18+ years of pain - surgery 20 Feb - recovery time?

Lisa - lisa.mackenzie89@btinternet.com

Posted 2008-02-24

I injured my tailbone during the summer of 1989 when I was 29 years old. I was in my brothers "speed" boat when he hit a wave and I was thrown up and out of my seat a couple of feet and when I landed my tailbone hit the edge of a fiberglass bench. I was in immediate excruciating pain and could not get up for several minutes. For the next four days I was in horrible pain, but when I called the hospital, they said that nothing could be done and that it would eventually heal itself (similar to a breaking a toe).

Over the next 18 years I have had never-ending pain, I have tried chiropractors, acupuncture, steroid shots, etc. Any activity that requires more than 45 minutes of sitting causes me pain – movies, traveling, church, bike riding, ... Coccyx cushions do not help because the pain extends beyond the coccyx down the left side of my sacral bone and the cushion puts too much pressure on it. I am not sure if the pain on the left side is due to the injury or due to my sitting on one side of my butt over many years to avoid the tailbone. During the past few years, my job has required me to travel overseas several times a year which entails a 9+ hour plane trip and a lot of airport sitting.

I finally had enough and have decided to opt for surgical removal of my tailbone. Surgery is on 20 Feb, and although I am a bit apprehensive of the possible pain I will have after surgery, I am optimistic and excited about being pain free for the first time in 18 years!

I plan to post regular updates of my progress after surgery as others have done in the past, that information has really helped me prepare for it. I am amazed to see that so many people have suffered or are suffering exactly as I have for so many years. I would like to know from those that have already had the surgery, how long was it before you could drive again and return to work? Answers to those questions and any helpful advice would be much appreciated!


Posted 2008-03-03

25 Feb, 5 days after surgery. Surgery went really well, the surgeon did not see any obvious fractures of my coccyx on the MRI or when removed, however I did have one extra joint and link than a "normal" coccyx does. I was up and walking with little pain the following day and I am sleeping okay - just need to switch from side to side during the night. My surgery was on a Weds afternoon and I was released from the hospital on Thursday evening. My 2 inch incision was stitched up with dissolvable stitches and a waterproof bandage was put on top so I can take showers. I stopped taking pain medication after the second day, it really doesn't hurt much, just a dull ache. Less pain than I had when I had a coccyx!

My doctor told me to take 3 weeks off from work and driving, but I think I will go crazy in the house that long. I did start taking my dog for a daily walk two days after surgery and scheduled new carpet and wood floors to be done to my home! (expensive surgery - J) The only thing I cannot do is sit directly on the area where my tailbone once was, that is still quite sore. But I couldn't sit on it before surgery either! I wonder how long it will take me to re-train myself to sit correctly after 18 years of sitting from cheek to cheek. I did purchase the raised toilet seat like some people suggested on this site, but I never needed it. I have had no problem using the toilet. It is amazing! I also purchased a kneeling chair with a coccyx cut out and it has been wonderful. I have been able to sit/kneel in it while eating, using the computer, etc… I recommend buying one even if you are not having surgery, it takes most of the pressure off the tail end and puts your body in a forward position. It does put pressure on your knees, so if you have knee problems you might not want to get one.

I can't wait to do things that I couldn't do without pain in the past – ride my bike, go to the movies, pilates, etc…. but I am determined not to rush it and take a chance of opening up my wound. So I will remain at home at least another week while my floors are redone and I catch up on some reading.

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