Drugs not working

Lucy, UK

Posted 2015-03-22

My problems started last year 6th April 2014. I was completing a Tough Mudder assault course with a friend for charity. I had to go down a muddy bank into the river and the only way to get down safely was to slide on my bum. Half way down the bank at a good speed I slid right into a small broken tree stump that was just sticking out just above the mud. The pain was instant but adrenalin had kicked in so I carried on regardless. The journey home was when I really thought I could have possibly done some damage as I couldn't sit properly. Two days after the injury I visited the GP who told me that it is likely to be fractured and the hospital will be reluctant to X-ray as there is so little they can do with a fractured coccyx. With this information I just took some more painkillers and got on with it.

The next few weeks were pretty tough, unable to sit or stand without screeching out in pain but it did improve slightly over the next few months but was still causing me pain. The pain continued but I kept thinking it will get better over time, but it did the opposite and got worse. I finally went back to the GP in January was sent for an x-ray to check for a fracture, the x-rays showed no fracture and I carried on as I was. It took me 4 weeks to get another appointment with the doctor by this point the pain was as bad as when I first injured it.

Sitting down for any length of time hurts but trying to get through a meeting at work or a 30 minute drive leaves me in agony. My main area of pain is when I go from seating to standing, I put of standing up or try inventive ways to get off my chair, all still cause me pain.

Where I am now:

I'm at the point where the thought of living like this for much longer makes me want to cry. I can't do simple things like sitting down and I love sitting down, a recent cinema trip was just me thinking about how much my bum hurts and a trip to my favourite restaurant for valentine's day was ruined by the pain. I also think my boyfriend, friends and family are getting sick of me moaning about it, even though I try not to keep bleating on about it.

I'm going to the physio and other things she has recommended but reading through everyone's stories on here I don't hold out too much hope.

Update, 2018-07-15

Since I last wrote a lot has happened.

In January 2015 I had an XRAY done on the NHS, the outcome of this was "normal", no further treatment recommended. I could not accept this as the pain I was living with was not "normal". I paid to see Dr Durtnall at Sayers Clinic London (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London). I had standing X-rays there and it showed an that my coccyx was not normal and was inverted in, I also had significant pelvis differences and one leg was over an inch shorter due to this. I had treatment with Dr Durtnall for around 7 sessions, this included some internal manipulation. I'm sorry to say that it never helped my coccyx and I spent a lot of money to find this out.

I managed to see an NHS physio therapist who was wonderful, she mainly worked on realigning my pelvis. I had ultrasound therapy and she planned to do some acupuncture too, however, the physio managed to track down my initial X-ray that was "normal" and it turns out that it wasn't in any way. The bottom piece of the coccyx was clearly bent inwards and looked broken, thankfully the physio was on the ball and acknowledged that I needed to see the Orthopaedic team and referred me.

During this time I was also tried on different nerve suppressors such as nortriptyline and gabapentin, both made me feel awful and tired and did not help the pain.

Later that year I had an appointment with the Orthopaedic team who referred me for internal manipulation and steroid injections under GA, this was done in November 2016. The injections took 3 weeks to work but did provide some relief but not fully pain free.

The injections wore off after 3 months and I was back to agonising pain. At the follow up at the hospital I begged for them to remove the coccyx, they told me that it was a very rare operation and that the recovery can take months and possibly leave me with incontinence issues. They agreed to do an MRI scan to see properly what my issues were. In March 2016 I had the scan, this was without a doubt the best thing and had this been done previously I would not have had to go through all the other things I did. My coccyx was fully dislocated, the bottom segment was twisted away from the connecting bit!

My follow up was with the Spinal Surgeon Mr Wojcik (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, Cambridgeshire), he looked at my MRI and put me on the waiting list for a partial removal, this was in June and my operation was on the 16th November 2016.

Whilst I was waiting for my operation I was really struggling with hip and leg pain, I had sciatica which was really uncomfortable. I used a local chiropractor who put me back in place which would ease my pain for a few weeks at a time. I was virtually addicted to Solpodol and chronically constipated because of it.

My surgery was without issue, however I needed to stay in for 2 nights due to low blood pressure. I stayed with my family for two weeks as I was unable to do lots of things such as stand up for too long, prepare food etc. The recovery was a long slow progress, the pain at times was awful and the constipation was worse than the operation!! I did not attempt to sit until 6 weeks and I did not drive until 12 weeks. I had 8 weeks off work and probably could have had extra but I need to get back for financial reasons.

Where I am now: July 2018, I am no longer in excruciating pain as I was pre op, however I do have some residing pain that restricts me from certain activities such as riding a bike and prolonged sitting down. I continue to use a standing desk at work which I'm completely used to now. The pain is caused by scar tissue and may or may not be forever, I am just grateful that I can get on with my life and if this is what I need to live with for the rest of my life, then I can definitely cope.

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