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Why is my wife having pain in her tailbone?

Q: My 48 years old wife had backache problem in the vertebra. The last end of vertebra (tail) pains when she sits. There is no pain while standing. Sometimes the joints of her finger also pain. What medicine should be given to her?

A:Pain in the tailbone is fairly common and is called coccygodynia. This can start spontaneously or can also be linked with trauma. The majority of cases start spontaneously, though some patients link this with an episode of fall. It has a natural history and most of the time it settles over a period of a month. A very small percentage is related to fractures, infections or tumours of the region. These are very rare and there will be associated clinical symptoms. The only precaution that you need is to avoid putting weight on that area. Some people advise a pneumatic circular air cushion (some ask the patients to buy an inflated scooter tyre tube as a cushion). This is quite impractical, as patients cannot be expected to walk around with an inflated tyre tube. A simpler way is to sit between two cushions or sit on one buttock. The important thing is to avoid any weight coming on the coccyx. In acute pain, you could take an anti-inflammatory drug. Special investigations like CT Scan or MRIs are required only in select cases where there is a clinical indication to suspect a tumour or infection.

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