Describe Tailbone Pain

How to “describe” TAILBONE PAIN (coccyx pain)

How to describe TAILBONE PAIN (coccyx pain)

by Dr. Foye…

IntroductionHow do you best describe your sore tailbone (coccyx) to your doctor? Being able to describe your symptoms to your physician can help the doctor to understand what is causing your tailbone pain and how to treat it. In my medical career as a physician who has treated at least hundreds of patients with tailbone pain, I commonly see patients who are unsure how to describe their tailbone pains. The steps below will ask you some questions that should help you to organize your descriptions of your tailbone symptoms.


Difficulty: Moderate


Step One

Location: First, your doctor will want to know where your pain is coming from. Notice which location seems most painful. If you can point with one finger to the most painful area, that will help the doctor to know whether the pain seems to be coming from the tailbone (coccyx) rather than coming from some other nearby locations.

Step Two

Severity: Try to rate the severity of your tailbone pain on a scale of zero to 10, with zero being no pain at all and 10 being the worst pain imaginable. Is the tailbone pain excruciating, or is it just a mild annoyance?

Step Three

Duration: How long have you been experiencing the tailbone pain? When did the tailbone pain first start? Be as specific as you can.

Step Four

Onset of pain: Did the tailbone pain start suddenly or did it start more gradually? What do you think might have caused it?

Step Five

Pain descriptors: What phrases would best describe the type of tailbone symptoms that you are having? Would you call it pain, soreness, discomfort, burning, stabbing, or aching?

Step Six

Is the tailbone pain constant, or does it come and go?

Step Seven

Exacerbating factors: What makes the tailbone pain worse? Is it worse with sitting? After you are sitting for a while, does the coccyx pain suddenly get worse when you first stand up? Is sitting worse on some chairs or surfaces than on others?

Step Eight

Relieving factors: Notice what makes the tailbone pain feel less. Does it feel better with over-the-counter pain medications? Does it feel better when you avoid certain activities?

Step Nine

See your physician: Have your doctor evaluate your symptoms and perform a careful physical examination that should specifically include checking to see if the pain is really coming from the tailbone are not. The doctor may also want to order some tests.

Step Ten

If your doctor is not experienced at evaluating tailbone pain or is not aware of non-surgical treatments to offer you, seek a second opinion from a physician with more expertise in this area.

Overall Tips & Warnings

  • For more information on Tailbone pain, please see TailboneDoctor’s other articles on eHow, or go to
  • WARNING: This information is intended to be educational and is NOT to be considered as medical advice. This information is NOT a substitute for direct medical care from a physician who evaluates you in person.
  • WARNING: coccyx pain can sometimes be due to very serious underlying medical conditions, so it is important to seek in-person evaluation by a medical professional.
  • WARNING: Many physicians and other health providers have little or no experience in evaluating or treating tailbone pain or coccyx injuries. If you are not satisfied with the first physician you see, then seek medical attention from a specialist with experience in treating tailbone pain.

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Dr. Foye’s Listing on Spine Universe

Information on Tailbone Pain (Coccyx Pain) Relief

eMedicine article on Tailbone Pain (Coccyx Pain)

Testimonials from Patients with Tailbone Pain (Coccyx Pain)

Dr. Foye’s Faculty Profile at New Jersey Medical School

Tailbone Pain (Coccyx Pain) images on Flickr

Dr. Foye’s “How to” articles on Tailbone Pain:


How to tell if you have a BROKEN TAILBONE (FRACTURED COCCYX)

How to tell if you have TAILBONE PAIN (COCCYX PAIN)


How to Pick a COCCYX CUSHION (TAILBONE CUSHION) for Coccyx Pain (Tailbone Pain)

How to know if your MRI included the TAILBONE (COCCYX MRI)



How to Decide about Tailbone Removal (Coccyx Removal Surgery, Coccygectomy) for Tailbone Pain


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 Patrick Foye, M.D.,
Director of the Coccyx Pain Center,
PM&R at Rutgers
New Jersey Medical School,
90 Bergen St,
DOC Suite 3100,
Newark, New Jersey,
USA, 07103For an appointment, call:

 Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013.
Patrick Foye, M.D.


This web site is for
general informational purposes only.The information should not be
considered as medical advice.The information is not a substitute for appropriate in-person care
by a physician
with expertise in evaluating
and treating tailbone pain.This website
is not meant to represent
official views
of any university,
medical school,
hospital, etc.


Effective July 2013:
New Jersey Medical School is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.