How To Care for a Bruised Tailbone

Coccyx is the medical term form what is commonly known as the tailbone.  It is at the end of the spinal cord.  This type of bone is segmented, with ligaments and joints holding it in place.

A bad fall or a heavy impact on the tailbone can cause bruising.  Playing sports or engaging in physical activities can cause a fracture or bruise if these activities are not done properly.  Coccydynia, pain in the coccyx, doesn’t heal overnight.  The bruising lasts for several weeks.

What to do when you have a bruised tailbone

  1. Apply ice.  Immediately apply an ice or cold pack on the area of your coccyx.  Leave it there for at least 15 to 20 minutes, a minimum of 3 times per day.  The cold will help numb the pain.
  2. Consult a doctor.  If you suffered from a bad fall or was injured in some way on or close to the location of your tailbone, visit your doctor as soon as possible.  Your medical practitioner will most likely ask you to undergo an X-ray.  He can even request for an MRI.  This type of test can give him a better picture of the injury your coccyx suffered.
  3. Manage the pain with medication.  Your tailbone will probably be inflamed for some time.  To reduce the inflammation, drink any doctor prescribed NSAID medication.  Tylenol, Advil and Motrin are three of the medicines normally given for pain and inflammation.
  4. Drink lots of water and increase your fiber intake.  For overall good health, drink plenty of water and add more fiber to your diet.  Fiber helps your body avoid constipation which can prove to be quite an uncomfortable condition when your tailbone is injured.
  5. Find ways to be comfortable.  Lie down on your side rather than on your back.  This will help ease the pressure and the pain from your tailbone.  If your bed’s mattress is very soft, sleep on something more firm.  If you need to sit for prolonged periods of time, you can use a donut cushion.  It is a type of cushion that has a hole in the middle.  A donut cushion aims to alleviate some of the pressure from your bruised tailbone.  If possible, do not stay in one position (whether sitting, standing, kneeling or lying down) for a long time.  Try to shift positions every so often to help ease the pain.
  6. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.  While your tailbone is healing, wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing items.  Don’t wear clothes that are too tight and constrict the flow of blood throughout your body.  Go for comfortable and sturdy shoes.  Women should not wear high heels so as not to put additional pressure on the coccyx.
  7. Others.  Warm salt baths help soothe the pain.  Deep breathing exercises are also beneficial.  Ask your doctor or physical therapist what exercises you can perform to help heal a bruised coccyx.

Pain and discomfort accompany a bruised tailbone.  It takes weeks before the bruising totally heals.  During this time, follow your doctor’s advice on what pain medications to take.   Manage the pain by using ice packs, wearing comfortable clothes and shoes and limiting your activities to those that do not add more pain or pressure to your coccyx.


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