Ganglion impar block reduced the pain


Posted 2009-02-15


I've suffered from coccyx pain for a little over 4 years. It started after getting a serious bout of "flu". I spent a week sitting on my couch watching TV and not really walking around much. After recovering from the flu I realized that there was an annoying pain in my tailbone. At first I though the excessive sitting has bruised my coccyx, so I waited......and waited........

Finally I realized the pain wasn't going to leave, so I mentioned it to my chiropractor. At first he adjusted my tailbone externally. This really didn't do anything for me. He made me get the coccyx cushion for my desk and my car (life saver! especially in LA!) In the past 2 years I've seen 2 chiropractors (including Dr. Zail Khalsa who told me my pain was "attached to childhood issues with my father............."?!?!?!?!?) an acupuncturist (painful!) an orthopedic surgeon (2 x-rays and an MRI) and finally my family doctor, who sent me to a pain management specialist.

Dr. Fausett (see Doctors and specialists in the USA, California) is the only doctor who actually understood my pain because she's damaged her coccyx giving birth. After 2 caudal epidurals and one nerve block (minimum relief) we finally went for the "big gun" - a ganglion impar block. It's been nearly 3 months and even though there is a small amount of pain after excessive sitting, my pain has gone from an 8 or 9 to a 2 or 3. I am pretty happy about that, but I'll probably schedule another ganglion impar block just to get the last of the little bastard nerves that are causing that annoying pain. I highly recommend Dr. Fausett if you're on the west coast.

Thanks for reading this - and thanks to Jon for building this site, and to all of you for contributing your stories and showing that no matter what, there IS light at the end of the tunnel.

Update, 2011-02-13

I was really hoping that the ganglion impar block at the beginning of 2009 was the answer to my prayers. Sadly it wasn't. About 4 months after the injection I started to get pain again, I let it go on for a couple more months but finally caved and decided to speak with Dr. Fausett again. We agreed to do another ganglion impar block.

After the 2nd one I only felt about 10% better. Not exactly encouraging news! I started seeing a chiropractor (yes, another one!) for over a year with absolutely no improvement. It was at this time that I came across Dr. Foye on your website (see Doctors and specialists in the USA, New Jersey). I was planning a trip to New York in Sept. 2010 so made an appointment to go see him while I was there.

When I got to the hospital they took a bunch of very intricate x-rays, close up on the coccyx (the way Dr. Foye has trained them) About an hour later I sat in a room with Dr. Foye's associates telling them my coccyx history. Then I went in to see Dr. Foye. His associate gave him a run down of my history and I chimed in every so often with anything he accidentally left out. We then looked at my x-rays. The technician who took them said in the report that my coccyx appeared "unremarkable" but Dr. Foye started to play around with the contrast and suddenly said "A-ha!" - believe me....that was the greatest moment of the last 5 years or so!!! "You have a tiny bone spur on the tip of your coccyx" FINALLY AN ANSWER!!!!!

He had me lay down on the table on my front and pressed on my coccyx all the way to the tip, as soon as he pressed where the bone spur showed up I got the same pain when I sit!!

We decided to do another ganglion impar and a steroid shot. It took about 4 minutes and was slightly painful mostly because of the nerve pain. Once the local anesthetic kicked in though the rest of the injections went fine! I was able to watch it all on the x-ray machine. Dr. Foye was nice enough to explain everything he was doing and why he was doing it. I have to say that he is the nicest man. Truly an understanding Doctor who really listens and wants to help.

The local wore off after a few hours and the pain was pretty bloody bad! I knew it would be. I always explain it like a horse has kicked me in the butt! The flight back to LA a few days later was interesting. The pain lasted about 2 weeks but once it went I realized I was pain free. Believe me, I didn't get too excited cause I had been here before. However it's now been 5 months and everything seems to be going OK. In that time I've had surgery on my right foot and had to sit for nearly a month. A WHOLE month on my butt. I think I was more worried about my tailbone pain than my foot pain, I really didn't want to cause anymore irritation to my coccyx than I had to but it's been fine. Now I'm sitting here after left foot surgery with the daunting task of sitting for another month.

I would say that the pain has been diminished about 85%. I think the next time I go to New York I'll go back in and see Dr. Foye and get one more shot. He did mention that some people need another one to "top up".

If anything at least now I KNOW why my tailbone has been hurting for the past 5 or 6 years. It's not in my head.

Update, 2011-12-11

Well sadly Dr Foye's injection started wearing off by the 7th month (April 2011) I slowly started to feel the old pain return. As you can imagine this was completely disheartening. But I was booked to take another trip to NYC in September (a year after the first injection) so set up another appointment to see Dr Foye.

Luckily I didn't have to get any more x-rays but I still ended up being at the hospital for nearly 6 hours....not fun. Because I knew what to expect the injection didn't seem as painful.

The next day I had to fly back to LA (agonizing!!!!) This time the pain following the injection seemed MUCH worse. I had to ask the air stewardess for an ice bag and basically sat on my side for 5 hours. Just a horrible experience.

2 weeks later and the pain went...........but the coccyx pain was still there :( I was soooooooo upset. I really thought this one would work like the other one. As you can imagine by this point I was really losing it. I was absolutely at the end of my rope. I thought I had found my tailbone-pain-free miracle in Dr. Foye.

However, while I was at Dr. Foye's I asked him about a hip problem that I have had since the age of about 7 (I'm 34 a LONG bloody time!) I mentioned that my hip "snaps" which led me to research "snapping hip syndrome", I also mentioned that I thought I have a bursitis at my trochanter. I'm one of those annoying people that research and research and research if I have a problem, I can't sit and wait for a doctor to "maybe" tell me what I have. Anyway, Dr Foye agreed with my diagnosis and said I should find a doctor when I get back to LA that does ultrasound guided corticosteroid injections into the bursitis.

Back in LA and I find an orthopedic doctor. He gave me the usual advice about taking a course of advil or aleve but I was adamant that I wanted the injection. I've spent YEARS trying the advil route and it doesn't work. I knew I needed "the big guns" He agreed, gave me the injection and also wrote a physical therapy prescription for the "snapping hip" which he believed was caused by a very tight IT Band.

........I know this story is dragging on but I DO have a point!!!......

After calling a bunch of PT offices I heard back straight away from one - The Glendale Adventist Therapy and Wellness Center in Eagle Rock/Glendale California. They took all my details and said they'd call me back after they arranged a therapist for me. Later that day another PT office called but I told them I was going with the Glendale one. And thank GOD I did.

I was assigned a VERY young PT named Pennie. She ran the usual tests (walking away from her, bending etc) I told her my hip history and she asked a bunch of questions. After more poking around she said "your pelvis is misaligned and tilted" to which I replied that yes, I knew that and that many doctors and specialists had mentioned it in passing over the years but that I was there for IT Band therapy. She was really adamant that we re-align the pelvis first before we can really see what else is going on. She was able to re-align it while I was there but as soon as I started walking it went "out of whack" again. So she gave me some VERY simple exercises to do at home.

This was Tuesday evening. I went home and did my exercises 3 or 4 times a day. Thursday I had another appointment and she saw that my hips were still slightly out of whack so she pulled on my left leg rather hard. This brought everything back to being aligned though so I didn't question her rather archaic therapy (!!!!!) Went home and continued my exercises.

Cut to Saturday (4 days after my initial meeting) I was sitting at home and realized that my hip pain was diminished by about 75% but more importantly I had NO COCCYX PAIN!!!!!!! NONE!!! I literally lay down for hours poking around at my coccyx trying to replicate the pain (which I USED to be able to do) and I couldn't do it!!!!!! There was nothing. I think I cried for about 2 hours from sheer happiness! I was also very hesitant to tell people though because I didn't want to jinx it!!!

I had another appt. with her a few days later and told her about the coccyx pain going. She obviously was aware that I had been suffering with it for 7 years because I had mentioned it when she took my history (although that wasn't why I was there to see her so I didn't go into detail) When I told her she said that she thought that might happen. When your pelvis is misaligned it can cause so many problems. There are 35 muscles down there and if a couple are off the whole thing is off. Obviously it was causing my sacrum and coccyx to be off too.

How had ALL the doctors and "specialist" who mentioned in casual passing that my pelvis was misaligned FAIL to realize that could possibly be a factor in not only my hip pain but also coccyx as well?!?!?!?!?!

It's now been nearly 4 weeks since I first saw Pennie and my coccyx is STILL pain free. I have good days and bad days with my hip but the pain is SOOOO much better but I can live with that. The coccyx pain was the worst. I'm still so worried that it will creep back. I've become a very weird lady who constantly pokes her coccyx to make sure the pain is still gone. My husband thinks I'm quite mad!!! But I don't care! :)

Please please please please get your pelvis checked out. Even if it's just slightly "off" it could be causing a whole heap of problems and may just be the cause of your coccyx pain.

Praying for all of you. Happy Holidays :)

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