Do you have a desk job and generally sit for long hours to complete your work? Have you experienced an inexplicable pain in your lower back? Is this pain causing difficulty in sitting or bending?
If the answer to all of the above questions is yes, then you should not overlook this discomfort. You may be experiencing tailbone pain or coccydynia.
Coccydynia or tailbone pain is pain and tenderness that you experience at the tip of your tailbone. It is caused when the coccyx or the surrounding tissue is damaged.
The coccyx can be damaged in various ways. In many cases, it is difficult to know the exact cause. The most common causes of coccyx damage are listed below.1
1. Poor Posture
More often than not, tailbone pain is a result of long-term poor posture. Poor posture includes slouching, rounded shoulders, hunchback, tilting head forward, sitting inappropriately, and the like.
Sitting continuously for
Pain resulting from bad posture can turn chronic unless you correct your posture. It is advisable to stick to the right postures from a young age to avoid the risk of coccydynia.
2. Coccyx Injury
A coccyx injury is likely if someone has experienced a trauma like a slip or a fall.2 If a person falls down or slips, landing on the buttocks, there is a possibility of injuring the coccyx and the tissue around it.
If you suffer a hard blow to the base of your spine, it causes coccyx injury. This usually occurs in activities like contact sports such
In most cases, a coccyx injury is mostly a bad bruise. However, depending on the impact of the hit or kick, the coccyx may be dislocated (out of place) or fractured (broken).
3. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
You may experience tailbone pain if you take part in sports such as rowing or cycling. These sports require you to continually lean forward and stretch your spine.
The repetitive motion can cause the muscles and ligaments around the coccyx to become strained and stretched. Straining the muscles and ligaments can cause permanent damage. If this happens, they will not be able to keep the coccyx in place, causing pain and discomfort. Early precautionary measures such as proper padding or limiting the hours spent on strenuous activities can prevent long-term effects.
Cold temperatures and vibrating equipment may worsen the symptoms of RSI.
4. Being Obese Or Lean
Weight has a high correlation with the amount of pressure on the coccyx, which translates to pain. So, yes, being overweight can cause coccydynia.3 A body mass index (BMI) higher than 29.4 in men and 27.4 in women can increase the risk of coccydynia. Also, the extent of pelvic rotation is less in people who are obese, meaning there is continual stress, leading to pain.
However, you can get tailbone pain even if you are underweight. You do not have enough fat around your buttocks to prevent your coccyx from rubbing against the tissues surrounding it. Falling on your buttock will also be more painful for you.
One of the most common causes of coccydynia in women is childbirth.4 The coccyx becomes more flexible toward the end of pregnancy. This causes the coccyx and the area of the spine above it to bend and give way during birth. In some cases, the pressure can cause the muscles and ligaments around the coccyx to overstretch, resulting in persistent pain. This may result in coccydynia.
6. Old Age
As we age, the cartilage discs that help hold the coccyx in place begin to wear out. This age-related degeneration is known as spinal osteoarthritis. In an advanced stage, the bones that make up the coccyx may also become more tightly fused together. This can cause more stress on the coccyx and result in pain. You should continue exercising to keep your back in good shape even as you age and get proper nutrition.
7. Infection Or Cancer