Injuries to your tailbone are quite common.  Usually happening due to a traumatic event.  This could be a fall on a hard surface, a direct hit to the tailbone in a sporting event, childbirth, or even sitting on a narrow seat for too long like a bicycle can all be causes of a tailbone injury.  Tailbone injuries include bruising, dislocation, or fractures.  Tailbone injuries usually heal on their own, but they are usually very painful.  They affect anyone at any age.  

Symptoms Of A Tailbone Injury

Tailbone injuries can cause pain or tenderness in the lower back, pain on top of the buttock area, pain or numbness while sitting, or bruising or swelling around the base of the spine.  Tailbone injuries are very painful. 

Tailbone bruising can cause pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, leg weakness, worsening pain, or trouble controlling bowels or bladder. 

Tailbone fractures are less common but can occur.  In a fracture the tailbone pain is usually localized.  Pain may be aggravated by prolonged sitting, leaning back while seated, prolonged standing, getting up from sitting, bowel movements, urination, or sexual intercourse.  


Diagnosing A Tailbone Injury

Knowing what kind of tailbone injury you have can be hard to diagnose just based on symptoms alone.  If you go into the doctor with tailbone pain they will most likely want to do a physical exam on you first.  If you know that you have fallen recently or undergone some other form of trauma, your doctor will most likely take you for an X-ray to check for bruising or a fracture. 

If you are unsure what is causing your tailbone pain your doctor may look for other causes like tumors, bone spurs, or cancer.  In some cases at an appointment your doctor may need to do a rectal exam to see where the pain is coming from. 

A tailbone fracture can occur in three different ways.  A displacement which is when separated bone fragments show up on the X-ray.  A hairline fracture which is when broken pieces of the bone are still connected.  An a communition is when the bone breaks into multiple pieces.  


HEALTH QUIZ:  Lower Back Pain


Treatment Options For A Tailbone Injury

The main goal of treatment for a tailbone injury is to control the pain and avoid further irritation or injury.  Treatment for a bruised tailbone may look very similar to treatment for a fractured tailbone. 

A fractured tailbone may take between 8-12 weeks to heal.  A bruised tailbone can take between 4-6 weeks to heal. 

A fractured tailbone can heal without having to have surgery.  Treatment options for a fracture can include pelvic floor rehabilitation, massage, nerve block, electrical nerve stimulation, steroid injections, or spinal cord stimulation.  Physical therapy may also be added into treatment to help strengthen the muscles around the tailbone.  Physical therapist will be able to give you specific exercises. 

Pain management can be done with alternating heat and ice, massage, or over the counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin.  


Things You Can Do For An Injured Tailbone

There are lots of home remedies you can do to help a bruised and fractured tailbone.  Many of these will be suggested to you to do with either injury. 

  • Avoid sitting for too long or on hard surfaces. 
  • When you can get up and walk around. 
  • Alternate sitting on each side of the buttocks. 
  • Lean forward in your seat to direct your weight off the tailbone. 
  • A few days after your injury you can apply ice to the area for 15 to 20 minutes four times a day. 
  • Take ibuprofen or aspirin to help with the pain. 
  • Get a doughnut from the store.  This is a special cushion that has a hole in the center, it helps take the pressure off the tailbone and allows you to sit more comfortably. 
  • Wear loose clothing to avoid extra pressure being put on your tailbone. 
  • Avoid any activities that worsen the pain.  



A tailbone injury is painful.  The best course of treatment is to alleviate the pain and to avoid further irritation.  Most tailbone injuries heal on their own, but they can be a slow process to heal completely.  Depending on the severity of your injury it could take months to heal.  




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