At the bottom of the vertebral column is the coccyx, also called the tailbone. Different injuries and disorders can affect the coccyx, resulting in discomfort for the patient.
Examples of the disorders of the coccyx are tailbone trauma, coccydynia and chordoma.
When someone has tailbone trauma, she has sustained an injury to the coccyx. Having a fracture of the coccyx is not common, according to MedlinePlus.
Instead, individuals with tailbone trauma will have a pulling of the ligaments around the tailbone or bruising of the actual bone. Falling backward onto the coccyx can cause tailbone trauma.
This may occur if an individual slips on ice. Symptoms of tailbone trauma include pain when putting pressure on the coccyx or bruises on the lower part of the individual’s spine.
First aid can be done with tailbone trauma, but only if a spinal cord injury is not suspected. If you suspect that an individual with tailbone trauma has sustained a spinal cord injury, do not move her and seek immediate medical attention.
In cases where there is no spinal cord injury, first aid options include taking stool softeners to avoid constipation and over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen, for the pain. Non-medication options include cushions or an inflatable rubber ring, which can help reduce pressure put on the coccyx.
When individuals have pain around the coccyx, it is called coccydynia. One cause of coccydynia is tailbone trauma, though most cases of tailbone pain are unknown, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Other causes include tumors, infections and excessive mobility of the coccyx. Individuals with coccydynia have pain when they put pressure on the coccyx. For example, they may experience pain when sitting in a hard chair, but the pain is alleviated when they are walking or standing.
Other possible symptoms of coccydynia include pain during sex or bowel movements, a deep ache around the coccyx, and pain, which can range from immediate to severe, when transitioning from sitting to standing.