Why do we have a tailbone

Prevent and treat tailbone pain

Status: 14.06.2019 13:02 | archive
Pain in the tailbone can be severe and protracted.

Pain in the tailbone, also known as coccygodynia, is often the result of falls on the buttocks, for example from sports accidents. Bruises or fractures cause severe pain, especially when sitting, climbing stairs or when defecating and having sexual intercourse. Sufferers often cannot sit pain-free even on soft surfaces. Women are five times more likely to experience tailbone pain than men.

Sensitive vertebral bodies

The coccyx consists of three to five vertebral bodies, which are often fused into one bone and covered by a very thin periosteum. As the lowest point of the spine, the tailbone serves as the base for the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the pelvis, the pelvic floor and the hips.

Find therapists

Many patients with pain in the sitting area look in vain for help. It is not easy to find the right specialist and thus a helpful therapy. The coccyx itself is not always the cause and many doctors have a hard time making an accurate diagnosis. Most of those affected first turn to an orthopedic surgeon. However, the cause of the pain is often not in the tailbone itself, but rather in an anal abscess or endometriosis, for example. Then the proctologist or the gynecologist would be the right contact.

Important investigations

The problem cannot be sufficiently limited with X-ray, CT or MRI images. The basic requirement for a solid diagnosis is always a detailed physical examination. This also requires an examination from the inside. The doctor can use the rectum to feel how mobile the tailbone is, detect tension in the pelvic floor or changes in the internal organs.

Causes of tailbone pain

  • previous falls or births
  • Periosteum inflammation
  • Tension in the pelvic floor
  • Nerve irritation
  • gynecological causes, for example endometriosis
  • Tumors or inflammation in the anal or rectum area

Very often there are also several causes, for example a combination of many tense muscles in the tailbone, hips and pelvis. This is often caused by excessive sitting, especially on hard, immobile chairs.

Treat tailbone pain

Treatment depends on the cause. In the case of past injuries to the tailbone, the therapy is often complicated and lengthy, as the stresses of everyday life impede the healing process. Stand in the foreground

  • physical conservation
  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Local anesthetic injections
  • Physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, acupressure
  • Heat applications and relaxation, for example mud packs and hip baths
  • surgical removal of the tailbone (coccygectomy)
  • ergonomic seat cushion

Successful therapy is also possible with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to their teaching, the coccyx region can be treated via the so-called bladder meridian. There are reflex points on its line between knee and foot. By placing acupuncture needles at these points, the blood circulation in the coccyx region is supposed to be stimulated and the pain relieved. As part of the so-called Tuina therapy, painful blockages can also be loosened with the help of special massage techniques.

Preventing tailbone pain

  • Dynamic sitting: ergonomic office chair or stool, standing aid, tailbone cushion
  • Height adjustable desks
  • Use the 40-15-5 rule: 40 minutes of dynamic sitting work, 15 minutes of standing work, five minutes of walking around
  • Integrating more movement into everyday work: cycling to work, walking as many small paths as possible in the office (e.g. to the printer), walking during the lunch break
  • Strengthen the core muscles through gymnastic exercises

Experts on the subject

Prof. Dr. Christoph Isbert, chief physician
Clinic for general, visceral and coloproctological surgery
Ev. Amalie Sieveking Hospital
Haselkamp 33, 22359 Hamburg, Germany
(040) 644 11-321

Heiko Bornemann, naturopath, pain therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic
Center for Integrative Medicine
Moltkeplatz 2, 23566 L├╝beck
(0451) 79 80 99, Fax (0451) 61 01 635

Dr. Sabine Bleuel, specialist in orthopedics and trauma surgery
Orthopedics and surgery Elbchaussee
London 567
22587 Hamburg
(040) 86 23 21

additional Information
Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA)
P.O. Box 17 02 02, 44061 Dortmund
Brochure "Sitting lust instead of sitting frustration - sitting at work and elsewhere"

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Visit | 07/02/2019 | 8:15 pm