Tailbone pain from childbirth went away, came back after a fall

Gwen, USA - mgradomski@comcast.net

Posted 2014-01-05

I am a 42-year old woman who has maintained an active and athletic lifestyle throughout my life. I first experienced coccyx pain after the birth of my second child - it was a vac birth. He was posterior and forceps were needed when he became stuck. He was a large baby - 8lbs 4oz - and I did not know I had an injury until weeks after his birth. I experienced the pain on and off for about 6 months and like many stories I've heard about coccyx pain, it seemed to subside on its own. I did take some pain killers during that time, but my obgyn did not think I had a fracture, probably just a bruise. This type of pain and healing seems to be the most common of all the research I've done.

The problem for me really began about 4 years ago, which was about 7 years later after the first incident. I played soccer weekly on leagues. I rolled up over a ball playing indoor on a turf that covered a cement slab. I went airborne and landed smack onto my tailbone. The pain began to bother me weeks later. I dealt with it for close to a year then finally went to my primary care doctor who prescribed a compound cream and sent me for an MRI. The MRI was negative and the cream did nothing (although I found out later that the cream actually dyed my skin - nice huh - whitening of the skin in my butt crack). I then began working out with a trainer and did a lot of exercise to strengthen my lower back and lower body hoping it would promote healing. No good, the workouts helped my physical strength, but the pain became worse and worse after workouts.

Then I went back to work after taking some time off with my kids. For two years, I sat a lot at a desk and in my car commuting. I tried sitting on a doughnut in my car - that was no help. After several more months, I decided to ask a friend who is an obgyn if she had any suggestions. She referred me to another obgyn, Jonathan E. Cayle (see Doctors and specialists in the USA, Michigan) who does a procedure known as vaginal tailbone manipulation. I underwent procedure four times over the course of several months. The treatment consisted of putting electrodes externally on my vaginal region for about 45 minutes, which was no big deal, followed by what amounted to no more than the discomfort of a papsmear. He inserted his fingers into my vagina in a downward position while supporting by buttocks region with his other hand. He manipulated the tailbone into a straightened position. He told me he could feel my tailbone was misaligned, which was interesting to me because the MRI did not show any abnormalities. I found I had more pain after the procedures for about a week, but then I felt improvement for a short time. As soon as I became active again, running, working out or even just the daily rigors of life, the pain came back. I also, over the course of year, went for monthly massages. The masseuse did some research and worked on my glut area, but to no avail. I still had no relief.

About six months ago, I began taking Tramadol, which had been prescribed some time ago. I found that it took the edge off and I was able to get through my days. I took two 50 mg tablets per day, one in the morning and one in the evening. I've found I couldn't get through the day without it and that concerned me about addiction. I then went to a pain clinic, who referred me on to a spinal doctor - he ordered a bone scan. Again, normal. No defects of the coccyx or sacrum, although he did see some deterioration in my lumbar spine, he suggested that was normal with my age. The injections did not help whatsoever and again, I felt more pain after having them. The injections themselves were also very painful.

Then, I was referred on to another specialist who performs bone tumor surgeries - Dr. Kimberly Les (see Doctors and specialists in the USA, Michigan). She had excellent referrals and reviews. She met with me and did a 30 second examination wherein she said, "you are the perfect candidate for the surgery." I was elated. Up to that point, I felt I was losing my mind and I might add I think my friends believed I was becoming a drug seeking addict. During the exam, the doctor gently pressed on the bottom of my tailbone after the resident checked all of the other usual joints and muscles in my lower back and legs. The doctor said my tailbone was floating (moving around), which was not normal. She also stated that this indicated there was a trauma. She stated good candidates for the surgery are people who had a specific incident wherein their pain began, people who had exhausted all other options, people who presented with the movement that I had and people who are generally healthy. These factors all applied to me. She explained the surgery would be very simple. She would put me under, make an incision, cut off the tip of the tailbone at the point where the movement was and put in dissolvable stitches. The only real concern was infection due to the location of the surgery. I've had other surgeries due to sports injuries and a C section and have always healed very well and quickly. She did indicate the recovery would be painful for a period, but within a matter of weeks, the pain should be gone.

I had the procedure done on December 4, 2013. So, it's been four weeks and I did heal externally very quickly - no infections or problems there. I've taken Vicodin regularly along with the tramadol, which the doctor said was fine. I have come a long way in terms of healing and can do most activities, other than anything rigorous like working out, sports or heavy lifting. The pain, however, is still there. She asked me at my post-op if the pain was a different type of pain and I wasn't able to answer that question. I just know it's pain, it still throbs, it still stabs and it hurts. After four weeks, I still can't answer that question. The pain is somewhat less, but I am still very fearful that it may never go away. I don't regret having the procedure as I felt it was my only option. For others in a similar situation, I would also recommend the surgery, especially if you can find a doctor who has experience with this problem. There are not a lot of doctors out there that deal with patients like us. I am prayerfully and faithfully optimistic that I will heal completely. I have stopped taking the Vicodin and will continue to try and wean off the Tramadol as my pain dictates.

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