Roller Derby fall

Marie, UK

Posted 2015-06-14

I play roller derby, a contact sport on quad roller skates. During a tournament in November last year (2014), I fell and landed on top of my skate, resulting in a wheel finding its way past my shapely (at the time) bum and connecting with my coccyx. It was very painful - took me a minute or two to get up but I managed to finish the game - adrenaline is a wonderful thing!

After an uncomfortable stay in my hotel and an even worse 2.5 hour car journey home, I lay on my sofa for a few days barely able to move or get up without it hurting. The worst of it subsided after about a week but I still felt pain when sitting, especially when leaning back. I saw a doctor who gave me painkillers, told me to rest and said it could take months to get better. Painkillers helped but the pain returned after I finished the course. Went back a 2nd time in Jan 2015 and had the same treatment.

Finally in March 2015 I saw my third GP who was an Orthopedic specialist. He actually examined the area and diagnosed me with coccydynia. At this point I hadn't skated or played my sport (which I'm passionate about) for months, and after a few tears, my GP understood and told we needed to get me fixed ASAP. I was so relieved! I have a Healthcare cash plan through work so he agreed to write me an referral to any specialist I wanted to see, saying the usual next steps are surgeons who either inject steroids or remove my coccyx. Eeek!

I booked an appointment with Dr Michael Durtnall at Sayer Clinics in London (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London) after seeing the many recommendations on this site. I was unsure about going as I was paranoid I was overreacting, would get laughed out of his office and just needed a few more months rest, but luckily my close friends and family convinced me to go. Michael read my GP referral, took x-rays on the machine installed a few feet from his desk, and showed me the images on his computer screen straight away.

Turns out that when I fell, the force of the impact with my wheel had pushed the 3 (usually flexible) bones of my coccyx into each other and they had already started to fuse/calcify. So essentially I was sitting on a spike! Ouch! He did both an external and internal examination, and then started his chiropractic treatment. During this, he telling me that most doctors don't know what to do with an injured coccyx. They either inject it or cut it out, and to quote Dr Durtnall himself, "that's just silly!"

I've had 4 or 5 appointments with Michael now, and can definitely feel a difference. Its a bit of a trek getting a 1 hour train each time for a 15 min session but I'm hoping I'll be fixed eventually. Michael is always friendly and chatty - we talk about a lot during treatment and he's also welcoming to my partner when he comes with me. Lucie the receptionist also has my receipt ready for me when I finish. So the treatment itself is wonderful.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do once I use up my Healthcare Cash Plan allowance - hoping I can still afford to keep seeing Michael. I am dealing with a lot of anxiety and some depression - I miss my sport and my teammates. I miss being able to sit down without worrying - work is especially hard as I have a desk job. I'm also putting on weight which I'm worried is turning me into the other type of coccyx patient - the overweight couch potato type!

Posted 2018-10-07

It took approx 18 months of treatment with Michael, and 2 years from my original injury ... but I can safely say I'm cured!!! :) I returned to my sport in 2016, played with my team for 9 months and finally got my life back together. In 2017 I was able to achieve my life-long dream of living and working in Australia for a year. And now I'm back in the UK, I'm living in Birmingham, playing my sport for one of the top 10 teams in the UK, and looking for my next adventure.

It goes without saying I wouldn't have been able to do any of this if I hadn't been able to sort out my coccyx. As well as seeing Michael Durtnall, I also saw a sports masseuse closer to my home who worked on loosening my piriformis and other muscles around the coccyx/sacroilliac region. Both were amazing, listening to my roller coaster of emotions ranging between hope I'd get my life back and despair at my current situation. Michael in particular took great care of me (also spent some time correcting my posture and cracking my neck in our sessions!), and I credit him with essentially saving my life and my sanity.

I am happy, pain-free and so so grateful I someone believed and treated me. I've had several emails via this site asking me if treatment with Michael is worth it. One word: YES. Even if its just for an initial consultation with him or one of his team to diagnose the problem, its worth every penny. Please don't suffer. There is life after coccyx injuries. I'm living proof of that!

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