Coccyx Injury

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • A coccyx injury is a condition where the coccyx bone becomes dislocated, unstable, or broken. The coccyx is the small, triangular, tail-like bone that forms the end of your spine near your anus. It is made up of 3 to 5 smaller bones and has 2 to 3 parts joined together. The coccyx may break as a woman delivers a baby or when a direct blow to the area near your anus happens. A direct blow may occur during a physical fight, contact sports, or accidents, such as in a bad fall. Tumors (growths) and infections on the tissues around your coccyx may also cause injury. Arthritis may also cause your coccyx pain, or the cause of your pain may not be known.
    Picture of a normal spine


  • You may have pain when bending, having sex, lifting objects, or during bowel movements. You may also have bruises, swelling near your anus, and trouble walking or standing up. A coccyx injury may be found using a bone scan or an x-ray of your lower back. Computed tomography scan (CT scan), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used. Treatments for coccyx pain include medicines, sitting in a donut-shaped support cushion, heat therapy, ice, and massage. Intrarectal manipulation or surgery to remove your coccyx may also be used to treat a coccyx injury. Treatments such as rest, medicine, or surgery can make your coccyx pain go away. This will help you return to your usual activities.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicine may decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine can be bought with or without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your primary healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Activity:

  • Avoid activities that may make your pain worse or may injure your coccyx again. These include picking up heavy things and doing contact or hard sports. When the pain decreases, begin normal, slow movements as caregivers tell you.

  • Being obese (weighing more than your caregiver suggests) may increase your risk of having coccyx pain and injury. Talk to your caregiver about your weight. You may be placed on a special diet.

  • Rest may help relieve your pain. Sit in a donut-shaped support cushion, and sleep on a firm mattress to help decrease pain. Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees to help you sleep better. This will decrease the tension on your back. You may also sleep on your side with one or both of your knees bent.

Heat therapy:

This treatment may include the use of special devices such as a diathermy or ultrasound. These devices give out heat which can reach deep tissues inside your body. When heat reaches your coccyx area, your pain may be decreased. This treatment may need to be used more than once to help relieve your pain.

Hot or cold compresses:

Hot or cold compresses may be used soon after having a coccyx injury. Heat or cold is also used to help decrease pain and swelling after having surgery.

  • Heat: Use heat 15 to 20 minutes every hour as long as you need it. Heat brings blood to the injured area and may help it heal faster. Use warm compresses, a heating pad, or sit in a warm water bath. A warm moist compress is a small towel dampened with hot water and placed in a plastic bag. Wrap a towel around the plastic bag to prevent burns. Be careful if you use a heating pad by keeping it turned on low. Do not sleep with a heating pad on your injured or surgical area.

  • Ice: Ice causes blood vessels to constrict (get small) which helps decrease swelling, pain, and redness. Ice is best started right after an injury and for the next 24 to 48 hours afterwards. Put crushed ice in a plastic bag and cover it with a towel. Place this on your coccyx area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as long as you need it. Do not sleep with the ice pack on your back.

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have trouble passing urine or having bowel movements.

  • You have questions or concerns about your medicines or care.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • You suddenly have trouble moving your legs.

  • You suddenly have trouble breathing.

  • You suddenly lose feeling in your legs.

  • Your lower back pain or swelling is worse, or does not go away even after taking medicines.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of the Blausen Databases or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Coccyx Injury (Discharge Care)

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