Tailbone Pain and Why Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Helps

Tailbone pain can be such a frustrating and daunting issue that can not be pushed to the side or ignored. Many people believe that tailbone can and will go away over time after living with it for months or even years; the options for relief don’t seem plentiful. The term “coccydynia” is the medical term used to define the tailbone and pain related to its dysfunction. Many patients report significant pain during prolonged sitting, during transition from sit to stand and during certain functional activities such as exercise or even during intercourse. During an evaluation, I often find that several other symptoms make themselves visible that patients often did not recognize were related to their tailbone pain. These could include: posture/spinal alignment abnormalities, urinary incontinence, pelvic pain during sex, constipation, & sciatica.

All of the pelvic floor muscles attach to the pelvic floor, which is layers of muscle and other tissues. These layers stretch like a hammock from the TAILBONE to the pubic bone in front..For example, a female’s pelvic floor muscles support her bladder, uterus and colon. The urine tube (front passage), the vagina, and the back passage all pass through the pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles help you to control your bladder and bowel. They also help sexual function as this area is highly innervated by nerve endings. As you can see, this area is beyond important. When dysfunction at the tailbone area arises, many other area may also demonstrate signs of dysfunction as well.

What causes tailbone pain? The TOP 2 causes I see in my clinic are (1) trauma (ex. a fall, blunt trauma from forceps) &  (2) tight pelvic floor muscles. Usually, a combination of both cause significant pain. A broken tailbone can cause muscle imbalance as well as tightness secondary to tight muscles pulling the tailbone out of its normal mobility path. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy addresses this by “releasing” or lessening the tension at various trigger points internally and externally using various techniques. Other symptoms such as urinary frequency and pelvic may be improved solely from “releasing” and restoring muscle balance in this area; while in some cases other treatment techniques in combination with this may be necessary.  Other treatment options for tailbone pain include: seat cushion, stress relief techniques (massage, yoga), acupuncture, antidepressants, steroid injections. Surgery usually has been less effective with treating this condition and requires additional rehabilitation post-op. At InHer Physique, we believe in offering a safe place for patients to choose what treatment course they feel is right. There is no right or wrong, but there is power in having the authority over your care.

Try proven and effective conservative treatment, pelvic floor physical therapy, to improve your pain. It is not a quick fix, but  over time I have seen several patients have improvement in symptoms and a better quality of life.

Dr. Jus