Sitting slumped started the pain

Susan, UK

Posted 2016-04-03

I initially felt some discomfort after sitting slumped in an armchair for a few hours at the end of April 2015. It went off after about a week, so I thought no more about it. Then it happened again at the beginning of June, again after sitting in an armchair for a couple of hours watching TV. This time it didn't clear up so after a couple of weeks I went to my GP. She diagnosed coccydynia, told me to take paracetamol, avoid sitting and if I had to use a donut cushion.

Unfortunately my work at the time involved many hours using a computer to mark GCSE exams so avoiding sitting was difficult but I bought a coccyx cushion and attempted to persevere. After just over a month it was no better and I had started to get a pain from my sacroiliac joint, something I had suffered from previously although not for about 14 years. (I now know that it was due to the too soft coccyx cushion.) I went back to the GP who told me that it can take 12 weeks for it to clear up and hopefully it would improve now that my exam marking had finished.

I mentioned that I had thought about seeing a chiropractor as I had seen one successfully with my previous sacroiliac problem. She said a chiropractor wouldn't be able to do much for a coccyx problem but told me I could see a physiotherapist. I decided to consult a local chiropractor anyway on the assumption that I could get the sacroiliac pain sorted and ask about the coccyx.

The chiropractor was confident of being able to help me and I booked a course of 12 treatments. Initially I was hopeful. The sacroiliac pain went quickly and I thought the coccyx might settle however I started getting different sharp twinges while I was standing. I told the chiropractor who advised me about posture and how to do tasks but after the treatment course, when I was told that I only needed to go back for maintenance treatment, I didn't feel it had improved. In fact I was now getting the discomfort on standing as we'll whereas before it was only while sitting.

Having found and read about Michael Durtnall (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London) I decided to give him a try.

Michael took x-rays & told me that there was some calcification in my coccyx. No one had thought to x-ray me before. He started treating me & as I was due to fly to Chicago he advised me about ways to deal with the flight. Even after one treatment I noticed an improvement.

When I got back at the end of October we started treatment in earnest. Initially I had weekly sessions with him followed by sessions with physiotherapist Sofia for deep tissue massage & acupuncture. I am also advised to stay active & have exercises to do. I am now seeing them both monthly. It is still up and down, sometimes it is 90% better but on bad days maybe 60%. However I definitely think the trend is improvement so am persevering and wish I had come to the Sayer Clinic earlier.

Posted 2017-12-03

I certainly feel positive about the progress I have had regarding my coccyx problem, especially in recent months. I still go to Sayer Clinic now about every 6 weeks. In between visits I can now say that much of the time (at least 90%) I am not aware of feeling anything. I get the odd twinge (particularly as I approach an appointment) but that is it. I am still aware that sitting for too long is not good so I try to avoid this but if necessary I can sit for more than half an hour which when I started out I could not do. I walk or swim every day, do aqua aerobics and after much encouragement from Marta and Sofia I do Pilates.

Earlier this year I took my nieces to Florida. I used my backfriend (portable seat ) on the flight as I do for most seats which are a bit on the soft side ( I still prefer firm seats) but was pleasantly surprised at how well I coped with the flight. I stood as frequently as I could but there were periods of inevitable turbulence which caused no adverse effects when I had to remain seated.

A few weeks ago I also went to the theatre which was fine. Couldn't have imagined sitting for a whole performance when I first saw Michael.

It has not been a quick fix but then Michael never said that it would be, and that I would have to persevere and put in the effort and I currently feel as thought the effort is worth it. I am so grateful to Michael, Sofia and Marta and would recommend them to anyone.

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