By Dr. Scott Rosenthal
It’s easy to take the simple things such as sitting, walking, and standing for granted when you’re pain-free. What if I told you that your quality of life hinges on a tiny joint low in your tailbone region? Well, it does. And things can go wrong from causes less injurious than a direct fall on the ‘ole keister. All you need to do is sit awkwardly or too long on a hard surface or land too quickly with a thump. The little joint I’m referring to attaches your upper tailbone (known as the sacrum) to the little section at the end, called the coccyx.
Your coccyx is comprised of four (sometimes three or five) small bones that form the shape of an upside-down triangle. Although these little vertebrae fuse over time, the joint between the coccyx and the sacrum remains moveable. With all of the repetitive stresses and periodic traumatic forces exerted on your coccyx every day, functional problems and misalignment can easily occur.
In my experience as a chiropractor, the coccyx is by far one of the most frequently missed causes of pain in the rear end—especially pain that has not resolved after medical treatment or physical therapy. Chiropractors often miss it as well, as it has not been included in much of the common chiropractic analysis. The coccyx typically hurts more in the sitting position and may cause other problems. After gently correcting its position, patients often report immediate relief, even if the pain has existed for months on end.
You may be wondering how exactly chiropractic adjustments to the coccyx are applied and, specifically, if they are painful or require latex gloves. The good news is “no” and the better news is “NO!” The one exception: if there is substantial misalignment from trauma (such as a hard fall), an internal adjustment may be necessary. In that case, the patient classically presents in severe pain and can’t even sit down. I have found that an internal adjustment is necessary in less than one percent of the cases. Most who have this injury tend to run to the emergency room first—a smart move because it is possible that the coccyx can dislocate completely from the sacrum.
How is the coccyx realigned? I place the tip of an instrument over the person’s clothing and gently realign it. The instrument gently pulses like a tiny jackhammer and feels more like a vibration. Many patients give out a sigh of relief as the pressure of the misalignment is relieved. The whole procedure (referred to as an “adjustment”) takes less than a minute.
Like the bones of the spine, the position of the coccyx can and often interferes with the function of the nervous system. The correction may result in one of many pleasantly unexpected surprises. For example, many comment that they experience significant improvement with hemorrhoids. I have even had parents see their children’s bed-wetting issues resolved. Patients with unusual cramping in their pelvis or anal region have also benefitted. Coccyx issues may even be the underlying cause of pain during sexual intercourse.
Out of all of the cases that I have treated, many people had one consistent finding in their medical histories: they had been to several doctors, received expensive tests, and all found “nothing wrong!” The medications provided temporary relief, but no long-term solution. Desperation and frustration followed.
By using a specialized chiropractic analysis, I am able to find and correct coccyx misalignments quickly and almost always without needing an X-ray. No addictive drugs or pricey MRIs or CAT scans are required. The procedure takes little time and is fairly comfortable. If you or a loved one have been suffering, help may be just a few gentle chiropractic adjustments away. Your health may be hinging on it!