Could this be a coccyx problem?

Matt -

Posted 2011-01-23

Background: I'm 25, Male. I started having low back problems at 20. They have been on and off since then. My L4-L5 disc was herniated and another (I believe L5-S1) was bulged. I couldn't think of any trauma that caused it. The doctors and I chalked it up to poor posture, being very tight/non-flexible, weight lifting, "over doing it" at the gym. My main pain was in my leg and si joints.

I tried physical therapy, a cortisone shot, pain killers/nsaid's prednisone and chiropractor. The prednisone helped a little, but not enough. Everything else, except the chiropractor did very little. The chiropractor helped a lot and I was about 85% normal. Considering how bad it was and having spoken with surgeons, I was content with the results.

The way for me to avoid aggravations is to stretch a lot and stay fit. Going to the chiropractor once a month is also recommended. I usually get aggravations that last about a month once or twice a year.

I'm going through an aggravation now, I think I may have hurt my coccyx during it. This episode started at the end of November. Lower back muscle spasms kicked it off, followed by leg/sciatic pain. This is when I may have injured my coccyx. One night my leg pain was acting up while I was lying down. I tried many different positions to try and relieve it. Legs up, down, bent at the knees, lying different ways, ect. Non of them helped. One thing that had helped in the past, is lying on an abdomen. My upper torso would be supported and my feet, would rest on the floor. I tried to recreate this position using bath towels. I folded up about six towels, so my upper half would be about 5 inches off the floor (hardwood). The lower half of my body sloped down on an angle, until my heels met the floor. I think my coccyx was at the edge of the towels, having part of it supported by towels, while there was nothing supporting the rest of it. Lying like this worked for my leg pain and I was finally comfortable. I ended up falling asleep like this. After roughly an hour I awoke in a tremendous amount of pain. It felt like I was having back spasms again, but this time very, very low where my coccyx is.

Since that night in the beginning of December, I've had some symptoms that weren't familiar to my other episodes. I have weakness in my legs, more so the right one and especially in my feet. I cannot stand on my tip-toes. When I take a deep breath or sneeze, I have a lot of pain in the coccyx area. If I stand for too long I will get numbness in my saddle region. This has gotten better and happened about 5-10 times in the last 6 weeks. The numbness goes away after lying on my stomach for 10 minutes.

When I wake up, the area where my coccyx is, is painful. A moist-heat bag over my low back and butt ease it until pain meds kick in.

About a month ago, my Dr. gave me prednisone, an nsaid, pain killers and muscle relaxers. My symptoms were getting better. Yesterday (1/21) I finished the month of prednisone. I estimate I was about 50% better. I drove my car for the first time in weeks, with almost no problem. I went to my chiropractor for treatment and had no pain sitting in a restaurant for an hour. My last stop was the store. As soon as I got out of the car, all of my symptoms, except the numbness came on. After walking in the store for a minute or two the pain was at full force. I made it home, when I got out of the car, I was literally only able to take baby steps to my door. Today when I stand up I have pain from the coccyx area down my right leg. I have tingle sensation down my leg too. My coccyx area hurts pretty much when ever I move.

I would like to know if anyone who does have a coccyx problem, has had the same symptoms as me. I know most of my symptoms can stem from my disc injury. I've just never had pain this low in my back or this severe. What should I ask my dr, what body positions ease the pain, are there stretches for this, is it possible to injure one's self laying on towels the way I described? Anything that may help me with pain or to figure out whether or not my problems are caused by my coccyx.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you are in pain too, good luck on your road to recovery!


This is kind of how I was laying on the towels.

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