Coccyx pain after car accident

Rhonda -

Original posting, 2004-09-05

In Aug 2003, I was in an auto accident. At the time I was also 10 weeks pregnant, so the doctors were unable to do x-rays to see what damage had been done to my tailbone. All I knew was that I was in severe pain when I sat down. Over the next 3 months, the pain diminished but never went away. If I sat for over 20-30 minutes then I would have pressure while sitting and pain when I stood up. In Dec 2003, I received the OK from my OB to proceed with x-rays. Because of the lapse in time, a break was not evident but my coccyx was definitely dislocated to the left. I started seeing a chiropractor and achieved some relief but it was only temporary until I started sitting again and I also had to return for adjustments several times a week.

It was at this time that I found your website (looking for a permanent solution). My son was born in Feb. I saw an orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Leon Dickerson, Charlotte, NC) that was recommended in a posting. He was wonderful. I now know my options. The first is to take a cortisone shot, which I did yesterday. It was very painful, so I hope that it does the trick.

Do you know of anyone else that is dealing with coccyx problems resulting from an auto accident? We were not at fault in the accident but the other drivers insurance will not pay anything until we settle. We have already spent almost $4000 out of pocket to try and find lasting relief. I'm really afraid that the shots won't help and that I'll have to have surgery. This will be another $5000-$6000. Being the mother of three very active boys, I don't know how I would be able to handle the "down-time" after surgery. Especially with a toddler.

I am looking for guidance from people who opted not to have surgery and live with the discomfort as well as people who have had the surgery and would (or would not) have it again.

Thanks for giving us a place to ask questions.


Update, 2004-09-26

On Aug 31st, I went and had an injection and it did not work. I am currently scheduled to have surgery on Nov. 1st with Dr. Dickerson at Charlotte Orthopedic in NC. (See Doctors and specialists in the USA.)

I also wanted to ask if any one has successfully navigated the settlement phase with an auto insurance company. I'm hearing about "percentage of limitation" and other terms I never thought I would have to know. Just looking for a helping hand and some guidance.

Update, 2004-11-14

I wanted to update everyone on my coccygectomy. Dr. Dickerson performed the procedure on Nov. 1st. It's now November 7th and I am almost completely better. Aside from minor incision and stitches soreness...the pain is completely gone. I was so concerned about the pain and the "down time" when he suggested surgery that I put it off for more than 5 months. After some very helpful encouragement from others at your website, I went for it. If anyone else is waiting because of fear....go ahead and do it. It is well worth it.

I had not realized the devastating efforts that the chronic pain was causing in my life. I feel like a new women now. My husband has actually had to make me rest because I just want to do all the things that I was unable to do before with the coccyx pain.

As everyone knows...Dr. Dickerson is wonderful. Please post me as one of his success stories. I have my follow-up appointment tomorrow and I know he'll even be surprised at my fast rate of recovery.

Update, 2005-01-16

It's now 10 weeks after my surgery and I've realized that some of my euphoria right after surgery was drug induced. About 2 weeks after surgery, everyone one who was helping me went back to work and I wasn't able to take my full medication and care for the boys too. Reality Set In...

I still believe my surgery was a success but the recovery has been harder and longer than I expected. I now grasp the full concept of amputation...the tip of my spine is very sore and I know that it will get better as I "toughen my nub" (as another posting so eloquently put it).

I would still encourage others to leave their options open and not to let fear remove surgery as an option. The best advice I can offer is to find a caring knowledgeable doctor...they are worth their weight in gold.

Update, 2005-03-13

I went back to see Dr. Dickerson because several of my internal dissolvable stitches didn't dissolve properly and needed to be removed. While he was taking care of that he found a lump of scar tissue and removed that as well. Overall I'm feeling better. As everyone else I wish that my recovery was 100% immediately, but I'm still making progress toward the goal. I'll keep everyone posted.



Update, 2005-05-29

I am now 7 months post surgery, and consider it a success. I would say I'm about 90% down the path to recovery. I will be returning to see Dr. Dickerson sometime this summer to try and resolve the remaining 10%. The recovery has seemed very long at times. (It reminds me of a seems very long at the time but then once you're on the other side it's well worth it. The same is true here.)

Update, 2005-09-11

On Aug 22nd, I went back to Charlotte to let Dr. Dickerson see if he could resolve my remaining issues. He went back in and found that my sacrum and the sacrum cornu were very pointed and had created either scar tissue or a hernia on my rectum. He fixed the rectum and shaved off the edges to make everything "smooth". Then sewed me back up.

I am now two weeks post op and I am doing remarkably well. I get my stitches out on Tuesday and hope that this was the last surgery and that recovery will be quick and complete this time.

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