Not sure what to do next

Christine -

Posted 2010-08-15

I am 49 and I have had a history of back problems for the last 30 years but have managed to recover well from two major injuries. I was attending pilates classes and the gym which helped to strengthen my back and protect me against re injury.

In August 2009 I was doing some light gardening when I stumbled and fell against the corner of my conservatory banging my coccyx. I went along to my pilates class a few days later and as we were doing some floor exercises I felt my coccyx moving backwards and forwards beneath me. I continued to go to work and try to live as normal a life as possible but found it very difficult to sit. I bought a wedge cushion which quickly became my most essential item and I took it everywhere I went. I often got up in the night due to finding it difficult to get comfortable in bed and would use an ice pack and take mild painkillers.

I went to my GP who referred me to my local hospital for physiotherapy which did not help. I went back to see my GP again and he referred me out of area to a hospital because they specialised in back injury's.

I went to see the consultant who examined me and ordered an MRI scan. My consultant said that the MRI showed no damage to my coccyx but I did have a disc problem further up my spine. He dismissed this as he said that many people had disc problems that they never knew about and didn't need treatment. He recommended that I go into hospital and have a manipulation of my coccyx under general anesthetic and a cortisone injection into the coccyx. I was assured that this procedure was 90% successful and went in to hospital as a day surgery patient on 9 July.

This procedure has not been successful and I have been in agony with my coccyx and it also appears that other areas of my back have flared up too. I have been on strong painkillers three times a day and very grateful for them. I am struggling to drive or even walk very far and am now in a worst position than I was when I had my initial injury last August. I have been off work for four weeks and my current sick note runs for another two weeks.

I went back to the hospital for a follow up appointment on 6 August and saw the surgeon who had performed the procedure (who wasn't my consultant). He said my only options were to have my coccyx removed which he wouldn't recommend as he didn't consider me to be a good candidate. He said this was "because the injection had not helped and because there are other areas of my back that cause me a problem as well as my coccyx". I was also offered a visit to a pain management clinic so they could talk to me about anti-depressants and painkillers as in the long time I might get depressed and this would only add to my pain. As he is not my consultant he could not make decisions and so I am awaiting an appointment to go back to see my consultant. However, as he also told me that they have hardly ever performed this operation I do not have confidence in them performing a coccyx removal operation even if I decide that it is my next course of action.

If I had investigated this site sooner I would have realised where the specialists and talked to my GP about them. I have emailed the Sayers clinic for further information as reading the personal experiences of those who have had treatment there has given me some hope.

I'm just not sure what to do next.

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