Tailbone pain during pregnancy: what helps?

Tailbone pain during pregnancy is a common complaint in pregnant women. There are many different triggers for the pain, but there are also plenty of treatment options. We will explain to you in detail where they come from and what helps.

Symptoms of coccyx pain in pregnancy

Pain in the coccyx region is dull to stabbing. Those affected find them very uncomfortable. The pain can radiate to the entire surrounding back region.

Those affected often suffer from coccyx pain in early or late pregnancy. They occur more frequently when sitting and lying down, but are also noticeable when walking. 

  • Coccyx pain in early pregnancy cannot be explained for gynecological reasons. For example, an infection that happened a long time ago can lead to the fertilized egg implanting itself in the fallopian tube. Due to the division of the cells, the cell cluster becomes larger, the fallopian tube begins to stretch and press. The resulting pain can radiate to the back and tailbone.
  • Towards the end of pregnancy, the pain can be caused by pre- and labour-pains . Labor increases the pressure in the lower abdomen, which can also affect the tailbone. Twin pregnancies or changes in the uterus (ulcers) can add to the pressure.
  • During childbirth, the pelvic ring and pelvic floor muscles are stretched. If the pelvic floor muscles tear during childbirth due to excessive pressure, bony injuries can occur in the coccyx. 
  • Prophylaxis: With consistent pregnancy exercises, you can reduce the symptoms of coccyx pain , but you can also prevent them if the back and pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened. 
  • Sitting activities increase the symptoms. So avoid them as often as possible.

Possible causes

There are many specific triggers for coccyx pain during pregnancy. The main reason is too much pressure on the coccyx, but a fracture or a pinched nerve can also be the cause.

The pain can radiate widely. If you suffer from coccyx pain during pregnancy, you will be confronted with the diagnosis “gestational pelveopathy”. This means that your pelvic ring muscles have changed during pregnancy (syn.: gestation).

In the small pelvis, the pelvic ring is loosened, but also widened. This gives the child space to pass through the birth canal. The pelvic ring includes the sacrum, the adjacent coccyx and both hip bones. It is a normal change, but it can cause pain in the coccyx region in some women. A coccyx fracture can occur as a complication during childbirth, as the child exerts strong pressure on the coccyx. 

Other causes can be: 

  • The pain comes from the coccyx: bruise, fracture or compression of the coccyx bone.
  • The pain originates in the nerve: nerve compression occurs due to the space requirement during pregnancy. Pain radiates to the coccyx region.
  • Cervical cancer : Pain radiates down the tailbone from the degenerated tissue.
  • Lower abdominal pain during pregnancy occurs as a special form. This is low back pain that is caused by the loosened tissue and radiates into the coccyx.

These exercises will help

If there is a muscular cause, you can perform exercises that we describe below.

If the pain becomes too severe, it is best to contact your gynecologist first. After the examination, he may refer you to an orthopedist or physiotherapist.

Exercise program:

  1. Starting position on all fours: You slowly push your spine vertebra by vertebra upwards. Once you have reached the top, hold the bow for 3 seconds. Then you tilt the pelvis back down. Repeat: 5 times.
  2. Starting position lying on your back: your arms are at your side, your feet are placed. Leave twenty centimeters apart. Tighten your glutes and lift your butt and stomach toward the ceiling. The knees should not touch. Hold the position with glutes still tight and shoulders on the floor for 3 seconds. Slowly lower your buttocks back onto the floor and relax. Repeat: 5 times.
  3. Starting position cross-legged: Make sure your back is straight. Tighten the pelvic floor muscles and feel the pelvic floor lift up. Hold the tension for 3 seconds. Relax again. Repeat: 5 times.
  4. Seat ring: Such a ring can be used for pain in the coccyx. When you sit on it, the so-called hollow seat is created. It relieves the coccyx, anal area and spine.
  5. Starting position leaning against the wall: your back is leaning against the wall, your legs are hip-width apart, your knees are slightly bent. Gently make small circles with your pelvis. After three circles you change direction. Repeat: 3 times.

The medical therapy

The medical therapy depends on the cause, so that first anamnesis and a detailed diagnosis (ultrasound, MRI, CT, X-ray) are carried out. After that, pain relief is the first thing on the treatment plan. Analgesics (painkillers) are administered for this purpose. Paracetamol may also be taken during pregnancy, but ASA is not. 

  • In the case of muscular tension, heat therapy is also prescribed. If you have ThermaCare at home, you can use the heat patch for it. The physiotherapist can loosen tense muscles or apply Kinesio Tapes.
  • Acupuncture can help with pinched nerves . The doctor can also write out a prescription for this.
  • A coccyx fracture may require surgery. The surgeon removes bone parts. The OP is relatively unproblematic. 

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