My Coccyx story is not too different to many others I have read here which often begins with the GP surgery and Doctors who seem pretty disinterested in trying to help. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot good about general practice in the UK but when it comes to some areas there is very little expertise. For me, the Doctor's response was "they don't scan/x-ray that area" and that I pretty much had to put up with it, I think the phrase "self-limiting" was used at one point. Not entirely helpful. Usually I am reluctant to go private and have no medical insurance in place, but I think knowing there was something wrong and that I need to find out why made me determined to research more on the subject of Coccyx Pain and me discovering this excellent website. In terms of injury to the Coccyx area, well nothing in recent weeks preceding the onset of pain, but we have all at some point fallen on our backside's - remember the pain? I've had a few of those in my lifetime and I recall a recent one about 18 months ago when I was taken out by a sledge in the snow. Which hurt for a few hours but then nothing. So my current Coccyx pain were not a direct result of a fall, but perhaps damage is done to the bones and joints that we don't know about until later when other issues contribute. I am pretty much sure that my pain has been caused by lifestyle of reclining with feet up lounging around, sitting at a desk all day in front on a PC on a hard poor cushioned chair and having bad posture. I am able to walk, play sports, swim without problems - but sitting was a problem.
Initially I was not sure whether to go local and find a chiropractors near to where I live but to be honest I was not confident I would find someone and I really wanted to find the best and who was an expert in this field. I eventually decided on Michael Durtnall at Sayer Clinic Kensington (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London), having read many positive stories on this site and having done a little research. It was the right choice. It is not easy travelling up on the train and back and usually I would think not worth the hassle for the time spent at the Clinic but in this instance I really think it is - as many others here would agree. Michael Durtnall is a class act, yes you pay for it, but to have someone so well respected and a world expert in the field of Coccyx treatment looking after you is something very re-assuring.
In terms of treatment this is where I am at so far:
(1) Initial appointment with Michael, brief medical history and then 2 x-rays taken. Standing (front on), Standing (side-on). Within a few minutes we were looking at the images on the screen. Immediately Michael was able to see the problem with my Coccyx which was short but quite straight and the joints beginning to calcify, also a small bone spur type area which was probably contributing to the problem. The other thing he was able to see from the x-ray was that I have one leg shorter than the other and my hips were therefore slightly misaligned. This was news to me but Michael said we can sort that out too (so far the treatment for this has been the use of a heal-lift in my shoe). Michael started the physical treatment to manipulate the Coccyx externally with the aim to get some mobility into the joint where it was beginning to fuse. Fortunately, he was able to get some movement and some clicks and clunks sounds from the area was met with a "that's good". After this he used his thumper massager to loosen the muscles and after giving me some instructions on posture etc the treatment was over. Walking from the building it already sort of felt different and after a day or so I felt a definite improvement I would say 50% better.
(2) 2 weeks later, Michael asked me about level of improvement and although difficult to access I reckoned 50% better which he thought was good. Michael continued the same treatment, which was short gentle thrusts to the coccyx area and also a more general manipulation of the spine and neck which seemed needed judging by the click sounds coming out of the joints. I left feeling really quite 'sorted out' and looked forward to the next treatment.
(3) 2 weeks later. Same treatment, external manipulation of tissue and coccyx area followed by thumper massage. I am feeling like we are getting somewhere, the improvement was not as noticeable to the Coccyx area (but then I cant expect 50% every time). I would say we up are up at 60% now, I can sit now in positions where I couldn't before. I have noticed that it is more in certain positions now such as leaning back at a certain angle in the recline. The pain seems less "under" now and more out the back if that makes any sense. Michael recommending I see Martha for massage and physio next time together with his appointment.
(4) 2 weeks later. We are working from probably 60%-65% improvement now, I still have to use cushions as base on spine to make sure I don't lean back on the bit that gives me a bit of pain, but we are getting there. Michael same treatment again as above. This time is my first visit with Marta for massage and physio, this was really good and Marta is really professional in her approach. She was able to massage around the area and lower back and then onto some stretching. Since Martha's input I have continued thinking more about stretching and improving flexibility and I think doing stretching has shown some signs of helping the situation.
I will report with more updates in due course, I don't know yet whether I will get to 100% and this will all be a distant memory in a few years or whether it is just something I will have to manage and look after. We will see, I will not be able to afford to continue travelling to London for 2 week appointments longer term but for now it feels the right thing to do and you have to invest in your health and well being sometimes. Why the NHS can't do some of this I don't know, I suspect many costly treatments, injections and surgeries are performed when there could well be another way. I would highly recommend Michael at Sayer Clinics.
Note from Jon Miles:
I emailed more than a year after this story was posted, to ask for an update, as the long-term outcome of treatment is of great interest. In this case I did not get a reply.