Tailbone trauma is an injury to the small bone at the lower tip of the spine.
Actual fractures of the tailbone (coccyx) are not common. Tailbone trauma usually involves bruising of the bone or pulling of the ligaments.
Backward falls onto a hard surface, such as a slippery floor or ice, are the most common cause of this injury.
- Bruising on the lower part of the spine
- Pain when sitting or putting pressure on the tailbone
For tailbone trauma where no spinal cord injury is suspected:
- Relieve pressure on the tailbone by sitting on an inflatable rubber ring or cushions.
- Take acetaminophen for pain.
- Take a stool softener to avoid constipation.
If you suspect injury to the neck or spine, do not attempt to move the patient.
Do not attempt to move the patient if there you think there may be injury to the spinal cord.
Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if:
Call for immediate medical help if:
- Spinal cord injury is suspected.
- The patient cannot move.
- Pain is severe.
- Do not run on slippery surfaces, such as around a swimming pool.
- Dress in shoes with good tread or slip-resistant soles, especially in snow or on ice.
Biundo JJ. Disorders of the Hip Region. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 284.
Cwinn AA. Transverse Fractures of the coccyx and Sacrum; Coccygeal Fracture. In: Marx, J, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2006:chap 52.
|Review Date: 8/12/2008|
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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