Tailbone Pain


Tailbone Pain: How to Care for Your Child

Tailbone Pain

Tailbone pain can happen for different reasons. It's usually worse when there is pressure on the area, and often goes away with time and basic home care.

Care Instructions

  • Give your child any prescribed medicine as directed.
  • If your child is uncomfortable, you can give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol® or a store brand) OR ibuprofen (such as Advil®, Motrin® or a store brand), if recommended by your health care provider.       
  • Apply a warm or cold compress to the tailbone area. Put a towel or cloth between an ice pack and the skin.
  • To make sitting more comfortable, your child can:
    • Lean forward when sitting.
    • Sit on a donut or wedge-shaped cushion that has a cutout around the tailbone area.
    • Lean to the side so that the weight is on one buttock. Your child should switch sides often.
    • Avoid soft couches and chairs. The position of the tailbone on these surfaces can cause pain.
  • Schedule any follow-up appointments as directed.
  • If the pain continues, your health care provider may refer your child to a physical therapist or an orthopedic doctor (bone specialist).

Call Your Healthcare Provider if...

Your child has:

  • pain that does not get better after following the care instructions or pain that gets worse
  • pain that causes waking at night
  • new or increased pain during bowel movements
  • blood in the poop
  • new pain in other areas of the body
  • other new symptoms, like weight loss or night sweats

Go to the ER if...

Your child has:

  • severe pain
  • redness, warmth or swelling over the tailbone
  • numbness or tingling in the legs or feet 
  • trouble walking

More to Know

What is the coccyx? The tailbone, also called the coccyx (KAHK-six), is a bone at the bottom of the spine that is made of several smaller bones joined together. It helps with balance, lifting and standing.

What causes tailbone pain? Tailbone pain is common after an injury to the coccyx. This might happen after a fall backward or from repeatedly sitting on something hard or narrow (like a wooden bench), especially while leaning back or slouching. Coccyx pain is usually worse when sitting or when standing up from sitting. It may also be worse during bowel movements (pooping).

How long will the pain last? Coccyx pain usually goes away on its own, but sometimes this can take up to a few months.