Wish I had surgery earlier!


Posted 2007-03-04

My name is Jill and I am 29 years old. The pain began 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my first baby. I had a long, 45 minute drive to and from the school I taught at. At the school I had to sit on small, hard wooden chairs. One day we were on a hardwood floor for a couple hours and this really initiated the pain. I was about 6 months pregnant at the time.

The pain was really bad throughout the pregnancy because I had to drive everyday. Once I delivered my baby (without meds) the pain subsided for a little while, then came back after a couple weeks, probably due to periods of sitting during breastfeeding. I would recommend breastfeeding on all fours with the baby under you if you have coccyx pain- I figured this out after a couple months!

I have tried Pilate's, yoga, massage, acupuncture, physiotherapy and many internal and external manual adjustments from my chiropractor. Nothing has really helped, except not sitting on it at all. I now sit on a hard yoga block in the car with my bum hanging off the edge, and on a stool in the same fashion at home, or I kneel on an office chair with the back removed.

The problem is that I have bad sciatic pain now on my right side due to pregnancy and sitting on one butt cheek (I have not done that for a couple months but the pain is still there). In public I sit on two chairs with my tailbone hanging in the middle. I have tried pool noodles, inflatable rings, regular toilet seats and coccyx cushions. I also tried a plastic portable toilet seat that your whole butt sinks into. This worked quite well, but I could still feel the pain in my tailbone so I stopped using it. I might try it again because maybe my sitting on my thighs is aggravating the sciatica.

I am 6 months pregnant again and have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon right after the baby is born to discuss cortisone shots and possibly surgery. I am not sure about surgery while breastfeeding, I probably will have to wait a year after the baby is born to have surgery with all the meds! He said cortisone shots were safe though during breastfeeding. Any input would be greatly appreciated!



Update, 2007-12-09

Surgery went really well. Dr. Peter Stevenson (now retired) is a great surgeon. My incision is small and I have no bruising. I had a spinal, local, and general anesthetic. Surgery was at 8:00 am. I woke up without any pain. I did not feel pain till 8:00 pm and it was mild. I have not been in severe pain at all thanks to the percocet. I am breastfeeding too, so am not taking too much. Honestly, the most painful part of the whole thing was the IV needle! I highly recommend surgery. I had internal adjustments by my chiropractor before this which may have worsened things. The tip of my coccyx was VERY mobile, Dr. Stevenson said. I have been moving around a lot today but not sitting. I don't plan to sit for months. I have not had a bowel movement yet.

It has been a week and a day since surgery and I feel amazing. The tailbone pain has gone - that annoying pain that was present day, night, standing, bending, doing situps or kegels... GONE! There is a mild pain there due to the surgery but it is not as bad and it gets better every day. I only take 1 percocet at night now and maybe an advil in the day if I need it. I went for a big walk, Christmas shopping at the mall a few days ago and it went well other than the fact that I was wearing pants and underwear instead of a nightgown. My advice for recovery after surgery is:

1) Keep the area dry - don't shower for a week - just spot clean in the tub without getting your dressing wet. I kept the dressing on for about a week and changed it at least daily, definitely whenever I had bowel movement. I also washed or used lots of wipes after every bowel movement. I was able to squat in the tub day 3, but everyone recovers differently, and I wouldn't do what doesn't feel right. The nurse sent me home with a box of sterile individually packed gauze and tape.

2) Careful with the stool softeners or you might get the opposite problem!

3) Don't wear pants or underwear the first week, maybe the first two weeks - I wear nightgowns. Whenever anything rubs the incision site like pants, I am in 10 times more pain. It is like it sets the nerves off or something.

4) Careful wiping after a bowel movement - wipe away from the wound, not towards it and wash after without getting the wound wet - the dressings really helped here!

Update, 2008-02-03

Surgery was exactly 2 months ago - I feel great! No pain at all in the area. I still avoid sitting, I think this is mostly 3 years of habit. I will slowly start sitting on it on soft surfaces, I am just so used to hanging off stools! The scar itches a lot sometimes - that is my only discomfort.

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