ways to Deal with Tailbone Pain

Wincing every time you sit down? Experiencing sharp pains in your tailbone after prolonged standing? The tailbone, also known as the coccyx, is a small multi-segmented bone that sits directly at the bottom of your spine. In addition to helping stabilize and support your spine when sitting, the tailbone is a structure through which many connective tendons, muscles, and ligaments run.

Women are reportedly five times as likely as men to develop tailbone pain, or coccydynia, in part because of menstrual cycles and pregnancy. In the final months of pregnancy, the body naturally widens and loosens some of the ligaments that run through the coccyx to prepare for the birthing process. Other risk factors for tailbone pain include degenerative joint damage from years of wear and tear that come with aging, being overweight, a fall or injury to the tailbone area, and prolonged sitting on a narrow or hard surface. Rarely will a tumor or infection be to blame for tailbone pain.

Tailbone pain can range from mild to severe and is typically worse when sitting down, leaning back on the tailbone, standing up from a sitting position, standing for long periods of time, when menstruating (for a woman), and even when using the bathroom or having intercourse. Sometimes tailbone pain can radiate up the spine, or down through the pelvis and even into the legs.

If you’re experiencing tailbone pain, try these common treatments:

Sit on a Donut Pillow: An inflatable donut pillow, round with a hole in the middle, helps coccydynia sufferers by dispersing the weight and pressure applied to the vulnerable tailbone pressure point when sitting down. Use a donut pillow when driving in your car or sitting at work to alleviate pain, enhance your posture, and keep legs from becoming restless.

Adjust Your Body Position: Practicing bad posture habits overtime can place unnecessary stress and pressure on the spine and tailbone. Adjusting your body position to practice better posture can include sitting upright, avoiding crossing your legs, and keeping feet flat on the floor. Leaning forward when you go to sit down, and don’t forget to get up at least every 20 to 30 minutes to relieve the pressure on your coccyx and move around.

Ice and Heat Therapy: Just like with other common injuries, applying cold packs or heating pads to the sore tailbone can provide a temporary analgesic effect that either numbs the area or provides warming relief and diminishes the pain sensations.

Physical Therapy:
If your pain doesn’t subside within a reasonable time, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen (and relax) specific stomach and pelvic muscles that support your tailbone.

Manipulation: Physically adjusting the tailbone back and forth through manual manipulation or massage (typically through the rectum by a doctor) may alleviate painful pressure of the coccyx.

Medical Intervention: Doctors may recommend patients with tailbone pain take over-the-counter pain relievers like NSAIDS or Tylenol, and in more severe cases, receive cortisone shots, nerve blockers, or local anesthetics. Occasionally surgery will be performed to remove part of or the entire coccyx.

Tailbone pain typically subsides within a few weeks to a few months, but if persistent and chronic, it can make daily living difficult and uncomfortable. Definitely see your medical provider if chronic tailbone pain is bothering you. With manual examinations and even x-ray imaging, they will be able to diagnose the problem and get you on a path to pain-free sitting and standing.

This is a guest blog posting.

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