Pain in the tailbone may be the result of a fall or other injury, prolonged sitting on a hard surface, or joint damage from repetitive motion, states Healthline. It is also common during the third trimester of pregnancy, due to the loosening of ligaments to accommodate the baby's growing size. In rare cases, the cause may be infection or cancer.
Tailbone pain may be mild or severe and is typically worse when sitting down or getting up from a chair. It usually goes away on its own after several days or weeks. Persistent, long-term pain can be an indication of more serious injury or illness, warns Healthline. The doctor may perform x-rays or an MRI to diagnose bone problems, such as a fracture or a tumor pressing on the bone. This may include x-rays of different standing or sitting positions.
Mild tailbone pain can respond well to over-the-counter pain medicine, especially anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, according to Healthline. For more severe pain, the doctor can inject medicine, such as an anesthetic, nerve block or steroid, while the tailbone heals. Sitting on a heated pad or cold pack can provide relief, or the patient may try a special pillow or cushion to relieve pressure. Additionally, the patient should sit and stand up in ways that avoid putting weight on the tailbone.