Does a tailbone heal on its own?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

A tailbone, also known as the coccyx, can heal on its own in most cases. The coccyx is a small triangular bone at the bottom of the spine, made up of several fused vertebrae. It can become broken or bruised due to various reasons such as falling directly on the tailbone, childbirth, or repetitive strain from activities like cycling or horseback riding.

When the coccyx is broken or bruised, it can be quite painful and may take some time to heal. However, the good news is that with proper care and time, the majority of cases will heal without the need for surgical intervention.

To help with the healing process, there are a few things you can do. First, it’s important to avoid putting excessive pressure on the tailbone. This means avoiding sitting for prolonged periods, especially on hard surfaces. You can use a special cushion with a cut-out section at the back to relieve pressure on the coccyx while sitting.

Physical therapy and exercises can also promote healing and relieve pain. A physical therapist can guide you through specific exercises that help strengthen the surrounding muscles and improve flexibility. These exercises may include gentle stretches, pelvic floor exercises, and core strengthening exercises. It’s important to start these exercises under the guidance of a professional to prevent further injury or strain.

Additionally, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to manage the pain and reduce inflammation. Applying ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day can also help alleviate pain and swelling.

In most cases, the healing process can take several weeks to a few months. However, if the pain persists or worsens despite conservative measures, it’s important to seek medical attention. A doctor may order imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI to assess the extent of the injury and determine if any further treatment is necessary.

In rare cases, when conservative measures fail to provide relief or there are complications such as a dislocated coccyx or a fracture that doesn’t heal properly, surgery may be considered. Surgical options include removing part of the coccyx or fusing the coccyx with adjacent vertebrae. However, it’s important to note that surgery is only needed in a small percentage of cases.

It’s also worth mentioning that if you experience any difficulties with bowel movements or urination, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms may indicate more severe damage to the coccyx or surrounding structures, and prompt medical intervention is necessary.

A broken or bruised coccyx can heal on its own in the majority of cases. However, it is important to take proper care, avoid excessive pressure on the tailbone, and engage in physical therapy and exercises to aid in the healing process. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.