Can Physiotherapy Help in Coccydynia?

Are you experiencing discomfort or pain in your tailbone area and wondering if there’s a non-invasive way to find relief? Coccydynia, a condition characterized by pain in the coccyx or tailbone, can significantly affect your daily life and mobility. Physiotherapy emerges as a powerful ally in combating this condition, offering a beacon of hope for those seeking relief. 

Moreover, through a tailored combination of exercises, manual therapy, and techniques aimed at reducing inflammation and promoting healing, physiotherapy treatment not only aims to alleviate the immediate discomfort but also addresses the underlying causes to prevent future occurrences.

What is Coccydynia?

Coccydynia, commonly called tailbone pain, manifests as a sharp or achy discomfort near the base of the spine, exacerbated by sitting or transitioning from sitting to standing. This condition often stems from trauma, prolonged sitting on hard surfaces, or can arise without a clear cause.

 Effective coccydynia treatment encompasses a variety of approaches, including coccydynia exercises and stretches aimed at alleviating pressure on the coccyx and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.

Further, Coccydynia physiotherapy exercises, specifically tailored by professionals, are important for managing symptoms. At Proremedy Physio in Mississauga, we go beyond the basics to ensure our patients receive specialized physiotherapy for coccydynia. 

Typical Reasons for Coccydynia

Frequent factors leading to coccydynia include prolonged sitting, particularly on stiff surfaces, and the impact of direct trauma, such as from a fall. Childbirth is another common cause, as well as bone fractures, tumours, or infections, which may also trigger this condition.

Identifying Coccydynia

Signs that you might be dealing with coccydynia include discomfort while seated on firm surfaces and pinpoint pain in or around the tailbone, which intensifies upon touch or pressure. The pain notably increases when transitioning to a standing position after sitting for extended periods. Additionally, the onset of pain may occur during sexual activity and, for women, the discomfort may escalate during menstrual periods.

Diagnosing Coccydynia

Coccydynia can be categorized as follows:

  • Local Coccydynia: Originates directly at the tailbone.
  • Traumatic Coccydynia: Caused by injuries.
  • Idiopathic Coccydynia: Occurs without a known cause.
  • Radiated or Referred Coccydynia: Pain that originates from another area but is felt at the coccyx.
  • Psychogenic Coccydynia: Related to psychological factors.
  • Chronic Proctalgia: Persistent pain in the rectal area, which may be associated with coccydynia.

Benefits of Physiotherapy in Coccydynia

Absolutely, physiotherapy can make a significant difference in managing and treating coccydynia. A non-invasive approach focuses on reducing pain, improving mobility, and strengthening the muscles around the coccyx to prevent future injuries. Here’s how physiotherapy achieves these goals:

  • Pain Reduction: Through a variety of techniques including manual therapy, such as massage and mobilization, physiotherapy helps alleviate the direct discomfort associated with coccydynia through conservative treatments. Modalities like ultrasound or TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) may also be used to reduce pain levels.
  • Improved Mobility: Coccydynia often leads to a decrease in mobility due to pain. Physiotherapists guide patients through specific stretches and exercises designed to increase flexibility and movement in the lower back and pelvic area, helping to reduce stiffness and pain.
  • Muscle Strengthening: A core component of physiotherapy for coccydynia involves strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, as well as the gluteal and abdominal muscles. Stronger muscles support the spine better and can alleviate the pressure on the coccyx, reducing the risk of further pain.
  • Postural Education: Many cases of coccydynia are exacerbated by poor sitting postures. Physiotherapists educate patients on how to adjust their posture and may recommend ergonomic seating solutions to help distribute weight more evenly and avoid putting extra pressure on the coccyx.
  • Personalized Treatment Plans: Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of physiotherapy is the customization of treatment plans. Understanding that each case of coccydynia is unique, physiotherapists develop tailored plans that address the specific needs and conditions of each patient, ensuring more effective management of the condition.

Which techniques of physiotherapy help?

Several physiotherapy techniques prove particularly effective in addressing pelvic pain associated with coccydynia, offering significant pain relief and contributing to long-term recovery. Tailored to meet individual needs, these strategies aim at reducing persistent pain, enhancing mobility, and preventing recurrence. Explore some of the key physiotherapy techniques beneficial for this common condition:

Manual Techniques:

These involve hands-on methods to manipulate and mobilize the muscles and joints in the lumbar spine and pelvic area. Gentle massage and mobilization, including internal techniques for severe cases, can significantly alleviate pain, ease muscle spasms, and improve range of motion.

Pelvic Floor Exercises:

Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is essential in managing coccydynia. These exercises help stabilize the coccyx, supporting the pelvic organs and reducing the strain on the tailbone, thereby aiding in pain management.

Stretching Exercises:

Specifically targeted stretches can ease tightness in the muscles around the coccyx and the broader pelvic area. Focusing on the hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and the lower back, these stretches help lessen the pressure on the coccyx, offering relief from severe pain.

Posture Education:

Learning to improve posture, especially while seated, can dramatically reduce the stress on the coccyx. Physiotherapists guide patients on ergonomic adjustments and the use of aids like a donut cushion to minimize discomfort and prevent persistent pain.

Core Strengthening:

Building strength in the core muscles, encompassing the abdominals and lumbar spine, provides essential support to the spine, helping alleviate symptoms of coccydynia. A strong core diminishes the load on the coccyx during daily activities, contributing to overall pain relief.

Heat and Cold Therapy:

The application of heat relaxes muscles and boosts blood flow to the affected area, facilitating pain relief. Conversely, cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and numb the area, providing relief from muscle spasms and persistent pain. Physiotherapists may suggest alternating between heat and cold treatments, tailoring the approach to the patient’s specific response and needs.

Summing Up!

In conclusion, understanding and addressing coccydynia involves recognizing its common causes, such as prolonged sitting or direct trauma, and identifying its distinct symptoms. Prolonged periods of sitting, especially on hard surfaces, can exacerbate pain around the ischial tuberosities and lead to an uncomfortable pelvic tilt. 

An effective treatment plan, which may include a rectal examination to diagnose conditions like coccydynia, can significantly improve discomfort during sexual intercourse and daily activities.

Diagnosis can vary, encompassing local to psychogenic origins. Effective management and relief from coccydynia are achievable through tailored physiotherapy techniques, emphasizing the importance of specialized care in overcoming this challenging condition and enhancing one’s quality of life.

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Arpan has been practicing as a physiotherapist since 2010, starting her career in a trauma center in India where she worked with post-traumatic and post-operative cases. She moved to Canada and continued her independent practice, specializing in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic issues, sports injuries, and pelvic health physiotherapy. She has experience dealing with MVA and WSIB clients and has been working in the Mississauga community since 2015.

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Arpan has been practicing as a physiotherapist since 2010, starting her career in a trauma center in India where she worked with post-traumatic and post-operative cases. She moved to Canada and continued her independent practice, specializing in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic issues, sports injuries, and pelvic health physiotherapy. She has experience dealing with MVA and WSIB clients and has been working in the Mississauga community since 2015.

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