Broken Tailbone Symptoms and Treatments
Understanding broken tailbone symptoms could save you a great deal of pain and hassle when treating a tailbone injury. It is quite easy to confuse a case of bad bruising with an actual break, which is why it is always best to seek the opinion of your doctor before attempting to treat and recover from a damaged tailbone. We are going to go over the most prominent symptoms of a broken tail bone as well as the treatment options available for this type of injury.
The tailbone is medically termed the “coccyx” and is composed of four vertebrae-like bones. The coccyx is somewhat triangular in shape and is attached to the lowermost part of the spine—as you probably already know! The tailbone vertebrae are held together with cartilage, allowing the overall area to flex a little and to take a certain amount of impact, but like all bones it does have a breaking point.
A coccyx fracture (or break) can be caused by any incident that applies too much pressure to the area resulting in a crack, chip, or complete break of the bone. The most common incident to cause a tailbone injury is a fall in which the impact is absorbed by the bottom. Roller skating, slipping on stairways, and contact sports are some of the most commonly reported incidents. The impact on the tailbone doesn’t necessarily have to be a sudden one. Repetitive strain against the coccyx can wear down the bones until they eventually fracture. Sports like bicycling and kayaking are likely culprits behind this type of injury.
Broken tailbone symptoms can be difficult to discern from severe bruising. The easiest symptom to notice—and the most prominent symptom by far—is a great deal of pain felt in the area of the tailbone. The area should be quite tender to the touch and painfully responds to any movement of the lower body, particularly the buttocks and legs. There may be some noticeable bruising and possibly a dark hue to the skin caused by bruising. The pain is likely to worsen during a bowel movement and when one has been sat for long periods of time—especially if the surface is soft, as this can apply added pressure to the tailbone. Many broken tailbone symptoms overlap with those of a bruised tailbone; however with a true break the pain will likely be more severe and longer lasting.
The easiest way for the doctor to test whether you have a broken coccyx is to insert a gloved finger into your anus and press against the area of the tailbone. If the area “gives” where it shouldn’t or is in an obviously unnatural position, then it is pretty safe to say that the tailbone is broken. The doctor will likely want to have an x-ray taken so that he can get a better look at the type of damage that was done.
As far as treatment goes, there really isn’t much that can be done to treat the area. The tailbone is a risky place to operate on and is rarely done so anymore due to the heightened risk of infection in this area. In cases where the patient is in a severe amount of pain that cannot be eased by the typical recovery techniques, removal of the coccyx may be necessary. When this procedure is performed, the ultimate goal is usually to reattach the coccyx in the proper position, if possible.
The doctor may provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts during recovery time. To ease pain while sitting, it is recommended that you sit on a doughnut cushion or hard surface. If you experience a particular increase in pain during bowel movements, try adding fiber supplements or high-fiber fruits and vegetables to your diet. This will allow your stool to soften and pass much more smoothly, reducing the need to use the muscles around the tailbone.