The purpose of the coccyx pillow is to take the pressure off the little bone whilst sitting.
There's a need to take the pressure off a bruised or fractured bone in the acute phase after injury. Coccydynia is one of the most debilitating conditions. If not managed correctly it leaves the victim unable to sit comfortably for months and even years.
Where exactly is this little so called vestigial bone? Slide your finger down between the buttock crease and eventually, deep, just before you reach the anus, you will feel a hard bony prominence. That's it; it's not normally tender at all.
It lies beyond the end of the vertebral column, consisting usually of four bones lying below the sacrum. It’s incorrectly been considered a vestigial tail that has no real function in the human, which is far from the case.
There are many muscles that have their origin on the coccyx; muscles that are vital in bearing down on the toilet, child birth, orgasm, sneezing. Coccyx removal, I think you'll agree, should be the very last option.
So what are the causes of coccygeal pain and why is a coccyx pillow so
useful? About the only time the coccyx seems to give trouble is after
direct trauma, and sometimes after child birth. And then it certainly
let’s you know of its presence. It hurts, and prevents us doing what
first comes to hand, namely sitting. When a person can’t sit, they are supremely miserable.
So, how many muscles might be affected by a bruised or fractured coccyx? Nine muscles, including one of the largest muscles in the body, the gluteus maximus, and numerous ligaments are attached to the coccyx.
These muscles are used during defecation, urination, orgasm, childbirth,
walking and running. The coccyx is important.
These deep pelvic muscles are vital part of stabilising the pelvis and lower back too. They can be best strengthened using the updated Kegel exercises.
This page was last updated by Dr Barrie Lewis on 8th July, 2019.
Can you see the coccyx in this picture; it's written in tiny letters, see it? And I'm sure you then can see the levantor ani and the coccygeus muscles attached to it. Well there are seven other muscles, all attached to the coccyx.
The coccyx is only rarely fractured as it is fairly mobile, able to flex forwards and backwards. But a violent force directly to the coccyx like falling on the lip of a stairs may subluxate the coccyx and sprain its ligaments, and cause pain for months and even years.
Here's an important tip. Make sure your child knows that pulling a chair out from under someone about to sit, is a very mean trick to pull. I have patients who have suffered from coccyx and low back pain for the rest of the lives. Intended as a joke, it has caused a lifetime of misery. Mind you, knowing some kids, perhaps you will be putting ideas into their heads. Some people's children. Not yours, of course.
Owing to its attachment to so many muscles, the coccyx, when injured, can have a detrimental effect on movement, sitting, bearing down on the toilet may be painful and urinating may also be affected.
Some women may even experience pain during sexual intercourse. The coccyx is not without some importance.
A young woman slipped and fell hard on her sacrum and coccyx. Apart from the bruising it was a terrible injury. She has a hairline fracture through the coccyx, serious sacroiliac joint sprain and a L4 lumbar spine slipped disc.
Whilst this is a worse case than one would normally see on an average day at the chiropractic coalface, three separate injuries, all impacting on each other, it was gratifying this morning, six weeks after the fall, to examine her and find that she has almost no pain or disability. She is faithfully doing her lower back exercises and is more than happy, no longer needing the coccyx pillow, though her coccyx is still tender on palpation.
Now we have made a start with chronic severe migraines obviously emanating from TMJ anatomy ... the jaw joint is a major cause of facial pain and severe headaches. Often there is also upper cervical pain since the sensory nucleus of the nerve supplying the jaw joint (the Trigeminal nerve) is found in the neck. Often it is a chicken-and-egg situation. Does the TMJ anatomy cause the Atlanto Occipital joint subluxation, or vice versa. In her case it's clearly the former - she grinds her teeth at night (bruxism), a major cause of migraine headache migraine headache ...
Sacral fracture is not common but it's potentially very serious, and is often missed simply because it's rare. The injury will certainly affect the sacroiliac joints and most likely the lumbar spine above; often there will be others above and a coccyx pillow may be part of the solution.
It comes from a very hard fall on the behind.
The sacral nerves pass down the canal and since any fracture always involves swelling, they too may be affected. You simply have to stop, and it may be for two months or more; it won't go in a cast!
So much for the doom and gloom. The good news is that this little tailbone responds well to chiropractic, and the treatment is not particularly painful. Coccyx pain relief is at hand. It's only very rarely that coccyx amputation is indicated.
The first phase of chiropractic care is no different to any other
acute joint injury. It needs to be iced to reduce any swelling and
inflammation, the subluxations should be reduced as soon as possible,
and you need to avoid sitting directly on it for a few weeks.
Fortunately there are several aids in the form of a coccyx pillow that
take direct pressure off the offended dignity of this little group of
The bruised coccyx (and a fracture coccyx of course) causes " coccydynia ". Sitting in the car is often painful, but this little coccyx pillow does wonders.
Really this injury should be considered as a syndrome, as trauma to the coccyx often affects the sacrum, the sacro-iliac joints and the myriad of muscles around the coccyx. And of course, the trauma may well have affected the spinal joints as well.
So, chiropractic begins with a thorough examination. Has there been fracture of the coccyx or even the sacrum? Is it black and blue?
The sacroiliac joint anatomy,
the lumbar facet syndrome,
the hips, and the superficial muscles all need to be considered. A piriformis syndrome in particular as it's origin is the sacrum and often during a fall on the buttocks there is direct trauma to the piriformis and the sciatic nerve.
Fortunately, the skin is very tight around the coccyx, and can be used in most cases to correct the subluxated coccyx. The treatment is not usually particularly painful, despite the fact that the general area is so sore - as your chiropractor uses the skin away from the joint to correct the subluxation.
Occasionally, it has to be done rectally. This also is not painful, but obviously awkward and embarrassing. I have never seen research, but on the odd occasion when I have had to do an internal correction of the coccyx, I have been of the opinion that it can be treated even more quickly. This is perhaps because at the same moment one can do cross friction of the adjacent ligaments and deep pelvic muscles.
Thereafter a coccyx pillow is usually a good idea for a few weeks.
I recently had a patient referred by another chiropractor, because it's generally known that when necessary I will do an internal coccyx treatment. The man had two years of unremitting coccyx pain that had not responded to medical or an external manipulative treatment.
Within three treatments he was 90 percent better and at the fourth consult a month later had no coccyx pain at all.
made me wonder why it is that I, and others, are so reluctant to do an
internal coccyx treatment; perhaps we should start there. It's the only
way to address the local muscles associated with this nasty injury.
Here's an important suggestion; if you are male, and over 45, ask your chiropractor to check your prostate at the same time. It's right there.
Prostate cancer is the most common serious cancer in men; and, talking of this little walnut sized gland, it's obligatory that every man eats a tomato a day. More, a phytosterol called beta sitosterol prevents an enlarged prostate. It's particularly high in avocado.
For an interesting case history from the Chiropractic Coalface,
click here: CHIROPRACTIC COALFACE
Before removal, don't you think it might be an idea to pay your local chiropractor a visit? Reducing the subluxation together with a coccyx pillow is far less misery. The arrow below points to the coccyx. Or, what remains of it.
No doctor, or patient likes a rectal treatment. For this reason, I always recommend first doing an external coccyx treatment that is usually effective. However it takes a long time, and more treatment.
Just recently I had a patient with severe coccyx pain of some weeks duration. It had not responded well to her doctor's treatment. She was traveling overseas in one week. Reluctantly I recommended the internal treatment as we didn't have time on our sides. After just one treatment, lasting less than two minutes she declared the pain was more than 50 percent less.
That is just an anecdote, but I'm thinking that perhaps doing the external treatment for some weeks is perhaps not the best treatment of choice. Discuss this with your chiropractor.
Do you have a question about your coccyx? Share it. Perhaps we can contribute to your dilemma.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Coccyx broke in 2004, now sore for four years with involved issues
Hi, I was wearing Japanese long socks without the long socks glue (Google it, it's crazy) in 2004 and slipped on my stairs, landed on my butt, breaking …
Burning in coccyx
My name is Chris and I am 59 year old female 5'2 105 lbs. I have been off work for eight months. I am currently on 6 mg of Hydromorph and 75 mg of Lyrica. …
fractured coccyx and herniated disk @ L4, L5
Hi mi wife suffered a terrible fall in a sitting position over two years ago. We verified the fracture with an xray and also an MRI showed up the disc …
Kind of unsure.
Hello, I know it's a tailbone or coccyx injury, but I don't know of which variety. You see this pain and injury have honestly come from no where. But …
Broken tail bone from childbirth
Hi. My story is that I gave birth a little over 3 years ago. I was at 42 weeks and had no symptoms of labour. The hospital staff gave me an injection …
Coccyx fracture and sciatica
Coccyx fracture and sciatica The cleaner at my work place moved the chair when i was attempting to sit. I sustained a fracture to the coccyx,that has …
Bruised coccyx bone after bad fall - question
Hi, your article is very informative, thanks for sharing! I had a bad fall on the edge of tiled stairs and bruised my coxxyc bone. At first my G.P. was …
Severe coccyx pain after a fall on the stair edge Not rated yet
Fell hard directly onto tailbone on stair edge. Immediately wanted to vomit. Iced immediately and every few hours. Putting pressure onto tailbone is very …
Tailbone and nerve pain discomfort from direct fall with a constant urge to pee Not rated yet
Crashed a gas golf cart going around 30 mph. Flipped out and landed directly on my lower back and tailbone. I have urge to pee at times and feel as if …
Flew down 6 stairs onto brick floor. Not rated yet
I flew down 6 wooden stairs onto brick floor on my butt. I am 74 years old. Miraculously, nothing fractured! This happened 1 month ago. My sacrum is …
fall on buttocks coming in front door Not rated yet
I had an x ray; no broken bones but my behind still hurts when I sit down for a long time; I don't know what to do it has been 3 weeks since my fall. …
Coccyx displacement and thigh pain Not rated yet
Dear Doctor, I'm Natasha from Mauritius. I would like to seek help from you in treating my pain. I fell down the stairs at my work place on 16th …
Coccyx displacement Not rated yet
Dear Doctor, I'm Natasha from Mauritius. I would like to seek help from you in treating my pain. I Fell down the stairs at my work place on 16th …
Coccyx pain or something else? Not rated yet
Coccyx pain or something else? Hello, I have been suffering from urine leakage on sitting for six months. There is only a slight disc bulge at L3-4,L4-5. …
Fall on buttocks causing a weak ankle Not rated yet
I fell twice one week apart on a foot stool not knowing it was broken. Both times on my backside on hardwood floors. After the second fall, my foot started …
Pantyhose coccyx pillow Not rated yet
Forget all the sewing. Just use a pantyhose as the container for the homemade coccyx pillow. Dr. Barrie Lewis Many thanks, Gary, …
Fractured coccyx causing ankles to swell Not rated yet
Can a broken coccyx cause my ankles to be swollen? And hands to go numb? I have very mild carpal tunnel, but within 6 hrs of being bucked of my horse, …
Painful coccyx, cushion helps only partly Not rated yet
I don't know what I have done to my tail bone, but it is very painful to sit. I have a cushion; it's the square one with the u shape cut out. I first …
Coccyx injury with tingling Not rated yet
I fell downstairs a few days back and saw a gp today who said it sounds like I've bruised my coccyx; she asked if I'd had any tingling which at the time …
hairline fracture of coccyx and sacrum Not rated yet
Had hard fall on coccyx 3 weeks ago. Still very painful. What can I do to help this heal properly and lessen the pain? Dr. Barrie Lewis …
Crushed coccyx with pain and sexual issues Not rated yet
Thank you for your time. I hope you can help. When I was nine years old, I crushed my tailbone while at the roller rink. At the time, it was believed …
HELP, 3 months pregnant and awful coccyx pain Not rated yet
I'm 4 1/2 months pregnant & I have the worst pain. I'm not sure if the injury came from my previous job (CNA) or from one time that my husband 'accidentally' …
looking for a practitioner Not rated yet
Do you still give advice on coccyx problems as I have had coccyx pain for years now; I am looking for help, no one understands the complex nature of the …
Bleeding skin over coccyx Not rated yet
My grandson is 7years old. He has Cerabal palsy which affects his movement on the right side, he walks with a slight gait but is active running, jumping …
Sit pain > 3 years Not rated yet
I've had sit pain for more than 3 years. It is incredibly painful in my lower left buttock near bottom panty line. I have no back pain, have tried piriformis …
Snowboarding fall Not rated yet
Hello Dr. Lewis! I fell onto my coccyx 12 days ago while snowboarding. It wasn't a particularly gnarly fall and I'm actually not even sure which fall …
Roller Disco fall Not rated yet
4 weeks ago I was at a Roller Disco with my friend,I fell back wards on to a concrete floor and instantly felt sick, sugar level had dropped. I was in …
Coccyx pushed back Not rated yet
I have coccyx pushed to back left sided. Can you do anything? Am sending you copies of xrays. Dr. Barrie Lewis I need more information, …
coccyx injury Not rated yet
My mom 62 years old fell from the chairwhich broke suddenly; she is in extreme pain; now what to do. Dr. Barrie Lewis Hello Ann, …
Bumetadine Not rated yet
BU has shown remarkable results in fixing nerve damage. They have done animal testing with positive results. I've had tailbone pain for years and when …
Coccyx pain four years Not rated yet
Coccyx pain four years i fell from the chair while working and i went to a doctor but he didn"t see anything wrong.After a day i couldn't walk nor sit …
Pain in my lower back near my sitting bone Not rated yet
Pain in my lower back near my sitting bone hi i have a pain in my lower back i have suffered for years it's a bone in my lower back towards the …
Coccyx pain / coccyx pillow Not rated yet
Coccyx pain / coccyx pillow I injured my coccyx on a motorbike in January 2012 (its now Nov 2012)and I still have quite a lot of discomfort when I sit. …
Chronic tailbone pain Not rated yet
II have chronic tailbone pain since May 2011. I had a back operation February 2011 after 20 years of constand back pain. My coccyx was removed July 2011. …
Tailbone moved to left in an injury Not rated yet
i sat on the cot's edge which had a not so blunt but pointing corner, result Tailbone moved to left, when i went to doctor he asked if i had vibrating …
coccyx massage Not rated yet
What can I do as a massage Therapist to help a client that has had coccyx pain for several years and nothing else has helped. Besides relaxing the surrounding …
Coccydynia worsening? Not rated yet
I am a 23-year-old female student. 3 years ago I started to have chronic back pain, in which I sought help from many doctors before finally getting the …
Coccyx cushion Not rated yet
Coccyx cushion I had bad accident in 2006 and my coccyx was hurt and is now painful when I sit for a long time. plz help me to treatment me …
The solution sometimes to chronic pain, like that requiring a coccyx cushion, is to take up something new. An activity that will engage your mind and body. Another sport, like gliding perhaps, or just a good walk every day.
One of my diversions on going into semi-retirement was to go solar. Not because I suffer from chronic pain, nor because I'm bored with Chiropractic Help, but simply because I'm hyperactive. Born in this the twenty first century I would certainly have been put on Ritalin for the rest of my life! Hobbies like solar, beekeeping, gardening are simply put of my philosophy of healthy living and preserving the planet for our children's children.
There have been few things more satisfying in my life that getting most of our energy from the sun.
A bit saucy, not for the faint-hearted! But as an eBook that you can read it on your computer for only 99 cents, a snip. I guarantee you will finish it! How do I know? It's a trilogy, and Book I is available for free on the web. Just as many people are reading chapter one, JAN JANSEN so you can get a taste before purchasing.
Safety on the Stairs ... public enemy no. 1 of the coccyx.
More readers' questions