What causes tailbone pain, and how can I ease it?

Answer From Margaret Moutvic, M.D.

Tailbone pain is pain in or around the bony structure at the bottom of the spine. This part of the spine is called the coccyx. Tailbone pain is sometimes called coccydynia or coccygodynia.

Tailbone pain can be caused by injury to the coccyx during a fall. It may also result from sitting for a long time on a hard or narrow surface. Other causes include joint changes from arthritis or during childbirth.

Tailbone pain usually goes away on its own within a few weeks or months. To lessen tailbone pain in the meantime, it might help to:

  • Lean forward while sitting down.
  • Sit on a pressure-reduction cushion. Some people find a wedge-shaped one most helpful for reducing pain.
  • Apply heat or ice to the affected area.
  • Take pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others).

Tailbone pain that doesn't improve is called chronic coccydynia. For tailbone pain that doesn't go away, consult your health care provider. A rectal exam may be needed to rule out any other conditions. Sometimes MRI testing is used to find out if you have a fracture, joint changes or, in rare cases, a tumor.

Possible treatments for chronic tailbone pain might include:

  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist might show you how to do pelvic floor relaxation techniques. One technique is breathing deeply and completely relaxing your pelvic floor — as you would while urinating or defecating.
  • Manipulation. Massaging the muscles attached to the tailbone might help ease pain. Manipulation is typically done through the rectum.
  • Medicine. An injection of a local anesthetic into the tailbone can relieve pain for a few weeks.
  • Surgery. Surgery can be done to remove the coccyx. The procedure is called a coccygectomy. This option is typically only recommended when all other treatments fail.


Margaret Moutvic, M.D.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips, current health topics, and expertise on managing health. Click here for an email preview.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

April 21, 2023 See more Expert Answers