What is sacral fracture?

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Sacral fracture: Overview

A sacral fracture occurs when a bone called the sacrum breaks. The sacrum is a large triangular bone at the bottom of the spine. It fits like a wedge between the two hipbones. The sacrum is made up of the sacral vertebrae, which are fused together.

Sometimes the coccyx, or tailbone, is fractured along with the sacrum. The tailbone is the small bone at the bottom of the spine. It is attached to the sacral bone above it.

In some cases, an injury to the sacrum can affect the nerves that control the bladder, bowel, or legs.

Home treatment may be all that is needed for some sacral fractures. If a fracture is severe or affects nerves, you may need surgery.

You heal best when you take good care of yourself. Eat a variety of healthy foods, and don't smoke.

How can you care for a sacral fracture?

  • Follow your doctor's instructions for bed rest and activity.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the painful area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake). Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin or brace.
  • Do not sit on hard, unpadded surfaces. Sit on a doughnut-shaped pillow to take pressure off the tailbone area.
  • Put only as much weight on each leg as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor may advise you to use crutches, a walker, or a cane to help you walk.
  • Avoid constipation, because straining to have a bowel movement will increase your pain.
    • Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fiber.
    • Drink plenty of fluids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase your fluid intake.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.