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Health A-Z

Coccyx: Bruised and uncomfortable

I have a bruised coccyx, which gives me considerable discomfort when sitting. I had a cortisone injection and manipulation under anaesthetic six months ago. This gave me a pain-free three-four months, but my consultant cautioned me about repeating it soon. How can I manage or cure the condition? I use a seat pad with a "V" cut-out, but getting up from the seated position is painful.

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

The coccyx is the small string of bones at the end of the vertebral column, hidden beneath the divide between the buttocks. It's fairly well protected, but it can be bruised or broken by a fall. It is notorious for causing pain that's hard to treat. Your pain has become a chronic problem. Steroid injections are often very helpful. It allowed you to be pain-free for several months, so I think you should discuss a further injection with the consultant. The pad is a good idea. Try a topical anti-inflammatory cream, such as diclofenac or ibuprofen. The final solution is said to be surgery to remove the coccyx, but I have never met a patient who required this.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.