Ouch, my tailbone hurts!
Have you ever experienced tailbone pain?
It could have been right after a fall on your bottom or it could have developed without a specific injury.
True tailbone pain, also referred to as coccydynia, can cause pain in sitting or with moving from sitting to standing. Tailbone pain is most commonly associated with changes in mobility of the tailbone.
Many muscles, ligaments, and tendons attach to the tailbone (coccyx). This is why tailbone problems can cause so many issues for people when it is not moving well or moving incorrectly. Women, in general, have more movement in their pelvis, thus they are more likely to experience tailbone pain compared to men.
If an individual experiences changes in movement in their sacrum (bone attached to the coccyx) or lower spine, they can eventually develop tailbone pain. This is because if the spine does not move well, eventually tailbone movement will be altered too.
When an individual experiences a physical trauma such as a fall on their bottom or change in tailbone position during delivery of a baby, commonly addressing the positioning of the tailbone can resolve their pain.
If the pain is not related to a direct trauma, a physical therapist will have to conduct a thorough evaluation to get to the root cause of your pain. Often, the pain can be referred from a surrounding muscle or shared nerve supply even if the pain is reported in the tailbone.
How can physical therapy help my tailbone pain?
Depending on the cause of your tailbone pain, physical therapists can use manual therapy, stretching, dry needling, and exercises to help you.
If you have had a fall on your tailbone, it is possible the position of your tailbone has been altered. It can be slightly shifted left, right, tucked in, or tucked out.
If it has been confirmed there is no fracture, physical therapists trained in pelvic floor treatment can apply manual therapy techniques to correct strain on muscle or ligament attachments to the tailbone.
Imagine if your tailbone is slightly shifted to the left because of a fall. All the structures attached to the tailbone will be shifted as well. This can place unnecessary strain on structures and ultimately cause you pain.
Also, if muscles around the tailbone are in spasm, manual therapy can be applied to decrease spasm and tension.
Pelvic floor therapists can educate you on sitting postures, pain management, behavior modification, habits changes which will play a key role in restoring your function.