Munson Health
 
Coccyx Fracture

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by Wood D

(Tailbone Fracture; Broken Tailbone)

 

Risk Factors

Coccyx fractures are more common in women. Other risk factors that may increase your chance of a coccyx fracture include:
  • Advancing age
  • Osteoporosis
  • Certain diseases or conditions that result in bone or mineral loss, such as abnormal or absent menstrual cycles, or post- menopause
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Certain congenital bone conditions
  • Participating in certain activities, such as skating or contact sports that may lead to falls in a seated position
  • Violence
 

Treatment

The goal is to manage pain until the bone can heal. The location of the coccyx and the number of muscles attached to it makes it difficult to prevent it from moving while it is healing. Generally, pain will go away on its own.
The area may remain painful for a long period of time, even after the fracture has healed. You may be advised to stay in bed for a day or two, or move only as comfort allows.

Home Care

In addition to medications, home care is important for your recovery.
Some pain medications may cause constipation. To help prevent this drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Sitting can be uncomfortable after a coccyx fracture. Some suggestions to help manage discomfort include:
  • Massage the tailbone area in a circular motion. Use a styrofoam cup filled with ice. Do this for 15-20 minutes at at time.
  • Sitz baths can help relieve muscle spasms. A sitz bath involves soaking the anal area in warm water for 10-20 minutes.
  • Sit on an air cushion or doughnut pad.
  • Alternate between sitting on one side of the buttock or the other.
  • Avoid sitting on soft surfaces. Sinking into a soft chair sometimes increases the pressure on the coccyx.
  • Slouch to move your weight forward and off the coccyx. (This only helps until you are well enough to sit properly again.)
  • Sit on a large book, with the area of the coccyx hanging off the posterior portion of the book.

Surgery

Surgery for a painful coccyx fracture is rare and not very successful. If pain continues and causes disability, a coccygectomy might be recommended. During this procedure, the doctor removes the coccyx.
If you are diagnosed with a coccyx fracture, follow your doctor's instructions .
If you are diagnosed with a coccyx fracture, follow your doctor's instructions .
 

RESOURCES

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://www.orthoinfo.org

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
http://www.sportsmed.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://www.canorth.org

 

References


Acute low back pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated June 26, 2013. Accessed September16, 2013.


Coccydynia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated June 28, 2010. Accessed September 16, 2013.


Fractured coccyx. Cure Back Pain website. Available at: http://www.cure-back-pain.org/fractured-coccyx.html . Updated June 21, 2013. Accessed September 16, 2013.


Low back pain. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00311 . Updated May 2009. Accessed September 16, 2013.


Spinal cord injury—acute management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated January 23, 2013. Accessed September16, 2013.

 

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