Skip to Content

Coccyx Injury


What is a coccyx injury?

A coccyx (tailbone) injury is when your coccyx breaks, dislocates, or is not stable. The coccyx is a small bone shaped like a triangle that forms the bottom of your spine.

What causes a coccyx injury?

  • A car accident or a fall
  • Medical conditions, such as hip arthritis or obesity
  • Childbirth
  • A direct hit to your coccyx, such as during sports
  • Growths or an infection in the tissues near your coccyx

What are the signs and symptoms of a coccyx injury?

Coccyx pain may last for a short period of time. It may also last for more than 2 months. You usually feel pain when you are about to sit, when you sit down, or when you stand up. You may also see or feel any of the following:

  • Bruises or swelling on your coccyx or lower back
  • Low backache or pressure in your pelvis (hip area)
  • Pain in your buttocks that spreads to your thighs or legs
  • Pain during bowel movements, when having sex, and when bending or lifting objects
  • Trouble standing up or walking

How is a coccyx injury diagnosed?

  • A rectal exam will be done to check for tenderness and the position of your coccyx.
  • An x-ray may be done to look for a coccyx fracture.

How is a coccyx injury treated?

  • Reduction may be needed if you have a dislocated coccyx. During a reduction, your healthcare provider moves your tailbone into the correct position through your rectum. You will be given medicine to decrease discomfort during this procedure.
  • Medicines:
    • Prescription pain medicine may be given to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
    • NSAIDs 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 healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
    • A bowel movement softener makes it easier and less painful for you to have a bowel movement.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Use a donut-shaped cushion to decrease pain and support your coccyx when you sit.
  • Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your coccyx for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
  • Sleep on a firm mattress. Place a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back. Or, sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees. This will decrease pain and tension in your coccyx and back.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have trouble urinating or having a bowel movement.
  • Your pain or swelling get worse or do not go away with treatment.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate help or call 911?

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You cannot move your legs.
  • Your legs suddenly go numb.
  • You have severe pain.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 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 A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Coccyx Injury

Micromedex® Care Notes