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What Are the Symptoms of a Bruised Tailbone?

by
author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
What Are the Symptoms of a Bruised Tailbone?
Man holding his lower back in pain. Photo Credit ChesiireCat/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Your tailbone, which is also referred to as the coccyx, is a portion of your spine that consists of the final three to five vertebrae at the base of your spinal column. A bruised tailbone occurs when this region of the body is damaged and can be caused by falling backward or by vaginal childbirth. See your doctor if you have symptoms of a bruised tailbone -- you may have a fracture or other underlying medical condition that needs further attention.

Bruising

As the name of this medical condition implies, bruising is a primary symptom associated with a bruised tailbone. A bruise develops when the tissue beneath the surface of the skin is damaged and the top layer of skin remains intact (uncut or unbroken). You can notice that the skin near the base of your spine appears discolored and can initially become a dark red or purple color. As your bruised tailbone heals, the skin near the site of injury can temporarily change color to become blue, green or yellow, until it heals completely.

Pain

When you injure your tailbone, one of the first symptoms you can experience is pain within the lower portion of your back. Pain due to a tailbone injury can be persistent, making it difficult for you to sit or stand normally. Painful tailbone symptoms are typically localized to the site of injury but can extend across your lower back or up your spinal column. You may also experience difficulty walking after a tailbone injury, which can interfere with your ability to complete your normal daily activities.

Swelling

Tissue injury due to a bruised tailbone can cause mild to moderate swelling at the base of your spine. You can notice that the skin at the site of injury appears puffy or enlarged. Swelling caused by a bruised tailbone can contribute to movement difficulties and typically occurs in conjunction with symptoms of pain, tenderness or bruising.

Constipation

A bruised tailbone can cause inflammation to develop within your lower back, which can extend into your intestinal tract. If this occurs, you may experience constipation as a symptom of a bruised tailbone. Constipation is a condition in which the normal production of a stool becomes painful, difficult or impossible. Additional symptoms associated with constipation can include abdominal pain, bloating or cramping.

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