Coccyx removal after a year of pain

Rachael, USA -

Posted 2014-04-06

First off, I want to thank everyone who has contributed their stories on this website. It has made my decision to have my coccyx removed so much easier.

I am 34 years old and from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have always had some minor trouble with my tailbone since I fell on the ice when I was little, but nothing that slowed me down or affected me on a daily basis. Then about a year ago (April 2013) I had to sit in a 3 day work conference which caused a great amount of pain, then I got into crew rowing. The pain got so bad that I finally went to the doctor and had x-rays taken. They told me that nothing was broken, and it was probably just inflamed so they gave me some anti-inflammatory pills to take and said to "stay off my tailbone for 2 weeks."

I did that and started to feel a little better. Then I got into biking (I know, not a smart move on my part). The pain after my long biking trips was absolutely unbearable. I ended up switching doctors and they agreed that it was more than just inflamed. I was sent to a physical therapist for external and internal physical therapy. It was so painful that I would tear up every time and dreaded going. After 8 sessions the physical therapist referred me to a pain clinic.

This past February I received my first round of pain injections, and then the second only 3 weeks later. On top of that, I had to go see a 2nd physical therapist and continue to take my anti-inflammatory pain meds, and whenever I was sitting I was using a coccyx pillow. Even with all of this, the pain was still there (although not quite as intense). After insisting that I be referred to a specialist, my doctor referred me to the University of Michigan for possible coccyx removal. The wait to get in for my first appointment was 4 months, and then IF it was agreed that I was a good candidate for the surgery, it would have been an additional 4 months.

I knew I could not wait that long, and I found this website. I saw that someone had gone to Henry Ford Hospital and had this surgery through Dr. Bartol (see Doctors and specialists in the USA, Michigan). I called his office and they were able to get me in to see the doctor in 3 weeks. I had that appointment yesterday, and was told that my tailbone was very malformed (most likely had been broken at some point over the last year). Dr. Bartol told me that I was a great candidate for this surgery, and was able to schedule my surgery in 3 weeks (4/24/14). Although I am scared, anxious, and nervous for this surgery, I am ready to have this all over and behind me so that I can move on with my life. I will give an update when I am done with the surgery.

Thanks again to everyone, and I wish you all the best of luck! Rachael

Update, 2014-05-25


I finally had my surgery on April 24th. Immediately upon waking up I was in intense pain. However, once I rolled onto my side and was given some morphine, I became quite comfortable. I only stayed in the hospital for about 24 hours, and then was ready to come home. The hospital sent me home with a ton of gauze/tape/tagaderm patches.


I live about 3 hours from the hospital, so I had made a make-shift bed in the back of my SUV and had my boyfriend drive (Although I should say that they gave me a shot of morphine just before leaving, along with 3 oxys). I also made sure that they stopped giving me the drip IV solutions about 4 hours prior to leaving the hospital so that I wouldn't have to use the bathroom on the drive home.

I made sure to have everything I needed all ready at home. This included a raised toilet seat, antibacterial soap (I went with the yellow dial soap), lots of soft diet options (I had no intention of having a bowl movement for at least a few days), and a bedside table set up with anything I might need.


I would have to say that so far, my recovery process has been much better than expected. I started weaning myself off of the pain pills yesterday, and have only been taking one before I go to bed every night. I find that they make me nauseous and I'm not very alert when taking them. I am still taking a daily stool softener and anti-inflammatory. (Although I have not had a bowl movement for almost a week now - due to anesthesia and my soft food diet).

My biggest complaint right now is the actual incision. I have no clue why the surgeon wouldn't make a straight cut………..but he didn't. I have about a 2-3 inch crooked incision on the inside of my left butt cheek. My surgeon never did come to see me after my surgery, but his assistant did. He said that they had used internal stitches and then some surgical glue to keep the rest of the incision closed. That being said, the incision is not closed as well as it should be. Much of it was left open with some of the "meat" exposed (I can clearly see it under the glue). Therefore, it has started to ooze some pretty gross stuff. I am keeping a close eye on it for fear of infection. I should also mention that no one even checked the wound before I left the hospital – they all kept saying that they wanted to leave it alone and keep it bandaged. That just amazes me.

I have found that the gauze and tagaderm tape the hospital sent me home with makes me have an allergic itchy reaction, the gauze sticks to the wound causing it to hurt, and it kept falling off. So, I had my mom go out and grab me a bag of depends diapers (no, NOT to go to the bathroom in). I know – sounds strange. However, they have been a lifesaver. It keeps a good secure cover on the wound while allowing it to breathe a little bit and heal.


At this point the worse thing about all of this is my hip/low back pain. This is from having to lay on only my sides and stomach. I go for a 30 minute walk every day which is great. I have tried sitting for about 4 minutes at a time. It is difficult, but not as painful as I had anticipated. Every day I am going to try to add a few minutes. I am no longer on any pain medication, and am only taking a daily anti-inflammatory. My wound is a great big scab – which is good because there is no more oozing. My plan is to go back to work next week, after only being off for about 3 weeks. My company put a podium in my office so that I can stand and set a laptop on it to get my work done. I also plan on kneeling on my work chair when my feet start to hurt from standing.

I will continue to post updates every so often. My advice for anyone considering this surgery is this – please know that EVERY experience is completely different. Although this website is amazing, you need to know that your story will not end up being the same as anyone else's. About a week before going into surgery I received an email from someone who saw my story on here. She said I was rushing into things and I should reconsider surgery. For a brief moment I wondered if that were true. Then I realized that it was MY decision, and I was doing what was right for me. At this point I have absolutely NO regrets, and have every intention of being back on my bike riding 15 miles a day by summer 2015! I also plan on completing a 5k this coming August. This surgery is what you make of it. Please try to stay positive and although you will have some setbacks, I am pretty confident you will end up better than you were before having the surgery.

Update, 2015-12-13

I ran the 5k that August, and had no problems! Things appeared to be on the up and up and I was back to my active self running, walking, playing tennis, etc. Sitting became just a normal every day thing and I started to forget about the past pain. Then October came (about 6 months after my surgery). I am not exactly sure what happened, but some (not all) of the pain returned. Things were terrible for about two months and I became pretty sad thinking that I would officially have to live the rest of my life dealing with this pain. I saw my doctor and was told that I probably rushed into my activities too fast, not giving my nerves enough time to heal. He told me that my only activity should be walking for at least a few months. This helped and I started to feel better.

Then in January 2015 I found out I was pregnant (only 8 months after my surgery). I became worried that the extra baby weight would cause things to flare up again, but it didn't! I can actually say that I had zero pain in that area my entire pregnancy. I ended up having a c-section to avoid extra trauma to that area, and everything went well. I have not experienced any tailbone area pain for over a year now. I would absolutely say that the surgery was a success.

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