Why don't doctors take coccyx pain seriously?
Many people find that their general practitioner will not take their tailbone pain seriously. If simple painkillers don't work, they may tell the patient that they just have to live with the pain. Sometimes they even suggest that people are imagining the pain.
This is a desperate situation to be in - suffering pain that prevents you from carrying on your normal life, but denied treatment. Many people suffer for years like this.
Why do so many doctors act like this? They are often ignorant of the causes and treatments of coccyx pain. But ignorance is no excuse. It is a scandal that they do not take their patients' suffering seriously.
What can you do about it?
If possible, go to a specialist listed on this website, even if you have to travel. All of those listed have been recommended by a patient, or have published medical papers on the subject of coccyx pain, or have asked to be added to the list of specialists themselves. All of them are aware that this is a real problem, and are ready to take it seriously.
If you have to see a doctor who is not a coccyx specialist, then your aim should be to get referred to a specialist. Here is what you can do:
- Stand up! Don't let the doctor (or the receptionist) see you sitting. Often we sit down to be polite, or out of embarrassment, and put up with the pain. But this gives the doctor the impression that your problem can't be that bad. So keep standing, or ask to lie down on the examination table during the consultation. Explain that it hurts to sit, so you prefer to stand whenever possible. Doing this makes it much more difficult for the doctor to dismiss your problem.
- Take a trusted relative or friend along with you into the consulting room. This can help in three ways. First, it gives you more confidence to insist on proper treatment. Second, your friend or relative can testify to the effect the pain is having on your life. And third, it makes it more difficult for the doctor to brush you off.
- Insist that the doctor refers you to a specialist.
- If your doctor orders an x-ray or MRI scan, ask him or her to instruct the radiographer to obtain a clear view of the coccyx. Very often a doctor will order a lumbro-sacral MRI, and the coccyx is not included on the image at all!
- You could even try to arrange a dynamic sit/stand x-ray to show whether the coccyx is dislocating when you sit. Sally managed to arrange this, and one or two other patients with sympathetic doctors obtained this kind of x-ray. But most doctors and radiographers dislike having patients suggesting investigations, so you may not succeed with this one.
This advice is for when you are seeing an unhelpful general practitioner. If it is a specialist who is unhelpful, there is no point speaking to them. Leave, and find a better specialist.
Stand up for your right to proper treatment!