Summer is a time when many people love to enjoy the beach. However, when you are done having your fun in the sun, you want to be sure your spine is still healthy. You may be surprised to find out that it is possible to fracture your tailbone in the ocean. Here are a few things you need to know.
Lower Spine Anatomy
The bottom 8-10 bones in the spine are called the sacrum and coccyx. The sacrum is positioned just below the lumbar vertebrae that are located in the lower back. While the sacrum is noted as bones S1-S5 in the spine for medical purposes, by the time you hit early adulthood, they have fused into just one structure (usually by age 30 at the latest).
At the very bottom of the sacrum is the coccyx (commonly called the tailbone). Again, the coccyx is usually between three and five smaller vertebrae (designated C1-C5) that fuse together. This is part of the spine that we are discussing today.
Tailbone Fractures and Displacement
While tailbone fractures are fairly uncommon, they can clearly be seen on an x-ray. Obviously, symptoms will be the worst if the tailbone is actually broken. More often, the bone becomes displaced, or a hairline fracture occurs (meaning there is a crack in the bone, but it has not separated into pieces).
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a tailbone fracture or displacement:
- A constant dull ache or pain just above the buttocks in the extreme lower back
- Pain that worsens when seated, along with a spike in pain when standing up after being seated
- There can be inflammation in the tailbone area
- You may have changes in your bowel habits
- Numbness or tingling may occur in one leg – this could be due to compression of the sciatic nerve
- Tailbone pain often grows worse during sexual intercourse
How Does a Fractured Tailbone Happen?
The most common cause of tailbone injuries is trauma. This is why we mention the ocean. For example, if a wave suddenly knocks you over and your tailbone hits the ocean floor, it may lead to a fracture. Again, an x-ray is needed to diagnose this injury. So if you are experiencing the symptoms noted above following a tailbone trauma, please schedule a consultation with a chiropractor for diagnosis and treatment.
Fractured Tailbone Care in Fairfax, Virginia
At Ward Chiropractic & Rehabilitation, we have experience dealing with this type of injury. Call 703.672.1661 today, or you can request your appointment online.