My problems began nearly 40 years ago when a fall downstairs resulted in severe pain when sitting. Despite several x-rays and hospital appointments, doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause of the pain. At no time was a coccyx injury suggested as a possibility. The acute pain continued for about 1 year, then gradually eased and became manageable provided I only sat on firm, upright chairs, which I have continued to do ever since.
Things changed in April 2008. While on holiday, I was crouching down to pick something up from the floor when I overbalanced and fell backwards onto my coccyx. The pain was slight at first, but a few days later we had a 9 hour flight back to England followed by a 4 hour car journey home, after which the pain was agonising and I could not sit at all. Our lives changed completely following our holiday. I could no longer sit or travel by car without pain. Doctors seemed unable to help me. Over the next 18 months, in my search for help, I consulted 2 osteopaths, a physiotherapist, had internal manipulation and steroid injections twice, and visited a pain clinic where various strong pain killers were tried, all without success.
I began to consider an operation as a last resort, and my GP arranged an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon at my local hospital to discuss it. He advised me strongly against surgery at all costs because of possible risks, not least of which was faecal incontinence, which worried me very much. (An e-mail enquiry on this point to Jon Miles, however, reassured me that incontinence was highly unlikely).
Shortly after this, I heard about Professor Stephen Eisenstein, a spinal surgeon at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry, Shropshire (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, Shropshire), and I found a medical paper on this website that he and other surgeons had published on coccygectomy outcomes at Oswestry.
I went to see Professor Eisenstein with my MRI scan, and he suggested that with my past history and symptoms coccygectomy may be beneficial, but of course the decision was mine to make. Professor Eisenstein performed my operation on 14 October 2009 at Oswestry. I was in hospital for 4 nights, after which I returned home lying on the back seat of the car.
My recovery has been steady, and far better than I dared hope. Within 6 weeks I could sit for short periods and at this point stopped using my coccyx cushion completely. I had been warned that this could be a painful operation, but in my case the pain from surgery was far less severe than I had previously experienced following manipulation and steroid injection at my local hospital.
I am now 8 weeks post-surgery and have just had my post-op appointment with Professor Eisenstein. He was delighted with my progress so far, and provided no problems arise in the future, does not need to see me again.
Travel by car is now relatively pain-free for short distances, and I can sit for longer periods as time passes. I still cannot sit on a soft chair or lean backwards, but the Professor is confident this will improve in time.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude to Professor Eisenstein and his team for their expertise, and also wish to thank the wonderful nursing staff on Ludlow Ward who were so caring and helpful during my stay.
Finally, a special word of thanks to Jon Miles for his excellent website - without it I and many others would still be unaware that help does exist, if you only know where to look.