Tailbone pain, also referred to as coccydynia, affects some women after child birth. It is characterized by pain and tenderness of the rudimentary part of the spinal cord. The pain tends to increase significantly when you sit or stand, and when you have a bowel movement. Keep reading to learn the causes and treatments.
The process of giving birth can cause coccydynia when the tailbone is damaged due to the physical trauma on it and the surrounding muscles and tendons. The pressure caused by pushing the baby out may cause the tailbone and the surrounding muscles to be overstretched, thus rendering them ineffective to provide stability to the lower spine.
The tailbone is more likely to be injured if your baby is large, or your pelvis is small or oddly shaped. It is also more likely to be injured during delivery if your coccyx was injured in a previous vaginal delivery.
Normal daily activities may be hindered and relatively simple activities such as driving, bending, or sitting for long periods may cause pain and discomfort. Feeling pain during sex, increased back pain and pain in the legs are some of the symptoms that characterize coccydynia.
Tailbone pain after birth is treated by a combination of simple, effective practices such as holding an ice pack on the sensitive area, lying on your side and resting as much as possible.
Your doctor may also prescribe ibuprofen to reduce the swelling and the pain associated with it. If the pain is excruciating, your doctor will prescribe stronger painkillers, and if you are breastfeeding make sure that the medication is safe for your baby.
Some unique cushions have been designed to help reduce pressure on the tailbone when sitting down. Some cushions have holes in the middle and are shaped like doughnuts, and others are wedge-shaped, designed to make you lean forward slightly and relieve pressure on the coccyx.
If these pillows don’t work for you or they make the discomfort worse, you may find that sitting on a firm surface and shifting your weight back and forth, from one side to the other may help. A warm bath will also assist in relaxing your pelvic muscles.
As your coccyx is healing, you need to avoid being constipated at all costs, as this will tremendously increase your pain and discomfort. Take lots of fluids and eat fiber-rich foods to aid in digestion. You may even take a stool softener if necessary.
In the first month after giving birth, avoid straining your back by lifting heavy stuff and engaging in physically demanding activities such as jumping and running. Make sure you sleep on your side probably with a pillow between your knees to make yourself more comfortable.
There are further treatments for tailbone pain after birth if painkillers and best practices don’t seem to work for you. These conservative treatments are listed below. Consult your doctor if they are compatible to breastfeeding.
You may be injected with lidocaine, a numbing medication and a steroid to reduce the inflammation around the coccyx region. This treatment is effective and may be used to provide relief for one week or even a number of years. Depending on how well your body receives the treatment, you can get up to three injections within a year.
Manual manipulation to treat coccydynia is done to reduce the pain caused by immobility of the coccyx. The joint between the coccyx and the sacrum is manually adjusted to achieve this.
The main purpose of massaging the coccygeal area is to reduce tension in the pelvic floor muscles attached to the coccyx. Tense muscles tend to strain ligaments and the sacrococcygeal joint, which limits its mobility.
A trained practitioner such as a physiotherapist or a chiropractor can gently stretch the muscles in the coccyx to reduce muscle tension in the coccygeal area. He/she can also give you various stretches to perform to reduce the pain.
This treatment is recommended for patients who do not wish to ingest medicines or have reservations about taking too many medications. The TENS (trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulator) unit works by interfering with pain signal transmission between the coccyx and the brain. There are two kinds of TENS unit, one with high frequency, worn for a short period and the other with low frequency, worn for a longer period.
Most cases of tailbone pain after birth will heal after one to two months. In case conservative treatment is not effective, consult your doctor who may recommend surgery to remedy the situation.