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' I had never heard of coccydynia until it hit me'.

The sedentary lifestyle of youngsters is leading to arise in the

incidence of coccydynia, which is the medical term for pain in the

tailbone

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 had never heard of coccydynia before, so was taken aback.

But my sole intention was to get rid of the pain, so 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 have been hit by the pain thrice.

Although I am fine now, but 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, and 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, or 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...

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