Coccydynia, commonly called tailbone pain or coccyx pain, is a fairly rare and relatively poorly understood condition that can cause persistent pain at the very bottom of the spine. This part of the spine is the coccyx, or tailbone. Coccydynia is felt as a localized pain and will generally feel worse when sitting or with any activity that puts pressure on the bottom area of the spine.
The condition is much more common in women than men. It is usually caused by local trauma (e.g. a fall) or giving birth. On rare occasions, an infection or tumor can also cause pain in the coccyx.
Most coccyx injuries are caused by direct trauma to the tailbone area.
- A fall onto the tailbone in the seated position, usually against a hard surface, is the most common cause of coccyx injuries.
- A direct blow to the tailbone, such as those that occur during contact sports, can injure the coccyx.
- The coccyx can be injured or fractured during childbirth.
- Repetitive straining or friction against the coccyx (as happens in bicycling or rowing) can injure the coccyx.
- Sometimes, the cause of coccyx injuries is unknown.
- Less common causes of coccyx discomfort include bone spurs, compression of nerve roots or injuries to other parts of the spine, local infections, and tumors.
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