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What is reason for pain in the coccyx (tail bone)?

Answered by: Dr. Mathew Varghese
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Director,
St. Stephens Hospital,
New Delhi

Q. I have a pain in the coccyx bone. The sacro coccyx lateral view bone x-ray revealed there is a small crack in that bone. There is no pain while urinating or passing motion. My orthopaedician gave me an injection in that area and asked me sit on a ring type of cushion for the next 6 months. Will this treatment heal the bone? I browsed through various websites and they suggested the worst case is to remove the coccyx bone. Will I be able to work after the removal of the bone? I need to sit for 10 hours everyday. Kindly help as I am the only earning member in the family.

A.  Pain in the coccyx is a fairly common symptom. The onset may be associated with injury or it may come on its own without any other antecedent history. The important thing in management of this problem is to ensure that we know the underlying cause for the pain. In your case, your x-ray and MRI have already been done therefore it seems to be a case of coccygodynia. When the pain is intractable, local steroid injections are given. However, this may not always relieve the symptom. In addition, there is a small risk of infection. The condition is often self limiting so if you have simple analgesics and avoid sitting on hard surfaces, you may manage till it resolves on its own. Removal of coccyx is rarely performed for coccygodynia. It is more often done for infection or other tumours of the coccyx. If the coccyx is removed you will still be able to do your sitting job and I don't think it will affect your ability to support your family. I would suggest however, that before your go in for removal of coccyx, do take a second opinion.

A.  Pain in the coccyx is a fairly common symptom. The onset may be associated with injury or it may come on its own without any other antecedent history. The important thing in management of this problem is to ensure that we know the underlying cause for the pain. In your case, your x-ray and MRI have already been done therefore it seems to be a case of coccygodynia. When the pain is intractable, local steroid injections are given. However, this may not always relieve the symptom. In addition, there is a small risk of infection. The condition is often self limiting so if you have simple analgesics and avoid sitting on hard surfaces, you may manage till it resolves on its own. Removal of coccyx is rarely performed for coccygodynia. It is more often done for infection or other tumours of the coccyx. If the coccyx is removed you will still be able to do your sitting job and I don't think it will affect your ability to support your family. I would suggest however, that before your go in for removal of coccyx, do take a second opinion.

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