Self care measures
The following advice may help reduce pain and allow you to get on with your everyday activities.
- use a specially designed coccyx cushion – these can be bought online and from some shops; they help reduce the pressure on your tailbone while you're sitting down
- avoid prolonged sitting whenever possible – try to stand up and walk around regularly; leaning forward while seated may also help
- wear loose-fitting clothes – avoid clothing such as tight jeans or trousers that may put pressure on your tailbone
- apply warm and cold packs to your tailbone – warm packs include hot water bottles and microwaveable heating pads; cold packs are available as freezable gel-filled pads from pharmacies, or you can use a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel
- try laxatives (medicines to treat constipation) if the pain is worse when you are having a poo – many laxatives are available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets without a prescription
- take over-the-counter painkillers
Anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs)
If your pain and discomfort is not too severe, it may be relieved with over-the-counter painkillers.
NSAIDs can help ease pain and reduce inflammation (swelling) around your coccyx.
However, some people cannot take NSAIDs because they're allergic to them or have an increased risk of developing stomach ulcers. If this is the case, try taking paracetamol instead. Ibuprofen gel that you rub into your skin may also be an option.
Ask a pharmacist or GP for advice if you're unsure what to take.
It's usually prescribed for a short time as it can be addictive. If it's prescribed for longer, the dose will have to be reduced gradually before being stopped to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
If your pain has not started to improve after a few weeks, your GP may be able to refer you to a physiotherapist.
A physiotherapist can:
- give you advice about posture and movement to help reduce your pain
- teach you some simple exercises to help relax the muscles around your tailbone
- try techniques such as massage and stretches
Read more about physiotherapy.
If your coccydynia does not respond to painkillers, your doctor may recommend injecting medicine into your lower back.
Several different types of injections can be tried.
The injections can help relieve the symptoms of coccydynia, although the effects may only last for a few weeks.
They cannot cure your condition and too many injections can damage your tailbone and lower back, so you may only be able to have this type of treatment once or twice a year.
Injecting local anaesthetic into the nerves that supply the coccyx can help reduce the pain signals coming from them.
As with steroid injections, the effect may only last a few weeks or months.
But unlike steroid injections, it's usually safe to have repeated injections of local anaesthetic.
Surgery for coccydynia is usually only recommended when all other treatments have failed.
It may involve removing some of your tailbone (partial coccygectomy) or occasionally all of it (total coccygectomy).
A coccygectomy is carried out under general anaesthetic (where you're asleep).
After surgery, most people find their symptoms improve considerably, although it can take several months. Some people will continue to experience pain.
It takes a long time to recover from coccygectomy, anywhere from a few months to a year.