Causes and mechanisms of common coccydynia: role of body mass index and coccygeal trauma

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2000 Dec 1;25(23):3072-9. doi: 10.1097/00007632-200012010-00015.


Study design: A total of 208 consecutive coccydynia patients were examined with the same clinical and radiologic protocol.

Objectives: To study radiographic coccygeal lesions in the sitting position, to elucidate the influence of body mass index on the different lesions, and to establish the effect of coccygeal trauma.

Summary of background data: A protocol comparing standing radiographs and radiographs subsequently taken in the painful sitting position in coccydynia patients and in controls has shown two culprit lesions: posterior luxation and hypermobility. Obesity and a history of trauma have been identified as risk factors for luxation.

Methods: Dynamic radiographs were obtained. The body mass index was compared with the coccygeal angle of incidence, sagittal rotation of the pelvis when sitting down, and the presence and time of previous trauma. The patients with the newly described lesions were examined after an anesthetic block under fluoroscopic guidance.

Results: Two new coccygeal lesions are described (anterior luxation and spicules). Obesity was found to be a risk factor. The body mass index determines the way a subject sits down, and lesion patterns were different in obese, normal-weight, and thin patients (posterior luxation: 51%, 15.2%, 3.7%; hypermobility: 26.5%, 30.3%, 14.8%; spicules: 2%, 15.9%, 29.6%; normal: 16.3%, 32.6%, 48.1%, respectively; P < 0.0001). Trauma affected the type of lesion only if it was recent (<1 month before the onset of coccydynia), in which case the instability rate increased from 55.6% to 77.1%. Backward-moving coccyges were at greatest risk of trauma.

Conclusions: This protocol allows identification of the culprit lesion in 69.2% of cases. The body mass index determines the causative lesion, as does trauma sustained within the month preceding the onset of the pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Coccyx / diagnostic imaging
  • Coccyx / injuries*
  • Coccyx / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / complications
  • Joint Dislocations / diagnostic imaging*
  • Joint Instability / complications
  • Joint Instability / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Posture
  • Radiography
  • Risk Factors
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Diseases / etiology
  • Spinal Diseases / physiopathology