Bruised Tailbone: When To See A Doctor For Pain After Falling

Spine sacral region anatomy in x-ray blueThere are many accidents that may result in a bruised tailbone, technically known as a coccyx injmy. Any injury to this area may end in a bruise or more seriously a dislocation or fracture (break) of the coccyx. This area can be very slow to heal and requires extra special precautions to ensure it heals properly.

Your coccyx, more commonly known as your tailbone, is located at the very base of your back and is the very last vertebral column of your spine. The area is made up of

3-5 bony parts all held in place by ligaments and joints. Interestingly, since women have a broader pelvis than men they experience the majority of coccyx injuries.

Most Common Causes Of Tailbone Injury

The most common ways people injure their coccyx include:

  • Falling in a seated position with majority of impact on tailbone.
  • Getting hit in the tailbone area, such as during a contact sport
  • Childbirth can cause injury or fracture of the coccyx.
  • Less common causes include bone spurs, injuries to other parts of the spine, nerve root compression, local infections, or tumors.
  • Sometimes the cause of coccyx pain remains undetermined, but most of the time you can pinpoint exactly when the injury occurred.

Symptoms Of Tailbone Injury

There are a few key indicators that you have bruised or fractured your tailbone, these symptoms include:

  • Pain when you sit down, you may also experience numbness when sitting down.
  • Pain or tenderness in lower back.
  • Noticeable bruising or swelling at the base of the spine.
  • Pain near the top of your buttocks area.
  • Pain when rolling over in bed.
  • In more severe cases you may also experience painful or numb sensations shooting down the backs of your legs.
  • Pain when going to the bathroom.

How Long Does A Bruised Or Fractured Coccyx Take To Heal?

  • A tailbone injury can take a considerable amount of time to fully heal, the time duration all depends on how severe the injury is.
  • If your tailbone is fractured it could take 8 to 12 weeks to heal.
  • If your tailbone is bruised it generally takes about 4 weeks to heal.
  • If your pain or discomfort is not getting any better you may need steroid injections, or surgery to remove a portion of the tailbone. Surgery shouldnt be considered until 6 months after the injury.

How To Speed Up Your Recovery Process

For the first few days or weeks following your injury you need to be very careful that you don’t make the problem worse, and that you give yourself a chance to heal.

  • Rolling over and getting out of bed in the morning can be really painful. Move slowly and get out of bed by pushing into a fetal position, swinging your legs out in front of you and slowly stepping onto the ground.
  • Do not continue any physical activity that causes discomfort or pain.The more you rest the faster you will heal.
  • Don’t sit for long periods of time and avoid sitting on hard surfaces all together.
  • Ice your injury for about 20 minutes every hour or so for the first 48 hours after injury. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Switch to heat pads after the first 48- hours, but don’t leave heat on for more than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Purchase a gel donut or cushion at your local drugstore to sit on.
  • Take pain medication as needed. Do not take any pain medicine for the first 24 hours after injury, as this may increase your risk for bleeding.
  • Speak with your healthcare provider before taking any medications if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease or have experienced stomach ulcers or internal bleeding at any point in the past.

When Do You Need To Visit A Doctor For Injured Tailbone?

Anytime you injure your tailbone you should get x-rays just to make sure there is no break or fracture. One sign of coccyx fracture is pain when applying direct pressure to the tailbone. Other symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Numbness or tingling in the area
  • An increase in swelling or pain
  • Injury is not healing within a normal time period
  • Weakness in legs
  • Persistent constipation
  • Issues controlling bowels or bladder

You need to visit a doctor if you don’t know why you are suddenly experiencing pain in your tailbone. A doctor will be able to determine if your injury is related to an unrealized trauma or is linked to a more serious condition.

It is rare that an injury to the tailbone requires a visit to the emergency room. If you are experiencing pain in your lower back visit Urgent Medical Center as soon as possible for fast, compassionate care you can count on.

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