Tailbone (Coccyx) Fracture

Tailbone (Coccyx) Fracture

The tailbone, or coccyx, is at the bottom of your spine. It is possible to break (fracture) this bone when you fall and land in a seated position. This injury takes about 4 to 6 weeks to heal. Until then, it will be painful to sit and to have bowel movements.

Home care

  • Lying down or standing will often be more comfortable than sitting. When you must sit, use a doughnut pillow. This is sold at most pharmacies or surgical and orthopedic supply stores. You can also make a doughnut-shaped pillow using a 4-inch foam pad with the center cut out.
  • Apply an ice pack over the injured area for not more than 20 minutes. Do this every 1 to 2 hours for the first 24 to 48 hours. Keep using ice packs as needed to ease pain and swelling. To make an ice pack, put ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the bag in a clean, thin towel or cloth. Never put ice or an ice pack directly on the skin.
  • You may use over-the-counter pain medicine, unless another pain medicine was prescribed. Talk with your provider before using these medicines if you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding.
  • Keep your stools soft to prevent pain when having a bowel movement. Unless another medicine was prescribed, try the following:
    • If you are constipated: Use over-the-counter laxatives. Ask your pharmacist for recommendations for mild acting or stronger acting medicines
    • If you are not constipated: Use over-the-counter stool softeners to make passing stool less painful. Your pharmacist can suggest options. Adding fiber to your diet or using fiber supplements is a long-term solution to keep your stools soft and prevent constipation. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a fiber supplement.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider if your symptoms do not improve after 1 week.

If X-rays were taken, you will be notified of any new findings that may affect your care.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if:

  • Pain becomes worse or spreads to your legs

Call 911

Call 911 if you have:

  • Weakness or numbness in one or both legs
  • Loss of control over bowels or bladder, or numbness in the groin area

StayWell last reviewed this educational content on 4/1/2018

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