General Question

Carly's avatar

Is it possible to severely hurt your tail bone from falling down?

Asked by Carly (4515 points ) April 25th, 2011

I fell off my long board and landed on my butt really hard. This happened over a week ago and most of my body has recuperated from the fall except for (it feels like) my tail bone. I’m having a really hard time sitting in certain positions as well as standing up from being seated.

Is it possible that I’m just a little extra sore there, or could it be more serious than that?

(I don’t really have access to a hospital/medical care unless it’s truly an emergency)

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23 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Yes, it is a bone and it can break. My mother broke her tail bone and had to sit on an inflatable tube for 2 months. It did heal fine.

syz's avatar

It is possible to have a break, but time is the only treatment.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Yes, as @hawaii_jake said, it’s possible to have a break. The only way to really know is to get an xray.

cockswain's avatar

Absolutely. I did it on an icy jump on my snowboard really bad once. Landed right on it from about 10 feet up. It REALLY hurt to go from sitting to standing.

jonsblond's avatar

Have you not watched Jackass? It’s possible. Hope you feel better soon!

Carly's avatar

@hawaii_jake and @syz I laugh a little only trying to imagine if anyone has ever had to have it “set”

I can’t imagine it would be easy, if possible.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Get it checked at a clinic or hospital. Most fractured tailbones are not life threatening, despite how painful they are. But if it caused a CSF leak it can REALLY ruin your life if untreated.

casheroo's avatar

I broke my tailbone during the birth of my first son. I actually didn’t use an inflatable donut, I found a large foam piece was better and didn’t put unnecessary pressure on it.
But yep, you can break it.

asmonet's avatar

@Carly: I was told once my aunt broke her tailbone and it had to be moved back into place. Finger up the butt. I mean, yeah it’s pretty much what you would imagine. o.0

You can absolutely break it, see a doctor. You don’t want permanent damage for something as stupid as breaking your ass. :)

rooeytoo's avatar

I broke mine years ago and I still cannot sit comfortably on anything hard like the floor. It was difficult to sit period for literally months afterward.

I hate going to the doctor so I didn’t and I am still here but I sure could have used some pain killers!

BarnacleBill's avatar

I once fell off a horse and landed sitting down, breaking my tailbone. Was fine for about 3 days, and then in total agony for about two months.

My sympathies. Hurts like heck. You should get an x-ray to make sure nothing more serious has happened with respect to your spine.

jca's avatar

That’s called your coccyx and I broke mine a long time ago by falling on the steps and I just stood there for about five minutes and did not move because I really felt like crying. I went to the doctor who told me I broke it and there’s nothing they can do for it (because it’s buried in your body). He gave me codeine which I took only one time because it made me constipated. It hurt for about at least a month, every time I would stand up, roll over in bed, etc. It was one of the worst pains I’ve ever experienced (and I have delivered a baby!).

geeky_mama's avatar

@casheroo – me too! Broke it delivering my 10lb first baby..
I used the Boppy pillow that was intended for the baby for ME to sit on.

Carly, what you’re describing sounds exactly like a broken tail bone. Painful to go from sitting to standing up, uncomfortable sitting in some positions. If it’s been a week and you’re just feeling the pain but it’s getting no worse then you can probably save yourself the expense of a doctor visit. There really isn’t anything they can do at this point—it’ll heal..but it will hurt for several weeks. I think it was nearly 10 to 12 weeks before I didn’t feel it every time I got up or sat down.
Ibuprofen might help—not only will it take the edge off the pain it has anti-inflammatory properties which might help if the injured area has (internal or otherwise) swelling.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Everyone went straight to breaking the tailbone, which.. YOW. And @asmonet – hoy cow, no thanks!!

I just want to mention that it’s possible to bruise your tailbone, as well. I am very, very padded in the most useless of places (my middle) and not padded at all on the bony parts that would be very handy to have padded (elbows, knees, tailbone).

I’ve bruised mine not once… not twice.. but three times in my life. I fell backwards off my bike while popping wheelies and landed on the sidewalk, I fell backwards out of a shopping cart while goofing around, and I can’t even remember what happened the third time because I think I was just over it by then.

In any case, it takes a reeeeeally long, uncomfortable time to heal. If you’re in school right now, I feel your pain big time—those plastic and wood desk chairs are no help at all. I know it’s super embarrassing and dorky, but you will probably be really happy if you get one of those donut pillows and carry it around with you. You can explain to people that you don’t have hemorrhoids, if you like. ;)

Anyway, I hope it’s bruising over broken!

asmonet's avatar

I’m surprised people are suggesting not going to a doctor. Yes, it’s possible that it is only bruised, but only going to a doctor can confirm that.

Complications and long term damager can be the result of neglecting a break, however small.

Get to a god damn doctor, a potential break is worth the effort.

geeky_mama's avatar

@asmonet—When I broke my tailbone I was told by not one, but three different doctors it was useless to see a doctor for a broken tailbone because there is nothing to do for it. That coupled with the fact the OP said she didn’t have access to a medical care unless it’s an emergency made me suggest not seeing a doctor for her tailbone.
If it were another part of her body that was potentially broken my advice would be radically different..but broken, bruised or whatever tailbone…nothing heals that but time. There isn’t anything a doctor can DO for it.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@geeky_mama There are other things that could be wrong besides a broken tailbone though and the only way to know is to have a doctor check. There may not be treatment for the problem, but it’s always best to know what’s going on.

geeky_mama's avatar

@Seaofclouds ..normally I’d agree with you – especially on the point of “best to know what’s going on”....but in this case, I respectfully disagree.

It’s over a week since she fell and she can only get medical care if it’s an emergency. It’s not an emergency in my humble opinion.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@geeky_mama I can accept that you disagree (and respect that), but actually the fact that she has continued pain a week after the injury when all of her other pains from that fall have went away proves that something more is going on in that area. It may not be an emergency worthy of a visit to the emergency room, but it’s worthy of a doctor’s visit regardless. So, while she may not need to be seen on an emergent basis, she still needs medical care. Access to it is another issue and one she needs to weigh her options on. There are many clinics in many areas that help people with no insurance.

As a nurse that has done lots of triaging patients over the phone, if this was a patient calling in to ask if she needed to be seen, the answer would be yes because there’s no way to tell what’s going on or how serious it really is without being checked.

jca's avatar

I broke mine on Memorial Day weekend (about 15 years ago) and I did not go to the doctor (non-emergency) for about a week. Doctor told me there is nothing he can do for it, except prescribe codeine (as I put in my post above). Yes, she has had pain for a week but she will have pain for at least a month with broken or bruised tailbone, so it’s not a surprise she still has pain.

casheroo's avatar

I think people say not to go to the doctor because usually there is nothing to be done for it. Heck, I didn’t even have an xray done, they just knew I had broken it from my symptoms…I did have an xray done eventually (on my hip but they did see my tail bone and mentioned the break..) I think a doctor will listen to the symptoms and tell you it’s either broken or bruised.

BarnacleBill's avatar

It may be useless to see a doctor, in terms that they cannot “set” your tailbone. However, a fall can also do damage to your lower vertebrae. And a doctor will prescribe pain medication.

jca's avatar

If only ER is available to the OP, and she goes to the ER and tells them she did this weeks ago, she will be sitting there 10 hours while the triage puts everyone else in front of her, as obviously it’s not really an emergency.

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