(Tailbone Fracture; Broken Tailbone)
A coccyx fracture is a break in the tailbone. This is the lowest part of the spine.
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A coccyx fracture is caused by trauma from:
- A blow to the tailbone
- The childbirth process
It can also happen when straining or from friction, such as when rowing or biking.
Things that may raise the risk of a coccyx fracture are:
- Having a health problem that may result in falls, such as weak muscles
- Having a health problem that may weaken bones, such as osteoporosis
- Playing contact sports, such as hockey
Symptoms may be:
- Pain that is worse when sitting
- Pain that is worse during a bowel movement
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. The doctor will also ask how the injury happened. A physical exam will be done, focusing on your spine. A rectal exam may also be done. X-rays may or may not be needed.
The fracture will need time to heal on its own. This can take 8 to 12 weeks. The goal of treatment is to help the bones heal properly to prevent long term problems.
Support for all fractures can include:
- Medicine to ease pain and swelling
- A special cushion to sit on to ease pressure on the area.
- Physical therapy
Surgery for this injury is rare. It may be done to remove the coccyx when all other options have been tried.
Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy bones and muscles may prevent injury. This may be done through diet and exercise.
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- Low back pain. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/low-back-pain.
- Qaseem A, Wilt TJ, et al. Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2017 Apr 4;166(7):514-530.
- Spinal cord injury—acute management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/spinal-cord-injury-acute-management.
- Types of fractured coccyx. Cure Back Pain website. Available at: http://www.cure-back-pain.org/fractured-coccyx.html.
- Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
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