Success with spinal cord stimulator

Beth -

Posted 2007-11-11

I broke my tailbone 16 years ago during childbirth, with the help of an obstetric nurse who "helped" to push my baby out by heaving herself onto my upper abdomen while I pushed. My OB thought my tailbone was bruised, but I now know it was broken.

It was many weeks before I could sit without pain, but I apparently healed in some respect. For many years, I felt pressure in my pelvis, but no pain until, inexplicably, 2.5 years ago, and seemingly out of the blue. I had done some cycling for exercise, maybe that was the last straw.

At any rate, it took two years to diagnose my pain source as being a coccyx that is broken and healed at a right angle, and then curled inward and upward like a fish hook. Contrast x-ray shows scar tissue around my spinal nerve roots and a coccyx ligament that is ossified -- turned to bone, literally. That leaves manipulation and prolotherapy out!

I have been treated in Pain Medicine at the University of Colorado clinic for over a year. My doctor started with nerve pain meds, such as Lyrica, Clonazepam and of course, Cymbalta. We progressed to Ganglion of Impar blocks, one of which worked, 3 more did not. On to Radiofrequency Ablation of the nerve. No relief.

I graduated to a Spinal Cord Stimulator implant. I am 9 days into the trial and it has been nothing short of miraculous. I have been on the web and seen some scary stories, but so far I have had a good experience. I think lead migration is a real risk, but mine are in my epidural space, which is small and mine is smaller than most peoples. I have taken care to follow my post-surgical admonitions not to bend, twist or lift over 5 pounds. The idea is to let the leads settle and maybe scar tissue will help hold them in place? I am not sure. But I will have the battery implant tomorrow. My pain is nearly 90% relieved most of the day. My work requires me to sit quite a bit, and I have more pain after a long day of meetings. I adjust the stimulator and this helps, however, one must be realistic and it is a good way to also know when I've done too much and just need to go to bed.

I hope this helps other sufferers. I decided to take on the risks of spinal stimulator implant because I cannot function on pain meds. The amount of meds required to relieve my pain carried really significant side effects I choose not to live with. I am not ready to lie home on medications and be disabled.

Best of luck to all.


See also: Spinal cord stimulators and spinal pumps for coccyx pain

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