Coccygodynia: etiology, pathogenesis, clinical characteristics, diagnosis and therapy

Lijecnicki vjesnik

2012 Jan-Feb; 134(1-2): 49-55.

Grgic' V.

vjekoslav.grgic@zg.t-com.hr

[Article in Croatian]

Abstract

The term 'coccygodynia' means the pain in the tailbone area (os coccygis; coccyx). Due to the sitting intolerance, coccygodynia can significantly disturb the quality of life. Coccygeal disorders that could be manifested in coccygodynia are injuries (fracture, subluxation, luxation), abnormal mobility (hypermobility, anterior and posterior subluxation or luxation of the coccyx), disc degeneration at sacrococcygeal (SC) and intercoccygeal (IC) segments, coccygeal spicule (bony excrescence), osteomyelitis and tumors.

Abnormal mobility of coccyx, which can be seen on dynamic radiograph (lateral X-rays of the coccyx in the standing and sitting position), is the most common pathological finding in patients with coccygodynia (70% of patients). It can be a result of an injury and chronic static and dynamic overload of the coccyx (obesity, prolonged sitting, bicycling, rowing, riding etc).

Coccygeal origin of the pain can be confirmed by injections of the local anesthetic in the structures that can be a source of the pain (SC disc, first IC disc, Walther's ganglion, muscle attachments around the top of the coccyx etc). Extracoccygeal disorders that can be manifested by coccygodynia are: pilonidal cyst, perianal abscess, hemorrhoids, and diseases of pelvic organs as well as disorders of lumbosacral spine, sacroiliac joints, piriformis muscle and sacrum. In 30% of patients with coccygodynia, the cause of pain cannot be found (idiopathic coccygodynia).

Therapy for coccygodynia can be conservative and surgical (partial or total coccygectomy). Conservative therapy includes: rest, medicamentous therapy, acupuncture, coccyx cushion, physical therapy, manual therapy (massage and stretching of the levator ani muscle; mobilization of the coccyx) and therapeutic interventions (injections of local anesthetic and corticosteroid in the painful structures; radiofrequency ablation of coccygeal discs and Walther's ganglion). Using different modalities of conservative therapy, satisfactory results are achieved in the majority of patients with coccygodynia. Coccygectomy is indicated in refractory cases, first of all in patients with abnormal mobility of the coccyx and spicules who respond best to surgical treatment.

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