Causes of Back Pain Down by the Tailbone

Back pain is a common and pervasive problem for many Americans. The American Chiropractic Association says that back pain is the second most common reason for a visit to the doctor. Pain can extend from the lumbar spine to the pelvis and into the tailbone.

Back pain in the tailbone region can be severe.

Below the lumbar spine are two additional sections of bone. The first is called the sacrum, and the tiny tailbone section known as the coccyx. Pain in this very specific region is called coccydynia and different things can cause it. Pain in this area can be severe and commonly increases when moving from a sitting to standing position.

SI Joint

The sacroiliac (SI) joint is located at the very bottom of your back on either side of your pelvis. It is the junction between the small, triangular-shaped bone called the sacrum and the pelvis. According to the Sports Injury, this joint allows for motion between the pelvis and spine when we walk, for example.

The sacroiliac joints are covered by strong ligaments and muscles and it is possible to have different sprains or strains in the region. Many people who sit too long will develop painful symptoms and experience SI joint dysfunction, which is very common in our sedentary society today. Treatment involves restoring proper motion to the joint, stretching short, tight muscles and strengthening weak ones in an effort to balance and improve function.


According to the National Institutes of Health, it is rare to break your tailbone; however, a slip on the ice or some other type of fall where you land directly onto your buttocks can fracture a pelvic bone, a vertebra, the sacrum or the coccyx. After an injury that produces pain in this region, it is appropriate to have a doctor examine you.


It is possible to develop a tumor in the spine that can cause pain or numbness and tingling. One particular tumor that is rare, but usually develops in the sacrum or coccyx, is a chordoma. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a chordoma is a slow-growing, malignant and life-threatening tumor.

Muscle Spasm

Muscles that become overstressed through poor posture or injury have a tendency to spasm. A spasm is a contraction that is involuntary and can cause pain. A spasm puts stress on the joints and surrounding soft tissues, exacerbating the problem. There are many muscles that cross sacroiliac joint, the lumbar spine, the sacrum and the coccyx, any of which can cause pain in the region when overstressed.


The small tailbone, known as the coccyx, has a joint where it meets the sacrum. It is possible for dysfunction to occur in this joint and for the coccyx to be pushed forward of its normal position. This can result in pain and muscle spasms.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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