The tail plays a vital role for animals. With the help of their tail, they can hunt, move and express their emotions. People have other organs for these purposes, so instead of a tail we are born with four coccygeal vertebrae that fuse into one bone. I describe coccyx diseases and functions in detail in my book, “33 Vertebrae or I Love My Osteochondrosis,” and on the website WWW.SPINANORMA.RU. However, since coccyx problems happen so frequently, especially in women, we should pay more attention to them. The coccyx (or a tailbone) is quite small. Sometimes it is made up of three or five bones, but usually it consists of four of them. Its base is connected to the sacral bone, and its other end is pointed forward and down. The coccyx is part of the “pelvic floor” formation: this is a plexus or group of muscles and ligaments situated in the perineum and it holds up the rectum and urogenital organs.
Natural and important physiologic processes like childbirth, defecation, and urination, as well as sitting, are work for the coccyx. Just think that the coccyx is loaded even when you are sitting. The least amount of load is imposed on it when we sit in the correct position and maintain our lumbar curve. In this position, the primary weight is placed on our hips and the lower part of our buttocks, taking a great deal of pressure off our coccyx.
However, when we forget about posture and our back gets tired of staying in the right position, our low back curves out like a wheel. This puts our pelvis in a more horizontal position. Now, the pressure is directly over the top of the buttocks where the coccyx is located. This often happens with people who work at a desk. The overloaded coccyx starts to ache, and the person is soon diagnosed with “coccygodynia.” As a rule, people with this condition try to find out what is causing all this pain. Is there a fracture? Is the area swollen or is there an infection? There must be something they can point to that is causing this tremendous distress! Sometimes the cause can be a matter of coccyx osteochondrosis. But in most cases, no source of the pain can be found. Women, who suffer from coccygodynia more often than men, cannot remember anything about falling down or about any other coccyx injury. So both the patient and the doctor start thinking that the coccyx simple hurts for no reason. An experienced doctor and even a patient who understands biomechanics will know right away that the reason for coccyx pain is incorrect posture.
How can we help this person? The only chance for relief is to correct the posture when sitting. Exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can play an additional helpful role. Physiotherapy that helps eliminate inflammation of the ligaments in this area is important as well.
- The coccygeal part of the spine forms the pelvic floor.
- Pain syndromes in the coccyx area are often connected with long periods of sedentary loading in a wrong position.
- Treatment of coccyx pain, coccygodynia, must be combined with posture correction.