Relief after 15 years

Kathleen -

Posted 2011-02-13

I am a 52 year old woman in New York State. My coccyx pain began roughly 15 years ago. At that time I received chiropractic treatments which did nothing. After about 10 months I had a cortisone injection which did not seem to work at first but after about a month I felt some relief. The pain was not completely gone, but it was liveable. Every so often over the years the pain would flare up again, and I would then be very careful not to sit for long periods, to only sit on hard surfaces and other little tricks I came up with to get back to the liveable state.

Finally, in the summer of 2009 I had a very bad flare-up that did not go away using my usual methods. After 6 months of the worst coccyx pain to date with my life severely compromised, I had another cortisone injection. Again, after a month the pain subsided, but it came back full force after another few months. I then had a fluoroscopy-guided injection with the same results as the previous injection. I was at the point that I could never sit at all, and the act and movement of rising to a standing position was especially awful so that I almost passed out with pain on several occasions. I finally found a neurosurgeon who sent me for a CT scan which showed a disconnection in the coccyx. He told me that, still, if he removed it, there was only a 50% chance that my pain would be alleviated. When I asked how the pain could remain even if the offending part is removed, he said this is something that is not known. I had to take the chance that I would be one of the 50% who would get better, so I had the surgery on October 28 2010. During the surgery the doctor found that the last 3 segments of the coccyx were detached from the rest of the bone, which was a positive sign that at least he was removing something that was abnormal. He said that they don't know if some people are born with segments of the coccyx detached or whether it occurs from some event.

After the surgery, I thought I'd be better quickly and tried to sit like a normal person in the car, at the table, at the computer, since I was not instructed not to sit. However, at 6 weeks post-op I was still in pain. I decided myself that I would go back to avoiding sitting like I was before the surgery. I also put myself back on anti-inflammatory drugs. Finally, I am here now at about 4 months post-op and am able to sit on hard surfaces and with a tailbone cushion in the car. For sitting at home I pull 2 chairs together and let my former tail-bone area dangle in the space between them. I am not 100% better, but I am getting better slowly but surely. The surgery set me on the path to getting better. I just wish I had been more careful after the surgery; then maybe I would have gotten better sooner. I know there are people who wake up from the surgery and feel immediately better. That was not me at all. I would caution anyone who has this surgery to be careful of sitting (lie down in the car on the way home from the hospital, etc.) and let time be your healer.

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