The tailbone is a tiny bone at the base of the sacrum. According to studies, the possibility of tailbone pain is five times more in women than in men. Maybe it is because the female pelvis is broader and most coccyx injuries occur in women. Tail bone pain after is quite common.
Read on to know how to deal with tailbone pain after C-section.
What And Where Is The Tailbone?
The tail bone is commonly known as the coccyx. Here comes a surprising fact. According to Britannica, we all are born with a tail! Also, this tail is supported by several vertebras!
However, this tail disappears around 8 weeks of gestation. Eventually, three to five rudimentary vertebrae that supported the tail fuse to form the coccyx or tailbone. Thus, the coccyx is a part of this rudimentary tail, hence the name tail bone.
It lies underneath the bone structure at the bottom of your spine called the sacrum. Several tendons, muscles, and ligaments connect to it.
The tailbone is important while sitting as it helps form a tripod support system with the Ischia tuberosities (a pair of the sitting bones at the bottom of the pelvis).
This tripod support system helps distribute weight while sitting. It creates both balance and stability in the region
Is It Normal For Your Tailbone To Hurt After Pregnancy?
Tailbone pain is one of the most common pains experienced by expecting mothers. Also common in new mothers.
Once a pregnant woman enters the final trimester, the pregnancy hormones loosen almost all ligaments in the pelvic area. As a result, the area between the sacrum and the coccyx also loosen.
This process is very important during pregnancy, as it helps the coccyx to move, thereby facilitating the vaginal delivery. However, loosening of this area ends up in overstretching the muscles and ligaments around the coccyx.
Such stretching can cause pain as it keeps the soft tissues from supporting the coccyx at the correct angle. Also, the location of the coccyx increases the risk of injuries during delivery- both vaginal and C-section.
What Does Tailbone Pain Feel Like?
Tail bone pain occurs in or around the coccyx. Women might feel a persisting dull ache around their tail bone. However, the pain heightens during some activities. Tailbone pain can last for weeks, months, or even longer
Women feel excruciating pain when they make the change from a seated to a standing position. As long as she stands or walks, there will be no pain.
However, the process of sitting from a standing position causes excruciating pain.
Often, tailbone pain can be experienced while sneezing and coughing. It also kicks in even when a woman lays on her back for some time.
Prolonged standing can also cause tailbone pain.
What Causes Tailbone Pain After Vaginal Delivery?
During a vaginal delivery, the ligaments and muscles of the pelvic area should be stretched to permit the baby to move out through the birth canal. However, overstretching, or uneven stretching can cause tailbone pain after vaginal delivery.
During a vaginal delivery, the baby might move very swiftly through the birth canal. Or else, the baby might move at the wrong angle. Both these conditions can potentially exert pressure on the tail bone.
This pressure can fracture or bruise the tailbone. This can bring about excruciating tailbone pain after delivery.
In this case, the pain can take months to subside.
Tailbone pain is more likely to happen with assisted vaginal delivery employing forceps.
What Are The Signs Of Tailbone Pain?
The signs of sore tail bone include:
- Sharp and intense pain in the tailbone
- Swelling in the bottom of the spine
- Extreme pain when changing from sitting to standing position
- Pain during sex
- Intensifying pain in the coccyx when sitting continuously for quite some time
- Pain during defecation
What Causes Tailbone Pain After C Section?
As already mentioned, any injury or excess pressure that makes the bones in the lower pelvic region to move beyond their normal range of motion can cause tailbone pain.
Tailbone pain after c section and tailbone pain after epidural are common.
The use of an epidural has been linked to tail bone pain after both vaginal deliveries and C-sections. During both deliveries, the body will be under lots of strain and pressure. Nevertheless, after administrating epidural mothers will not recognize pain.
The pain during delivery helps to find out and change to a favorable position by distinguishing the stressed positions. Epidural masks these natural protective reflexes of the body. This increases the chances of tailbone injuries.
Without this reflex, any step in C-section can end up in tailbone injury which may not be necessarily recognized at once. This causes tail bone pain after C-section.
When To See A Doctor For Tailbone Pain After A C-Section?
Although tail pain after a C-section is common, it is not wise to ignore severe pain. Any pain that makes it difficult to sleep or move around or hold the baby requires medical attention.
The doctor will diagnose the real reason behind the pain and will initiate treatments. Depending on the severity, the doctor may prescribe strong painkillers that will not interfere with breastfeeding.
The doctor might also provide you a service of a physical therapist to strengthen the abdominal or back muscles and relieve pain.
7 Ways To Deal With Tailbone Pain After C Section
The recovery time after a C-section, whether by choice or medical recommendation is always more. The likelihood of experiencing back pain is also more.
Seeing a doctor is recommended if the pain does not subside after a few months or interferes with your daily life.
However, there are several ways to deal with tail bone pain after C-section, such as-
1. To deal with tailbone pain after delivery, maintain good posture
To lessen the tailbone pain, always sleep on a firm mattress rather than a soft one. Lie on your belly, rather than your back. Keeping a pillow between your knees will help to relieve the tail bone pain while sleeping.
Try to sit on a doughnut cushion. Doughnut cushions are an excellent buy for those who are suffering from tailbone pain.
This cushion has a hole in the center. This prevents the tailbone from touching the flat/hard surface.
If you are not able to get a doughnut cushion, avoid sitting on hard surfaces. Even if you are sitting on a well-cushioned surface, abstain from continuously sitting for a long time.
Switching the sides of the buttocks frequently also helps.
Also, lean forward while sitting or moving to a sitting or standing position. This will help to shift your weight away from the tailbone. Avoid any activities that put extra pressure on the tailbone, like cycling.
2. Physical therapy
Physical therapy is highly beneficial in dealing with tailbone pain after C-section.
A physical therapist guides you through reverse Kegels- a technique that completely relaxes pelvis floor muscles.
This will help to soothe the sore tailbone while urinating or defecating. A physical therapist also puts you through exercises that strengthen the muscles that support the tailbone.
Your doctor might also prescribe stool softeners.
This reduces the risk of constipation. A sore tailbone hurts in case of difficulty in passing motion. Stool softeners make the bowel movement more comfortable.
Depending on the severity of the pain, the doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections. This helps to relieve pain for a few weeks.
4. Compresses for tailbone pain after delivery
Compresses are an excellent home remedy for tailbone pain. Apply warm or cold compresses in the tail bone area when the pain becomes unbearable. Do it continuously for up to 15 minutes.
This will provide temporary relief to tail bone pain. Doing the same four times a day will help to deal with tailbone pain after to a certain extent.
Taking a hot shower, a hot tub bath, etc also helps to relieve tail bone pain temporarily.
For warm compresses, you can rely on hot water bottles and microwaveable heating pads.
For cold compress, you can purchase freezable gel-filled pads from the near pharmacy. Alternatively, a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel can do the job.
Manipulation is a way of massaging the muscles attached to the tailbone. It is typically done through the rectum.
During manipulation, the therapist puts a gloved finger into the rectum. He gently massages or stretches the muscles attached to the coccyx.
If the tailbone pain is due to the fact that coccyx moved from its normal position, the therapists slowly and gently pulls the coccyx, back to its normal position.
There is no instantaneous cure for tailbone pain. The result of all treatments for tailbone pain after delivery takes some time. In the meantime, some exercises and stretches can help to relieve the pressure that brings about tailbone pain.
Various yoga poses and stretching exercises are excellent for stretching out the muscles and ligaments connected to the tailbone.
Cat-Cow yoga posture helps to increase spine mobility and gently strengthen the lower back and pelvis and takes the pressure off your tailbone.
The bridge is another yoga posture that helps to relieve lower back aches and tailbone pain.
Single-leg knee hug is another stretching exercise that helps to relieve tailbone pain.
However, before opting for a stretching method, it is always wise to consult appropriately trained healthcare practitioners like a physical therapist or chiropractor.
They can guide you through appropriate stretches for relieving coccyx pain.
7. TENS unit
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is a battery-operated apparatus that is used to treat pain. Adhesive pads that have electrodes are stuck in the region of pain.
Electrical impulses, the frequency, intensity, and duration of which can be controlled are sent through electrodes. Depending on the intensity of pain, either high-frequency stimulation is applied for short periods, or low-frequency stimulation is applied for a longer duration.
These electric stimulations interfere with the transmission of pain signals from the tailbone to the spinal cord and brain. Thus, the pain is considerably reduced. This device is an excellent alternative for patients who wish to keep their intake of pain killers to a minimum.
Tailbone pain after delivery is relatively a temporary pain and should ideally subside a few months postpartum. Reach out to your doctor if you feel the pain is interfering in your day to day life. Also consult him if it seems to stay put inspite of trying things to reduce the same.