The tailbone or coccyx is the base region of the spine. A tailbone injury can be caused by slipping on smooth or slippery surfaces and falls on the lower back, usually in a seated position.
What are the usual causes?
A tailbone injury can be brought about by the following factors such as:
- Fall injuries especially on the lower back or base of the spine. In most cases, if falls causes the individual to forcefully drop on hard surfaces while in a seated position, the chances of a fracture are high.
- Occupational factors such as working with mechanical equipment
- Working on heights
- Sports and vehicular-related injuries
The usual indications of a tailbone injury might include:
- Moderate to severe coccyx pain that is aggravated when sitting or during bowel movements
- Hairline fracture
- Swelling and bruising at the site of injury
- Pain is triggered if pressure is applied on the site of the tailbone such as sitting or leaning against a wall
- Weakness in the legs
- Inability to stand normally or comfortably
The symptoms might be serious among the elderly especially women, especially those suffering from osteoporosis.
In most cases of tailbone injury, these home measures can be considered:
- Any visible wounds should be cleaned with water.
- Place an ice pack on the site of injury to lessen the pain and swelling. Do not apply ice directly on the skin.
- An over-the-counter pain medication can be given for adults.
- Use a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to reduce the inflammation and provide easier movement.
- The individual should sit on soft surfaces such as pillows or donut-shaped air tubes
- A diet that is rich in fiber along with stool softeners can avoid the hardening of the stools
A doctor should be consulted if there is a need for further treatment. If the pelvic bone or spinal column is damaged, seek emergency care right away.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on tailbone injury is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the indications of the injury, register for a first aid and CPR course with Ottawa First Aid.