Treatments For Tailbone Pain

January 25, 2024

Tailbone pain is a prevalent type of pain that occurs along the bottom of the spine and along the buttocks. This pain can develop for any number of reasons, including trauma to the area, changes in joints, or childbirth. The sensation that occurs with tailbone pain is highly uncomfortable. Because of the location of this pain, patients may have difficulties with sitting or even standing for lengthy periods. Bowel movements can also bring about pain in the tailbone. The tailbone is actually comprised of anywhere from three to five different bones, which is part of the reason why the condition is so painful. If an individual believes they're suffering from tailbone pain or have already been diagnosed with the condition, there are a range of treatments to select from.

Apply A Warm Or Cool Compress

Among the first remedies patients should consider using to treat tailbone pain is to apply a warm or cool compress to the injured area. It's been proven that the application of hot and cold compresses can help reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. These compresses are also very easy to make. When applying a warm compress to the injured area, patients can use either dry or moist heat. Dry heat comes in the form of dry heating packs and heating pads, while moist heat includes such options as hot baths and steamed towels. When applying heat to the body, blood flow and circulation will be improved, which helps bolster muscle flexibility and relieve pain. As for cold therapy, some of the options patients can use include ice bags, ice packs, or coolant sprays. When using a cold compress, an individual's blood flow will be reduced for a short period, which is designed to lessen any swelling and inflammation in the affected area. Patients should be sure to apply a warm or cool compress a couple of times each day until the pain dissipates.


Manual manipulation is a widespread technique used in chiropractic care. It also provides distinct benefits for certain types of pain around the body. When individuals are experiencing tailbone pain, massaging the muscles surrounding their tailbone should help relieve pain. If a patient is considering using manual manipulation to treat their tailbone pain, a physical therapist should be able to provide the required care. This treatment option directly focuses on massaging the specific joint located between the coccyx and the sacrum, the former of which is another name for the tailbone. When this joint is adjusted, patients should experience at least some pain relief, depending on how much of their pain was caused by issues with coccyx mobility.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is among the most reliable treatments for tailbone pain since the exercises and techniques used during therapy will be provided by an experienced therapist. The main exercises used to treat tailbone pain throughout therapy are pelvic floor relaxation exercises, which are designed to simulate how the body would move when urinating. Tailbone pain often causes issues with going to the bathroom and can create a substantial amount of pain when patients attempt to do so. In most cases, the patient's body will tense up in response to the pain, which means their tailbone is relatively immobilized and cannot properly heal. Pelvic floor relaxation exercises like relaxing the muscles of the patient's pelvic floor and taking deep breaths should promote healing within their pelvic muscles. If these techniques are performed on a regular basis, patients should begin to experience a reduction in both pain and inflammation, which should make it easier to sit down and go to the bathroom without feeling pain. Standard stretching exercises may also be used during physical therapy.

Sit On A Special Pillow

While it might seem using a special pillow isn't a treatment option that would provide much relief, it's important to understand the main reason tailbone pain worsens and takes a lengthy amount of time to heal is because patients likely have to regularly sit at work or school. This can make it difficult for the tailbone to heal properly. The best way to mitigate these issues is to sit on a special pillow that can provide support for the tailbone. These pillows are designed specifically to remove pressure from the tailbone. The main pillows patients should look for are ones with a V, U, or wedge shape along with an empty space where the tailbone is. Patients can use these supportive pillows in a variety of situations, including sitting in a car, at their office desk, or in a classroom. This treatment option should expedite recovery.


When all other treatments have failed, it may be necessary to obtain a coccygectomy, which is a surgical procedure designed to actually remove the coccyx. If the trauma or injury is severe enough, the tailbone may be unable to properly heal, which makes it advisable to remove the entire tailbone. This bone actually isn't needed within the body, which means the procedure is a relatively safe one. Since the entire bone is removed with this treatment, the patient's pain should be eliminated completely. When patients elect to receive this treatment, an incision will be made along the tip of their coccyx down to the joint around the sacrum. The coccyx is cut off at the joint with the surrounding tissues remaining intact. When the coccyx is removed, it's possible the tip of the sacrum is rougher than it should be. If this is the case, it will be filed down before the incisions are closed. Patients will then go through a somewhat lengthy recovery process that can last anywhere from three months to a year.

Try Antidepressants Or Anti-Epileptic Medication

More and more research is showing certain antidepressants and anti-epileptic medications can be used to treat pain. While they aren't typically applied in situations where the pain is injury-related, they have shown promise in the treatment of chronic pain. If individuals have chronic tailbone pain with or without other chronic back pain, one option is to try antidepressants or anti-epileptic medications. Tricyclic antidepressants can be used to treat neuropathic pain due to their analgesic effects. First and second-generation antiepileptic drugs like carbamazepine, phenytoin, gabapentin, and pregabalin can treat neuropathic pain. There's some research showing tricyclic antidepressants can treat fibromyalgia and lower back pain, including tailbone pain.

Local Anesthetic Injection

A local anesthetic injection may be used if normal at-home treatments and over-the-counter drugs to minimize pain haven't been effective. It may also be used in conjunction with these treatments in cases where the tailbone pain is severe, chronic, or both. Injections use a mixture of lidocaine and steroids. Lidocaine is used to numb the tailbone and surrounding areas. The corticosteroid medication imitates cortisol, a natural hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol can reduce inflammation. During the procedure, the doctor uses imaging technology to make sure the injection targets the right area. Patients may experience pain relief from anywhere from a week to multiple years. If the injection is successful, patients can have up to three per year.

Over-The-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication reduces inflammation and pain, and can be used for tailbone pain. They work fairly quickly and, unlike corticosteroids, don't tend to come with a lot of side effects. That said, anti-inflammatory medications can cause nausea, vomiting, indigestion, headaches, and other kinds of discomfort. The most serious potential risks are liver and kidney damage, which typically occur after prolonged use. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) block prostaglandins in the body, which are substances that cause nerve endings to be more sensitive to inflammatory-related pain. Because prostaglandins are also related to body temperature regulation, blocking their effects can bring down a fever. Before taking any NSAIDs, individuals should double check potential interactions with other medications they take. Some medications can become toxic or cause organ damage if taken with an NSAID.

Changes In Diet

While changes in diet won't necessarily reduce inflammation or speed injury recovery, they are essential to the healing process. Individuals need to avoid constipation when they're dealing with tailbone pain. If individuals strain their muscles to have bowel movements, their tailbone pain will increase. The best way to prevent constipation is by eating fiber-rich foods like whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. Individuals should also drink plenty of water. Those who have liver, heart, or kidney disease that requires a limitation in their fluid intake should talk to their doctor before increasing the amount of water they drink. In addition to eating high-fiber foods, taking a fiber supplement each day may also help.

MORE FROM HealthPrep