Symptoms of a Broken Tailbone
Paul Brannon | December 8, 2023 | Personal Injury
Your spine comprises a total of 24 vertebrae between your skull and your pelvis, but a remnant of human evolution is an additional nine vertebrae fused together below your pelvis. Five of these fuse to form the sacrum, a triangular bone that connects your spine to your pelvis.
The remaining four fuse to form a single, short, conical structure known as the coccyx, also called the tailbone, which sits below the sacrum in your buttocks. True to its name, it looks like a small tail, but — given the fused vertebrae that form it — the pieces cannot move independently.
The Physical Symptoms of a Broken Tailbone
The spine protects the spinal cord, and at each vertebra, a pair of spinal nerves branches into a nerve root. These nerve roots innervate symmetrical body regions. For example, a pair of nerve roots in your neck innervate your right and left shoulders.
The lowest nerve root pair exits the tailbone and — along with the associated coccygeal plexus — innervates the area around it. In other words, these nerves do not radiate into the legs and instead remain in the buttocks.
As such, should you break your tailbone, you will experience symptoms such as pain and bruises in the immediate area.
If the bone fragments press on the coccygeal plexus, you can also experience symptoms of a compressed nerve, which may include the following:
- Pain that worsens during bowel movements and while sitting
Doctors will rarely treat a broken tailbone with anything other than anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication. However, in the rare situations where the coccyx has shattered or dislocated, doctors may operate to remove it.
How the Tailbone Breaks
Given the location of the tailbone, it will typically fracture only from the force of a direct impact. Some situations in which that might occur are as follows:
If you fall backward, the resulting impact can fracture your tailbone. The risk is particularly high if you fall into a sitting position.
For example, in a slip and fall accident, your feet slip forward, but your body falls backward. If you bend at the waist, you will land on your buttocks and may fracture your tailbone. Likewise, you could also break your tailbone in a fall from a great height, such as from a ladder, as the impact of your buttocks on the ground could fracture your tailbone.
Car accidents are unlikely to cause a broken tailbone since your seat protects your tail area. But in a pedestrian accident, bicycle accident, or motorcycle accident, you are much more exposed to the risk of these types of injuries.
A car could hit your lower back and buttocks in a pedestrian accident. You could fall onto your bicycle frame after a car hits you in a bicycle accident, with the impact fracturing your coccyx, and falling onto the pavement after a crash could break your tailbone as well.
You could also suffer this injury when you get pushed backward. If a person assaults you and pushes you hard enough to make you fall backward, you could land on and break your coccyx.
Getting Personal Injury Compensation For a Broken Tailbone
A broken tailbone can cause considerable pain and may even cause you to miss work since you cannot sit comfortably. Fortunately, the law gives you a path for recovering compensation for the symptoms of a broken tailbone.
A broken tailbone caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions is grounds for legal action. To prove liability, you must show that the other person either intended to make harmful contact with you or that they failed to exercise reasonable care and injured you as a result. Once you do so, you can seek compensation for both your economic and non-economic losses.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547