May 18, 2022
When being a pain in the butt goes from figurative to literal, it’s time to see an orthopedic specialist. The technical term for a broken bum is “fractured coccyx.” And while a bruised one is more common than a broken one, older adults and especially women are more likely to suffer from a fractured coccyx.
The coccyx (or tailbone) is a triangular, bony structure situated at the base of the spine. Because of its position, it is highly susceptible to injury during a fall. Unfortunately for broken tailbone sufferers, many pelvic floor muscles go into the coccyx, which can make everyday functions like walking, running, and sitting painful and even defecation difficult. To help, here are five ideas for fractured tailbone pain relief.
1. Sitting and Standing
When sitting, don’t slouch. Keep your head, neck, and pelvis straight and neutral. Use a donut-shaped pillow or V-shaped wedge cushion to reduce pressure on the coccyx when sitting. Lean forward when moving to a sitting or standing position. Avoid sitting for extended periods by taking short breaks.
2. Treat It
Apply ice and/or heat to the tailbone area and gluteal muscles for 10-15 minutes four times a day.
3. Bring Down Inflammation
Take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) medication, like ibuprofen, as needed to reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections depending on your pain.
4. Work It
Physical therapy can be beneficial in teaching pelvic floor relaxation techniques to get the coccyx into better alignment and relieve the pain when urinating or defecating. Massage the muscles attached to the tailbone to help ease the pain.
5. Adjust Your Diet
Add fiber to your diet to soften stools. That will help bowel movements feel more comfortable while reducing the risk of constipation.
A broken or bruised coccyx will usually heal on its own. Physical therapy, exercises, and a special cushion can help ease the pain and speed recovery. Surgery is needed in fewer than 10% of cases. If you have trouble with bowel movements or urination, see a doctor.
Still In Pain? See a Specialist at Beacon Orthopaedics
Recovery from a broken tailbone takes time. Most fractures can take 6–12 weeks to heal. If you’re well beyond that timeframe and still experiencing pain and issues related to your broken tailbone, consult with your doctor to find out if further tests need to be performed to determine if something like osteoporosis is preventing proper healing.
If you have had recent trauma to your coccyx and are experiencing pain, schedule an appointment with a Beacon specialist today.