It felt like there was a firework factory in my backside

Fiona Baker -

I had my tailbone removed in February of this year at the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK, after suffering for about four years and really just wanted to say that things have been wonderful ever since.

I had suffered for about four years with pain in my tailbone. I don't actually remember hurting my tailbone in a particular incident and the pain just seemed to appear overnight. However, when I mentioned the pain to my mother, she said that when I was a baby, and would sit on her lap, she could feel my tailbone digging into her! It was like someone touching a raw nerve in a tooth. In the end I had to give up full time work and take up part-time as sitting all day just made everything much worse. I also had to give up yoga, my beloved horse riding and generally things that would cause pain. I was only able to sit for about 10 minutes at a time and getting up from a sitting position was agony - it felt like there was a firework factory in my backside. I also suffered from extremely stiff hips but I put this down to my posture and trying to get myself comfortable, I experienced a tingling all the way down from my hips to my left knee and the best way I can describe this is by saying it felt like a dull and deep toothache or what your parents told you was growing pains. I also had trouble sleeping; I couldn't lie on my back and had to physically wake myself up in order to turn over. I was also unable to drive for more than 10 minutes and when I was a passenger, I would dread the journey.

Over the last four years I have had Manipulation Under Anaesthetic (MUA) - four in total. The first injection gave me 10 months of freedom from pain and it is not until the pain disappears that you realise how severe it is. However I then had another injection which gave me just a few weeks of pain relief. My surgeon carried out another two injections but to no avail. I was then transferred to the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham and was seen by the Orthopeadic Department there.

When I was seen by the Consultant Surgeon there was only one solution - my tailbone had to come out. On hearing that decision I was both relieved and apprehensive. The procedure was explained to me and was able to understand everything as I had done quite a lot of research over the last few years. I was also told that there was about a 50% chance of the procedure being successful. If the procedure was not successful then the pain I would feel would be exactly the same as I had at the time. Over much thought and deliberation I felt the odds high enough to take the chance and in February of this year my tailbone was removed.

On the morning of the op I was extremely apprehensive and nearly canceled the operation but I did go through with it and am extremely pleased that I did. I came round from the operation pretty stiff but not in pain. Once the anaesthetic started wearing of I could start to feel some pain. However, this pain was very similar to what I had felt before the operation, just a little more severe, and was able to deal and control it. I went home two days after the operation. There was no scar as such as the incision is done just above the line of your bottom so it is very discreet. There was no blood to be seen and no ugly discharges. The surgeon explained that my tailbone just crumbled when he removed it.

At home, I just took things easily but was amazed at how well I felt - a little stiff but definitely not in pain. As time went on the only way I can describe how I felt is that I was sitting on a golf ball.

I saw my surgeon six weeks after the operation and he was extremely pleased at how I was progressing. The pain I was feeling was normal and would reduced in time.

It was now seven months after the op and although I have a few twinges and still feel as though my tailbone is there I am pain free. I have gone back to my horse riding, yoga and all the lovely things I did before.

Just an interesting point for the ladies! When I saw my surgeon at my first appointment after the op he mentioned that he had another two ladies with the same problem. I personally think that this has something to do with the underwear that we now wear; thongs. Next time you wear one just try bending over and see the pressure that they put on the tailbone! I wear nothing but 'Bridget Jones'' now!! I would love to hear from anyone who agrees with this.

Fiona Baker

Updated 2004-09-12

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