Tailbone (Coccyx) Fracture

The tailbone, or coccyx, is at the bottom of your spine. It's possible to break (fracture) this bone when you fall and land in a seated position. This injury takes about 4 to 6 weeks to heal. Until then, it will be painful to sit and to have bowel movements.

Home care

  • Lying down or standing will often be more comfortable than sitting. When you must sit, use a doughnut pillow. This is sold at most pharmacies or surgical and orthopedic supply stores. You can also make a doughnut-shaped pillow using a 4-inch foam pad with the center cut out.

  • Apply an ice pack over the injured area for not more than 20 minutes. Do this every 1 to 2 hours for the first 24 to 48 hours. Keep using ice packs as needed to ease pain and swelling. To make an ice pack, put ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the bag in a clean, thin towel or cloth. Never put ice or an ice pack directly on the skin.

  • You may use over-the-counter pain medicine, unless another pain medicine was prescribed. Talk with your provider before using these medicines if you have chronic liver or kidney disease, or ever had a stomach ulcer or digestive tract bleeding.

  • Keep your stools soft to prevent pain when having a bowel movement. Unless another medicine was prescribed, try the following:

    • If you are constipated: Use over-the-counter laxatives. Ask your pharmacist for advice for mild acting or stronger acting medicines.

    • If you aren't constipated: Use over-the-counter stool softeners to make passing stool less painful. Your pharmacist can suggest options. Adding fiber to your diet or using fiber supplements is a long-term solution to keep your stools soft and prevent constipation. Ask your pharmacist to advise a fiber supplement.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider if your symptoms don't improve after 1 week.

If X-rays were taken, you will be told of any new findings that may affect your care.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if:

  • Pain becomes worse or spreads to your legs

Call 911

Call 911 if you have:

  • Weakness or numbness in 1 or both legs

  • Loss of control over bowels or bladder, or numbness in the groin area

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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