Will tail bone pain ever go away?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Will tail bone pain ever go away? The pain came from a fall about five years ago. I use a V-pillow to sit, drive, and for any visits that require a long wait time. It has worsened and I think it is larger than when it first started causing me pain. An infection has been ruled out. One doctor thinks the area of pain can be removed. I'm considering this surgery because I can't take the pain anymore.

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Since you've had this tailbone (coccyx) pain for years, I doubt at this point in your life it will go away on its own. It sounds as though you may have injured the bone and/or damaged the nerves in that area when you fell 5 years ago. At this point, you have chronic pain, which is very different than acute pain. While I am glad that you don't have a bone infection, you do not mention any tests that you have had done or what they showed. Since you have a doctor that wants to do surgery, you must have had a MRI. Did it show a fracture or growth on the bone? Was there nerve damage? Is this something they can fix?

I understand that you are at your wit's end regarding the pain. You should consider surgery as long as you are: 1) healthy enough to do it, and 2) your chances of feeling better after the surgery are excellent.

If surgery scares you or is not an option due to other health issues, the doctors need to aggressively treat your chronic pain. They can try some of the following suggestions if they are appropriate for you:

1) Nerve medications: Ultram, Gabapentin, Lyrica 2) Opioids: Vicodin, Percocet, even Morphine; use laxatives for constipation! 3) Antidepressants: Cymbalta (which is great for nerve pain), Nortriptyline, Effexor. Studies show that they help reduce pain in people with chronic pain disorders. 4) Topical analgesics: Capsacin, Lidocaine patches 5) Hot or cold packs

I hope this has helped you. Please understand that there are treatments out there for chronic pain. If you have not gone already, I would recommend a consult with a pain management clinic for additional suggestions. Good luck!