Sitting fall down 15 stairs


Posted 2011-10-30

I have never had back pain before but over the summer my foot slipped from under me as I was going downstairs at home. After a sitting fall down all 15 stairs on a steep carpeted staircase, I couldn't believe how much my coccyx hurt. At first I put the pain down to being bruised and stocked up on heat pads/cold pads/ibuprofen gel/painkillers etc. and hoped that the pain would gradually disappear. After a couple of days it was still no better, so I visited my GP who's normally fine and sympathetic, but other than prodding my back (nowhere near my coccyx) they seemed totally at a loss as to what to do about the pain just saying that I should take painkillers and that the pain would disappear with time or at least become more manageable. I put up with the pain (which was excruciating) by trying to sit curled up on my side whenever I had to sit down, or by standing up as much as possible. I have a toddler, so my coccyx pain became very limiting e.g. at bedtimes when we weren't able to sit down to read a bedtime story together. It also became very difficult for me at work where I either sit at my desk or am in meetings for most of the working day - all of this became impossible due to the stabbing pains radiating from my coccyx and the general back aches developing because of the postures I had adopted to avoid sitting on my tailbone as much as possible.

I searched on the web for information about coccyx pain and found this site and the recommended specialists including Bob Griffith at the Sayer Clinic (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London). After about a week of coccyx pain I decided that enough was enough and made an appointment to see Bob at the Broadgate Club branch of the Sayer Clinic which is near Liverpool Street Station, and relatively easy for me to travel there by train.

I started seeing Bob only about a week or so after my initial fall and I'm convinced that seeing him quickly instead of waiting longer and grinning and bearing the pain helped to make my recovery a lot quicker than it might otherwise have been. He was very understanding and clear when explaining what the likely damage was and what sort of treatment might be helpful. I had an x-ray arranged very quickly at the main Sayer Clinic and it was clear from this (even to my untrained eye) that my coccyx was not just bruised as my GP had suggested but significantly dislocated. It was strangely a huge relief to see the dislocation on the x-ray since it made it clear that there was something tangible that was wrong, and as Bob explained it would be possible to try to manipulate the coccyx back into position.

For the first few sessions he concentrated on calming the nerves and muscles down in the area by a combination of ultrasound massage and manual massage - whilst this was sometimes sore at the time given the tightly bunched up nerves and muscles, I could feel that this made a definite difference after each session especially when followed up as instructed with ice-packs. From the x-rays though it was clear that only internal manipulation of the coccyx would be able to bring it back into any semblance of its normal position - Bob was great about explaining the process very clearly and also showing me on the model spine what sort of movement of the coccyx would be required which was pretty minimal and would be done in only a few minutes. It was a no-brainer for me - endure significant and ongoing pain which interfered with my life or choose a few moments of possible discomfort to have my coccyx internally manipulated in the hope that this would enable the coccyx to resettle in its original position. I remember chatting with a French friend who's just could not understand what possible fuss there might be about internal manipulation of the coccyx, given that in France she's used to being given medicines in suppository form and rectal thermometers are often used even for toddlers. As it was, Bob made the process as easy, straightforward, comfortable and as embarrassment-free as possible and was very good at making sure that I was okay throughout. It literally took only a couple of minutes.

Afterwards my coccyx was sore, but as the nerves and muscles settled down over the next couple of days it was 85% better from where it had been previously been, to the extent that I even forgot at times that I'd hurt my coccyx. I was careful to continue using a wedge cushion and to use cold-packs as directed and to avoid sitting as much as possible so that it had as good a chance as possible of recovering, but it was a huge and very, very noticeable improvement as a result of the internal manipulation. I've seen Bob for a few more sessions since then to check that the coccyx has stayed in place and to continue the ultrasound massage of the area so that the residual soreness died down. I'm now at the stage where my coccyx only aches if I've had to sit for a long period of time (which I try to avoid as much as possible) and that's all thanks to Bob's treatment. I had to travel an hour each way on the train to get to London for treatment which was a nuisance, but I figured that there was no point going to someone who didn't know exactly what they were doing when dealing with coccyx pain. There's no doubt at all that I would still be in significant pain had I not gone to Bob and I am really grateful to him for all that he did in making it possible for me to sit down pain-free!

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