Recent coccygectomy

Wendy -

I have been dealing with coccyx pain for the past 5 years. Originally I thought that I had injured my back, not my tailbone. I fell down a flight of stairs while on vacation 5 years ago landing on my tailbone. I didn't have insurance at the time and since I was on vacation didn't see a doctor. I had a lot of pain in my lower back and also in my bum. I sat on a ice pack and took ibuprofen for about 2 weeks and it did get better. I seen the chiropractor regularly to get adjustments.

Two months after the fall I found out that I was pregnant. I was told when I was about 7 months along that my bottom was hurting because my daughter was "brow position", meaning that her neck was hyper-extended and her eyebrows were resting on my tailbone and that after delivery my pain would go away, which it did. I was doing medical transcription at home (also am a nurse) at the time so I could stay home with my newborn and was typing a lot. There were be days that I remember thinking back on now that I couldn't sit and type because it would hurt to sit down. I still always thought that it was my lower back.

I didn't have much problems with it until this year in April. I had sat 9 hours at my kitchen table decorating birthday cakes on Friday, and by Sunday I was miserable sitting down. I could only lay down on my sides or my stomach. It was painful getting up from sitting to standing and just even turning from side to side in my bed at night.

I saw my regular doctor who prescribed pain killers and ibuprofen and said to sit on a "donut". I did this for about 3 weeks and got better. I then flared up again 3 months later after sliding on a rock at Taululah Gorge (Georgia). I sat down in a pool of water and the current took me and forced me down the wrong side of the rock (it was a 100 ft. rock waterslide), pushing me over a very pointed rock..... you guessed it right over my crack. I was in misery. I didn't think that I could get back out of the water, nor was I going to be able to climb back to the top of the mountain. But, I did after waiting and crying and lying on my stomach for 2 hours. Luckily when I got back to my vehicle I had some pain medicine left from 3 months prior.

I saw my regular doctor again the next day and begged for x-rays. We really thought that my tailbone was broken. I was told that if it was broken, it would take 6 weeks to heal and then be fine. If it was not broken and was dislocated then we would discuss sending me to an orthopedic surgeon to have it manipulated back in place. Needless to say, it was dislocated on the top and bottom both. Segment 1 was going backwards and segments 2 and 3 were going forward. I was then told by my regular doc. that it would get better, but if it was still hurting me in 6 months to call her and she would send me to an ortho.

I waited it out for about 1-1/2 weeks and decided on my own to call an orthopedist. I thought it unreasonable to wait it out and be in pain for 6 mo. before doing something about it. I am a nurse and knew of a very good ortho. surgeon in my area and I called him and asked if they would take a look at my x-rays and tell me if anything could be done. He had his nurse call me the next day and after hearing my history said my only option was to have it removed. I could not get an appointment with him until 2 weeks later on Aug. 19.

I was scheduled after talking to him extensively for the following Monday, Aug. 23, 2004 for the surgery to have it removed.

I am now 12 days post-op and feeling soooo much better. I am still having a lot of incisional pain, but it is different from the coccyx pain. I am still out of work, but I plan on returning on Tuesday, 15 days after the surgery. My surgeon said after I saw him for my post-op follow-up appointment that my tailbone was very mobile and when he got it out into his hand it just broke into two pieces. He said that he would never do surgery on somebody the first time meeting them, but that I had already jumped through all the hoops he would require of me. He said that after seeing what my coccyx looked like during the surgery it was definitely a worthwhile surgery for me.

I am still not able to sit straight up yet, but I am able to sit up on one cheek for a while. I did drive for the first time on Thursday and did fine. I am hoping to drive myself to work, 30 minutes away on Tuesday.

I am really glad that I had this surgery so I can get on with living my active life. I am only 30 years old and have a toddler that I need to be active for.

Updated 2004-09-05

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