Neuro stimulation for coccyx pain

Henry Moller -

Posted 2005-11-13

My wife fell on her tail bone 15 years ago. The pain and discomfort have varied over the years but for the past several years it has been a constant 8 (on a 1 to 10 scale). Her only comfort came from sitting on ice packs at home, in the car -- just about anyplace. Pain pills were only slightly effective and generally upset her stomach.

Needless to say, like most coccyx sufferers we have tried just about everything over the years. Our last effort was at the Massachusetts General Pain clinic. With no improvement. We were under the impression that they had the ability to install neuro stimulators but they didn't (or at least not for this condition).

We heard about a doctor in Billings, Montana that had a great deal of experience, and success, installing stimulators. We contacted him and had to wait several months for a chance to see him.

My wife had several reservations about factors that we felt might affect the process. Her age, (she's 75), she has MS, she has a heart murmur as a result of rheumatic fever and the invasiveness of a device implanted in the spine.

We had previously forwarded my wife's medical history to the doctor. We met him on a Thursday. he agreed to operate on the coming Tuesday. On Monday he met us to answer any last minute questions or concerns. On Tuesday he implanted the device. The idea was to evaluate its effectiveness Wednesday and Thursday and install the battery, that powers the device, on Friday.

After the operation on Tuesday my wife felt so much better there was no question about Friday's operation. All went well on Friday and we flew home on Saturday.

The pain has been reduced from an 8 to 4 almost right away. This morning ( a week later) the pain, after a night's rest, is down to a 2! Quite often the pain is reduced in the morning, but this is amazing, and we're anxious to see what happens from here on.

We know enough about coccyxdinia that there is certainly no one cure-all. But we feel this is an option, based on our personal results, that deserves serious consideration by long term sufferers.

I've left out the names of the doctor and the manufacturer of the neuro stimulator because I didn't want this to sound like a commercial. Any one wanting more information is free to contact us.

Update, 2006-09-17

In November we did go to Billings Montana to see a neurostimulator specialist. I am sure there are doctors familiar with the procedure in many other locations, but through a long process not worthy of retelling, we quite happily, found Dr. John Oakley.

We flew into Billings on a Thursday and met with the doctor the next day. He concluded my wife was a candidate for the procedure. He told us to think about it over the weekend and he would answer any questions on Monday. Tuesday he installed the device with an external battery - as a preliminary test. Friday he installed the internal battery in my wife's abdomen. Saturday we flew home.

The improvement in the quality of my wife's life has been very significant. Along with the internal device there is an external control unit - controlling signal frequency and /or intensity. Some days she has the device turned way down - other days she has it high as it can go.

The pain obviously has not completely gone. But is diminished to the point where life is very much improved. She still can tell if it's going to rain 24 to 48 hours before the weatherman but smiles when she does it. Percentages? My wife's pain has been reduced by a half and we would do it all over again in a heart beat.

Drawbacks? Principally the cost. If you are not on a very good health plan the procedure is quite expensive. We would also suggest in doing the homework necessary to find a doctor whose familiarity with the procedure has developed with the number he has done.

Henry Moller

See also Spinal cord stimulators and spinal pumps for coccyx pain

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