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.
- 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 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 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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