It started with a kick...

Mark, UK -

Posted 2015-03-22

My coccyx story began when I was 13. At school we started playing a stupid game where, if you bent over to tie your shoes or such like, you were entitled to get kicked in the arse. That was the mentally of 13 year old boys I guess. Anyway, one day I got a brutal kick in the rear and suffered a severely bruised coccyx. I couldn't walk properly or sit for a few days. I've never forgotten that pain. Thank you Adrian Smith!

Fast forward 23 years and my coccyx started playing up again. I initially attributed this to the fact that I had started cycling from the train station to my work. For months I ignored the pain in the hope it would go away. It didn't so I changed my bicycle seat but again after many months the problem persisted. Being typically male I battled on an on with this for a year and a half before seeing a GP.

The GP ignored my self-diagnosis that my childhood trauma had come back to haunt me and prescribed anti-inflammatories. They didn't do much so I gave up half way through the course. I visited another GP who shrugged and said there isn't much you can do about coccyx problems. Finally, I visited the first GP again who suggested steroid injections.

I wasn't wild about this approach since there was no attempt to find the cause of the problem and the treatment was potentially short term. It is useful to point out that at no point did any of the GPs suggest any other methods for diagnosing the issue or treating it. A pill for every ill, right?

Next I tried an osteopath who was more helpful but focused on hip problems as the potential cause. After a few treatments with not much progress he suggested an internal adjustment. I had read about this sometimes being a miracle cure and was hopeful. I felt a small improvement but the problem quickly returned.

I didn't return to the osteopath as I felt the treatment approach was blind trial and error and ultimately ineffective. He also suggested I try the Steroid injection which would put me back at square one.

Out of desperation I turned to the internet and found There I found listed specialists and luckily work near Dr Michael Durtnall's practice in London (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London). I booked an hour appointment and went off for yet another consultation.

This one was very different. The first thing Dr Michael said to me was "not another one." I felt like I had been diagnosed in the first two minutes.

I am 38, about 6 feet 2 inches, two stone overweight and work in IT. (Not a dating profile headline, I realise). Michael said he is getting more and more 'like me' with coccyx issues. The most common factor was sitting for years at a desk with a crap posture.

Dr Michael x-rayed me standing up with his in-office equipment and in 10 minutes we were looking at my spine and coccyx. He pointed out my joint which connects my coccyx to my sacrum was mostly fused (80 %) due to calcification which caused a loss of mobility in the coccyx.

This was the culprit for my pain as my coccyx wasn't moving out the way when I sat. The treatment plan was regular sessions to break apart the joint to get the mobility back and massage to get the muscles working properly again. He also said it was good that I didn't go for steroid injections as this can accelerate calcification. (Thank god I didn't follow the GPs advice and go past the point of no return!)

Michael also gave me some hard truths about my lifestyle, weight, posture and advice on how to make improvements.

I am about six sessions in (weekly) and it has been a slow progress but I am seeing real improvements. I can sit with much less discomfort and know how to avoid chairs and bad posture which aggravate the condition. I have also made real lifestyle changes such as getting a sit/stand desk and standing on my commute to change bad habits. I have also lost 8 kg.

I can thank and Michael's expertise and enthusiastic, interested and motivational bedside manner for the improvements so far - in my coccyx and generally.

My advice for other suffers like me is don't wait for a year to get help, don't treat the symptoms and go to an expert like Dr Michael who will diagnose and treat the actual cause of the problem. You may even end up making substantial changes to your lifestyle which improves the quality of your life. I am still amazed at the lack of knowledge, guidance and support I received from the doctors before Dr Michael.

I'm not 100% cured yet but I am thankfully on the right path.

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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