Symptoms of a Broken Tailbone

The tailbone, also known as the coccyx, is one of those body parts that most people don’t think about until it gets damaged. But when your tailbone is broken, you can experience significant pain and debilitation, depending on the seriousness of the break. 

If you have suffered a tailbone injury in an accident, such as a car accident, work accident, or an accident on someone else’s property, it is vital to learn about symptoms that may indicate that you have broken your tailbone. 

What Are Common Symptoms of a Broken Tailbone?

Most tailbone injuries result in bruising, but many involve breaks. As you would imagine, breaks are much more serious than bruises and typically involve significantly longer recovery times, pain levels, and more intense short-term impacts on a victim’s life and livelihood. 

It can be difficult to know how badly a tailbone has been damaged. An in-depth medical examination can determine whether you have a break. 

However, there are also some general clues you can watch out for that can indicate that you indeed have a break and not simply a bruise that will heal quickly on its own. 

Severe Localized Pain 

One of the principal signs that you have broken your tailbone is severe and localized pain at or near the tailbone, which is at the back and just above the buttocks. The pain is typically dull, constant, and much more intense than pain associated with a simple bruise.

Worsening Pain When Moving

If you have broken your tailbone, you can also expect the pain you feel to worsen upon certain types of movements, such as:

  • Sitting
  • Standing
  • Walking
  • Running

You will also likely experience pain when engaging in sex and other activities that involve significant energy outputs. 

Localized Swelling

With a broken coccyx, you may find some degree of swelling in the area of the break. Although swelling may also occur in the absence of a break, you can expect it to always be there to some degree with a break. 

Bowel Movement Issues

Broken tailbones will typically cause significant pain during bowel movements. They may also lead to significant bowel movement issues, including constipation and stool incontinence. 

Numbness or Tingling

Numbness or tingling in one of your legs is also a sign that a break has occurred. A break can cause significant disruption and injury to the nerves and compromise the transfer of sensory signals to and from the legs. With a bruise-only injury, numbness and tingling are quite rare. 

Diagnosis and Treatment of a Broken Tailbone

The only way to truly diagnose a break in your tailbone is through a professional examination by a qualified healthcare professional. In every case, you should err on the side of caution and suspect a broken coccyx until the injury is examined by a medical professional so as not to inadvertently exacerbate a break.

At the time of diagnosis, your doctor will perform a thorough investigation of your situation, which will include exploring:

  • Traumatic causes of the injury and pain
  • Non-traumatic causes of the injury and pain
  • The injury site

Your doctor will also likely perform a rectal exam during their investigation as well as cancer screening and medical imaging. X-rays are quite helpful during diagnosis, as are MRI scans.

If you do indeed have a broken coccyx, treatment won’t include a cast like with other bones. Instead, your doctor may call for physical therapy, specially made cushions, cold and heat pads, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. 

They may also recommend steroids, nerve blocks, and strong painkillers. Surgery is rare, but sometimes necessary.

Many people make a full recovery within six to twelve weeks of medical care and treatment. 

Covering the Costs of a Broken Tailbone 

You may have missed work while recovering and have medical bills to deal with following your treatment. If you suffered a broken tailbone due to someone else’s negligence, it’s best to speak to a personal injury lawyer to determine whether you could be eligible to receive compensation that can cover those costs.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm – Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

Contact a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.

Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 933-0015