Direct force on the tailbone may cause misalignment, sprain, or in rare cases, fracturing of the coccyx. A fall can also sprain the surrounding ligaments and strain the muscles. This can cause severe pain, which can last for many years if not properly treated.
As the baby passes through the birth canal, it comes in contact with the tailbone. It is possible to injure the tailbone in cases where the coccyx is tilted forward into the birth canal (from a past injury) or if the baby is larger in size. The position of the coccyx can decrease the diameter of the birth canal, which may cause difficult deliveries and lead to re-injury with subsequent pregnancies. For females, it is important to fix past coccyx injuries in order to reduce the chances of re-injury if they give birth again.
Children are frequently falling on their hind ends. These falls can cause injury to the tailbone. Many adults present with tailbone injuries with no known cause. These cases may be a flare up of a childhood injury that was irritated by numerous incidents including gaining weight, giving birth, or siting long periods at a desk job.
Sitting puts pressure on the tailbone. In cases where people start new desk jobs or have to sit for longer periods of time, it adds extra pressure to the tailbone and its supporting tissues which may then become painful.
Tailbone injuries are typically diagnosed as coccydynia, which simply means “tailbone pain.” However, there may be more going on than just the pain. Injuries to the coccyx can cause chronic muscle stiffness moving up the spine and/or sharp pain down the legs. Bowel and bladder function may be affected. It may also cause weakness to the muscles that rotate the thighs. This is known as the SacroCoccygeal syndrome.