What is coccydynia?

Pain in the area of the coccyx (tailbone) is called coccydynia or coccygodynia (or sometimes a variety of other spellings). Coccydynia can be anything from discomfort to acute pain, varying between people and varying with time in any individual. The name describes a pattern of symptoms (pain brought on or aggravated by sitting), so it is really a collection of conditions which can have different causes and need different treatments.

You can see videos about what coccydynia is from the Spine Health website, and how to decide whether you have tailbone pain and how to describe your tailbone pain to your doctor, from Dr Patrick Foye, www. tailbonedoctor.com.

The links on the right cover all the causes of pain on sitting that I have found in the medical literature or that people have emailed me about.

Coccydynia can follow after falls, childbirth, repetitive strain or surgery. In some cases the cause is unknown. The pain can disappear by itself or with treatment, or it can continue for years, and may get worse. It is five times more common in women than men, probably because the female pelvis leaves the coccyx more exposed. It appears that in most cases the pain is caused by an unstable coccyx, which causes chronic inflammation.

Medical trials have shown that coccydynia can be cured eventually in the great majority of cases, given the right treatment. However, finding a doctor who can do a proper diagnosis of the condition and supply effective treatments is difficult, and many people suffer years of pain.

Updated 2017-10-05

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