The sedentary lifestyle of youngsters is leading to arise in the
incidence of coccydynia, which is the medical term for pain in the
PAIN HAS assumed a totally new dimension for 24-year-old PR
professional, Sakshi Arora since coccydynia hit her four years ago. She
was in her final year graduation when she developed pain in her lower
back, which she thought was a regular backache.
But when it got severe and ointment applications didn’t help,
she visited an orthopaedician who told her that the cause of the pain
was inflammation of her tailbone, a condition known as coccydynia.
“I'd never heard of coccydynia before. Was taken aback.
But my sole intention was to get rid of the pain. I took it in my
stride,”. Says Arora. The orthopaedician suggested she make changes
in her posture, do buttock exercises and take some other precautionary
measures. After one month of rest, the inflammation receded along with
her pain. “I was relieved and got back to my regular lifestyle.
Only when the pain resurfaced after a year did I realise that this
was going to be a lifetime phenomenon,”. She laments. By then Arora
was working as a freelance journalist. Her job involved regular field
work and travelling by road —. Factors that triggered the problem. The
same trail of rest, precautions and exercises followed and she was fine
within a month.
But she lives with the knowledge that her pain can flare up at any
time. “In the last four years, I've been hit by the pain thrice.
Although I'm fine now. I live with the fear that the pain may
return any time,”. She says.
Coccydynia refers to pain at the tip of the spine, called coccyx or
tailbone. While there are no figures in India, this is a rare condition
that accounts for less than 1 percent of all reported causes of lower
back pain, according to the department of orthopaedic surgery,
Manchester Memorial Hospital.
The sedentary lifestyle of urban Indians, including youngsters, has
much to do with the increase in the incidence of this condition.
“When we sit, pressure usually distributes in a triangular manner
to three points —. Two on the sitting bones of the pelvis. One on
the coccyx. This distribution largely depends upon the curvature and
length of the coccyx, which varies.
At times due to wrong posture or wide curvature of coccyx in some
individuals, more pressure falls on the coccyx, leading to chronic
stress in it and causing its inflammation followed by acute pain,”
says Dr O N Nagi, senior orthopaedician, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Hence,
each time the swollen coccyx comes into contact with any object, it
causes pain. For such people, long hours of sitting in one position or
on hard surfaces, regular bus rides or travel on jerky roads, cycling,
horse riding. Any movement with jolts can trigger the problem. At
other times the tailbone may get damaged, dislocated or fractured during
an accident or fall on the back. This is called acute coccydynia and
those with this problem need more time to recover.
WOMEN AT HIGHER RISK
ALTHOUGH it can happen to anybody, anytime, people with a tendency
to slouch over chairs or those who regularly sit on hard surfaces for
long hours have a higher chance of developing this tailbone pain.
Women are usually more prone to it than men. ”. Nine out of the
ten people who come to me with coccydynia are women,”. Says Dr Ankur
Nanda, consultant spine surgeon, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre. Even a
study by Manchester Memorial Hospital reveals that this is five times
more common among women than in men. People with sedentary jobs are at a
higher risk of developing the problem too.
These apart, people who often commute by rickety buses or travel on
jerky roads are also vulnerable. In Delhi alone, more than 22 lakh people commute by the DTC on a daily basis, putting themselves at high
risk of developing this condition.
”. We've seen cases of coccydynia among women post childbirth
as well. This occurs due to use of forceps at the woman’s posterior
during delivery. Those with arthritis are also prone to developing this
condition since arthritis causes inflammation in bone joints and may
affect the tailbone too,”. Says Dr Nagi.
DETECTION IS A CHALLENGE
TWENTY- FIVEYEAR- OLD freelance consultant, Tanvi Sharma started
feeling pain in her lower back every time she sat for too long. “
It was so severe that I avoided going for movies with friends, and
preferred to stand and work on my computer than sit. I consulted a
physician who mistook it for spondylitis and prescribed me pain
killers,”. She says. It was only when her pain became persistent
that she visited an orthopaedician. ”. He told me I'd been sitting
on a swollen tailbone for quite some months,”. Says Sharma. Once
diagnosed, her treatment started and she recovered within six weeks.
Coccydynia diagnosis calls for a simple clinical examination, where
the orthopaedician can just touch the tailbone and check if there is an
However, at times it may be confused with regular backaches.
”. Sometimes tailbone pain can be due to some other spinal
problem, what we often call as referred pain. Also, the pain can be a
result of a disease in any internal organ around the tailbone.
One has to be aware of these factors as well. We should come to a
conclusion only after taking medical history of the patient, conducting
clinical examination and diagnosis,”. Says Dr Yash Gulati, senior
consultant orthopaedic surgeon in spine surgery &. joint replacement,
Apollo Hospital. Also, at times an ultrasound or X- Ray is conducted to
ensure there is no fracture.
The best treatment for coccydynia is rest. A person with this
problem must avoid subjecting her tailbone to pressure, which means
contact with a hard surface should be avoided. Other traditional
treatments may be effective.
If nothing works, then surgical removal of coccyx is the last
resort. As it’s a vestigial organ, its removal doesn’t cause
any harm to the body. Anyone with an achy tailbone knows that although
it’s isn't life threatening, it’s a big irritant as it
affects one’s day- to- day activities. Besides, it’s
embarrassing too. After all who likes to carry tubes and special
cushions wherever one goes!
PETS &. SPOUSES
Known for their loyalty, pets are now coming to the rescue of
marriages too. Clinical psychologist Suzanne B Phillips of Long Island
University says that couples can take a cue from their relationship with
their pets, in which grudges don’t exist. Affection
doesn’t wax and wane. Apply the unconditional approach to your
spouse and watch the change occur!
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