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Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia) Knoxville - Omega Pain Management

Coccydynia Pain Management in Knoxville, TN

Coccydynia is a disorder that causes pain at the bottom of the spine. The term is derived from two Greek words ‘kokkyx’ (meaning ‘cuckoo’ since the shape of the affected bone resembles the bird’s beak) and ‘dynia’ (meaning ‘pain’). In Knoxville, coccydynia can be treated by a variety of methods including pain medication, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery. A study published in the Radiology journal found that coccydynia accounted for 2.7% of all back pain cases. Although not a very common disorder, it can be debilitating for those suffering from it as it causes pain and discomfort during simple day-to-day activities such as sitting or sleeping. In this article, we will explore the causes and symptoms of coccydynia and discuss all treatment options for this condition.

What is coccydynia?

At the very end of your spine, there is a small triangular bone formation made up of 3 to 5 fused segments, otherwise known as your coccyx, or tailbone. Although a remnant of evolution, it has some function in humans, for example, supporting the body in a seated position and connecting several pelvic floor muscles and ligaments. The coccyx is connected to the spine through a joint that has limited movement. When you sit down or stand up, your coccyx moves slightly forward or backward. Coccydynia is a term that describes persistent pain in your tailbone. It may involve damage to the coccyx or inflammation of the surrounding muscles and ligaments.

What causes coccydynia?

Coccydynia can have various causes as listed below:
  • Tailbone pain is most frequently caused by a direct injury to the coccyx area, such as a fall. It can produce inflammation in the surrounding ligaments and injure the coccyx or the spinal joint.
  • Another common cause of coccydynia is repetitive stress on the tailbone, for example, horse riding, bike riding, and prolonged sitting on hard surfaces.
  • During childbirth, the baby’s head can put pressure on the coccyx and injure some of its structures.
  • Anatomical issues such as too much or too little mobility in the coccyx joint might cause tailbone pain.
  • In rare cases, coccydynia can be a result of a tumor, an infection, or a referred pain from another part of the lower back or pelvis.
  • Sometimes no specific cause for the pain can be found, in which case the condition is referred to as idiopathic coccydynia.

How common is coccydynia?

The exact incidence of coccydynia is not known. It can affect people at different stages of life but the average onset age is 40 years old. According to the 2022 review published in the Global Spine Journal, this condition is 5 times more common in women than in men. It is presumed to be due to women’s wider pelvic structure and risk of coccyx injury during childbirth. Obesity is another factor that increases the risk of tailbone pain due people with high Body Mass Index (BMI) adopting a seated position that puts continual stress on the coccyx.

What are the main symptoms of coccydynia?

The main symptom of coccydynia is tailbone pain which is limited to the coccyx area and does not radiate to the legs. Sitting on hard surfaces and leaning backward in a seated position aggravate the pain. Movements like sitting down and standing back up can be painful. In some cases, patients report experiencing pain during bowel movements, periods, or sex. The pain can range from mild to severe and can be either constant or only felt during movement and when applying pressure to the area. Although not a common symptom of coccydynia, lower back pain can sometimes accompany it.

How is coccydynia diagnosed?

Taking a detailed patient’s history and performing a physical exam is usually sufficient for the diagnosis of coccydynia. The doctor will ask the patient about the symptoms, including how and when they started. He or she will also inquire about any recent injuries and lifestyle changes. During the physical exam, the doctor will examine the affected area and apply pressure to check for tenderness, swelling, and other abnormalities. Imaging techniques are rarely used for this diagnosis but, if necessary, a dynamic X-ray might be performed. This method takes two images – one of the patient standing and another of the patient sitting down. The doctor then compares the two X-rays to assess the changes in coccyx positioning and identify potential mobility issues.

How is coccydynia treated?

Around 90% of patients with coccydynia recover within weeks or months. Mild cases can be managed at home with the following remedies:
  • Improving sitting posture to avoid excessive pressure on the tailbone
  • Over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen
  • Ice pack to reduce inflammation
  • Heating pads to help with the pain
  • Coccydynia pillow, also called coccydynia cushion, – a seating pillow with a hole under the coccyx area – to relieve the pressure on the tailbone while sitting
  • Increased fiber and water intake to avoid constipation as it may exacerbate the pain
If the first line of treatment is unsuccessful, there are other methods of pain management available:
  • Steroid injections – a combination of a corticosteroid and a local anesthetic delivered directly into the coccyx area can provide longer-term pain relief.
  • Coccydynia physical therapy, such as massage and manual manipulation, can help relieve the muscle strain and adjust the affected joint.
  • Coccydynia exercises that involve gently stretching the ligaments attached to the coccyx can also help alleviate the pain.
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS) is a non-invasive treatment that sends electric stimuli to the painful area and modifies pain signaling to the brain.
In rare cases, for persistent pain that doesn’t improve with treatment, surgery might be necessary. The procedure involves a partial or complete removal of the coccyx. Our Knoxville coccydynia specialists at Omega Pain Doctor have years of experience diagnosing and providing the right treatment option for tailbone pain.


Coccydynia is a debilitating condition that causes pain in your tailbone. It can affect your quality of life by interrupting your daily activities with persistent pain and disrupting your sleep. Fortunately, tailbone pain usually improves on its own and there are many available treatment options that can help keep the symptoms under control until recovery. If you have tailbone pain that is not getting better, contacting a doctor will allow you to receive help and find the pain relief method that works for you.

Coccydynia Treatment in Knoxville, TN

It’s pretty tough to heal from anything if you don’t have control of your pain. This means you need to be at least somewhat pain-free in order to heal. A relaxed body can focus on getting better. A stressed and pained body can’t. Omega Pain Management is a clinic that offers personalized pain management so you can function without hurt. The idea is to manage your pain rapidly while looking for long-term solutions. Dr. Igor Smelyansky, M.D, manages this specialty clinic that has created a stellar reputation within the pain management specialty. Knoxville pain management uses state of the art technology to deliver a wide range of pain management options that will give you the pain-free life you deserve. It’s all about taking your Coccydynia at Knoxville Omega Pain Management seriously and making it better. Often people discover that working with our team uncovers treatment options they have never thought of before. Lower back pain and Coccydynia can be debilitating and interfere with your daily function. You could wind up in bed for a few days or find yourself battling daily pain that keeps you from doing all the activities you love. No more tennis, biking, skating, or hiking. Get control of your pain with professional coccydynia doctors in Knoxville today so you are back in the driver’s seat of your life. Where you get to call the shots and back pain isn’t your forced focus. Call 865-337-5137 today because you deserve health and happiness always. Believe it!


Andersen GØ, Milosevic S, Jensen MM, Andersen MØ, Simony A, Rasmussen MM, Carreon L. Coccydynia-The Efficacy of Available Treatment Options: A Systematic Review. Global Spine J. 2022 Sep;12(7):1611-1623. doi: 10.1177/21925682211065389. Epub 2021 Dec 18. PMID: 34927468; PMCID: PMC9393997.

GHORMLEY RK. An etiologic study of back pain. Radiology. 1958 May;70(5):649-53. doi: 10.1148/70.5.649. PMID: 13554831.