Muscle relaxers to counteract muscle spasm


Posted 2008-03-23

I'm a healthy 46 year old male. For the past two years I've spent a lot of time sitting. I have a desk job, am finishing up my Masters degree and am an avid PC gamer, which adds up to about 8-16 hours of sitting a day. About 9 months ago, out of the blue my tailbone area began to hurt, there was substantial swelling with the pain (felt like I was sitting on a golf ball). 9 months, 2 x-rays, and an MRI later, both my GP and Ortho had no clue what's wrong with me.

About 2 weeks ago I asked my GP to try putting me on some muscle relaxers. He put me on 10 mg of flexoril for daytime use (which did nothing) and 10 mg of valium for nights. He said to take the valium twice a day (instead of 1 flexoril and 1 valium) if I was going to be home, not operating heavy machinery etc. Long story short, since the flexoril did nothing I took 10 mg of valium twice a day.

Well, I'm happy to report that after 2 weeks I'm seeing some improvement. If I stay off my butt the swelling and pain are gone completely. If I sit for 30 minutes or longer, some pain comes back, but not to the degree that it once was. For those of you who experienced coccyx issues mysteriously (ie, not as a side effect of a fall or operation) consider the fact that your muscles have gone into spasm, and see if you can get your GP to prescribe you some muscle relaxers.

Update, 2008-04-06

This post is geared toward folks who suddenly developed coccyx pain for no apparent reason (ie no sports injury, no fall, childbirth, etc).

Well a couple of weeks have gone by (see my story above), and I've learned a few things I thought I'd pass along to the rest of you. For those of you who have a sudden tailbone pain with no injury (I'm seeing posts from people like this popping up on forums all over the net) it's probably simply due to the fact that your sitting too much (no surprise there). I'm seeing posts from executives, programmers, computer graphics artists, folks addicted to ebay and online gambling or games like world of warcraft, and full time students. These people are all simply experiencing tailbone pain for no apparent reason. Their MRI's and X-rays are coming up clean (like mine) yet the pain and swelling persists.

I'm no doctor, but after doing a a lot of research on the subject, I now believe the pain begins/persists due to two issues:

  1. 1) You are sitting too much. This is exacerbated by the fact that your sitting posture is likely poor (ie you tend to slouch into your tailbone when you sit). This was definitely the case with me. Sit up straight when you do sit!
  2. 2) Your pelvic floor (all the muscles and ligaments that tie your groin and buttocks area together) has weakened due to lack of exercise.

So what can you do to resolve this issue? So far the following suggestions have worked wonders for me. Remember I'm no try these at your own risk:

  1. 1) Get a doctor to prescribe you some valium. According to the research I did on Google, Valium appears to do an excellent job relaxing the piriformis muscles, in turn reducing the strain on your tailbone. The Valium really helped me, but be careful. It can become addictive.
  2. 2) Start some sort of aerobic exercise that works the pelvic floor muscle group. Do it NOW. This has done more for my condition than everything else combined. I've heard very good things about swimming laps. Playing tennis 5X per week has worked wonders for me.
  3. 3) A good physical therapist will give you stretches and exercises you can do as well. The stretches seemed to exacerbate the problem for me, but the exercises do help. Your GP should be able to refer you to a physical therapist. Ask for one who specializes in the spine/tailbone region.
  4. 4) Most importantly. Do whatever it takes to stay off your butt as much as possible. Stand when you read. Lie down when you watch TV. My laptop now resides on a stand on my desk so I can stand and type. Avoid long car/plane trips if possible. Try a coccyx cushion when you sit. Didn't work for me, but I hear it has worked for others.

Make sure you see a GP. Gets x-rays and an MRI done to rule out unlikely nasties like cancer or pilonidal cysts (always better safe than sorry).

Good luck to you all. I'll continue to post my progress.

Update, 2008-04-27

Since I've been on valium the swelling in my tailbone and surrounding area has completely gone away. I've slowly decreased my intake over the past month and am happy to report that I am now completely off the drug. The pain however still persists, but only when sitting.

As I continued my research, I decided to give Dr Sarno's book "Healing Back Pain" a try. Now typically I'm not into the whole "psychological thing", but I decided to give it a try more out of desperation than anything else. So far the results have been good....almost amazing. I have a completely new outlook on life, and now expect a full recovery based on my early initial results with Dr Sarno's program. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's coccydynia mysteriously appeared for seemingly no reason. I'll update this site as I continue through Dr. Sarno's program.

Note from Jon Miles:

I emailed more than a year after this story was posted, to ask for an update, as the long-term outcome of treatment is of great interest. In this case I did not get a reply.

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