Coccyx angled and calcifying

Amy, UK

Posted 2015-07-05

I started having severe coccyx pain after a slip on a wet concrete floor around 15 months ago, which resulted in me needing to take a lot of pain relief, was unable to work more than part time (I am 32 years old!) and was unable to sit down without a special cushion, and even then not for more than a few minutes at a time. The majority of my time was spent either sitting or standing (or pacing uncomfortably), with discomfort and pain with pretty much everything I did and being very limited with what I could manage.

Through the NHS, I experienced months of being told that my coccyx was just bruised and would take time to 'fix itself', seeing various NHS physios that did not know how to treat the problem and finally (after much pushing) getting an xray and MRI done, only to find that they did not even scan my whole coccyx (and then reported that nothing was wrong). By this stage (about 6 months down the track) I had started seeing some private therapists, including an osteopath, chiropractor and physiotherapist, who had all helped significantly, however I felt that progress had plateuaed and that the root of the problem (ie my bent coccyx) was not improving as I had hoped. I took the plunge and got a private MRI done, which a private therapist reviewed for me. The scan showed that my coccyx was 'hyperangulated' - bent into an awkward position that meant that sitting on it was extremely uncomfortable.

I started looking more into internal manipulations for coccyx pain and was referred to a private orthopaedic surgeon by the chiropractor that I was seeing. The chiropractor had been doing internal manipulations of my coccyx (not a pleasant experience!), which had initially helped to ease the pain a lot but had plateaued with the improvement. About 9 months in, I had an internal manipulation and steroid injection under anaesthetic with the surgeon. It was not a good experience at all. I was in a huge amount of pain afterwards and was unable to sit at all for 3 weeks, needing to take a month off work to recover and only getting a very small amount of improvement at the end of it. The surgeon recommended further manipulations and injections, which I was really not keen on. I have heard that a lot of people respond well to this procedure, unfortunately I was not one of those!

By this point (10 months in) I was desperate for another solution. I was still only on part time hours and duties at work and was in some degree of pain all of the time, often at quite high levels. It was then that I came across, where I kept seeing Dr Michael Durtnall's name coming up with positive reviews (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London). I started seeing him 5 months ago, and although it has been slow going, I feel that I am in the best possible hands with him with his wealth of experience and knowledge on coccyx pain. He has been supportive, encouraging and realistic about my treatment and I have always felt confident with his treatment and value his opinion and advice. When I saw him, he immediately x-rayed my coccyx and found that the top joint of my coccyx was slightly bent backwards and had started to calcify, resulting in it being impacted on every time I sat down (this hadn't been picked up/pointed out by anyone else but explained what I had been feeling perfectly). In addition to that, the bottom segments were also hyper-angulated, bending sharply forwards. He did an internal assessment (by this stage I was immune to the horrors) and found that it was very stiff, with less than 15% 'normal' movement after the first session. At this point, I was told by him that he was hopeful for improvement, but that everyone responded differently and it could be anywhere from a few sessions to months before seeing significant improvement. Unfortunately I have fallen into the slower progressing category, however have continued to get gradual improvement throughout the process. The first few manipulations were very painful and resulted in worsening pain for a week or so after each, however this improved dramatically as it started moving more. I now have over 50% 'normal' movement in my coccyx, with even more improvement over the past couple of sessions. I am currently able to work 4 days per week, still with modified sitting but for longer periods - a lot more than before I started seeing him. Although the treatment has been slow to progress, it has given me more improvement than I have had with any other treatment and has definitely been worth it in relation to my pain levels and improved ability to do more 'normal' things. I only wish that I had come across him sooner. Fingers are all crossed that it continues improving along the same track!

It has amazed me how poorly understood coccyx pain is and also how incredibly debilitating it can be. I hope that other people continue to find this forum as helpful as I did!

Amy (London)

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.

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