The tailbone is not just a single bone, but comprised of several bones that are situated in the lower back. The tailbone or the coccyx can end up broken or bruised and there are a number of causes or injuries that can lead to a bruise or break. Both bruises and breaks can cause pain and this can range from mild to severe depending on the injury sustained by the individual.
What are the causes of a bruised tailbone?
The most common cause of a bruised tailbone is when an individual falls and lands on his/her tailbone. Other possible causes include constant strain that injures the muscles, surgical procedures and even childbirth. In some cases, the exact cause of a bruised tailbone is unknown.
Based on studies conducted, most of the injuries to the tailbone typically occur among women than men. This might be due to the shape of the female pelvis that leaves the tailbone exposed than the male tailbone.
Symptoms of a bruised tailbone
If an individual is suspected of having a bruised tailbone, the following symptoms are likely to manifest:
- Pain in the coccyx area (lower back where the tailbone is situated) when the individual stands or sits on soft surfaces
- Pain when the individual moves from sitting position to standing position
- Pain after bowel movement
Other symptoms of a bruised tailbone include sensitivity to pressure when the tailbone is touched, deep aches in the lower back, pain during sexual intercourse and pain in the legs.
How a bruised tailbone is diagnosed
If an individual sustains a bruised tailbone, it is typically diagnosed based on the symptoms that were stated. The doctor will discuss the symptoms and assess the area by pressing on the tailbone to check for sensitivity. This will help differentiate a bruised tailbone from other potential causes of lower back pain. There are also diagnostic tests that are performed such as CT scan, X-ray and an MRI to help come up with a diagnosis.
Treatment for a bruised tailbone
Always remember that a bruised tailbone will take a few days to weeks to fully heal. The individual can sit on a doughnut-shaped cushion during this period to help speed up the healing process.
As a first aid measure, you can apply an ice pack on the tailbone of the individual for 20-30 minutes at a time every 3-5 hours to provide relief until the pain diminishes. The doctor can also prescribe pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications. Additionally, the individual must prevent constipation by sticking to a diet that contains fiber and fluids while the bruised tailbone is healing.
How to prevent bruising on the tailbone
A bruised tailbone cannot be prevented since most cases are caused by unforeseen accidents. Nevertheless, if the individual engages in contact sports where falls are more likely to occur, he/she must use protective gear to help cushion the tailbone from potential falls.