I am a 60 year old female and my coccyx pain started 3 years ago, May 2014, without any obvious cause. I was also suffering from painful Achilles tendons at this time so walking and standing was difficult. After a few weeks I went to my GP who recommended painkillers and to try to avoid pressure on my coccyx. He said that very often it was a complaint that took a long time to heal.
A few months passed without any improvement, indeed it seemed to worsen, so I returned to my GP again. Stronger painkillers were advised, but no real help was forthcoming and the painkillers failed to provide much relief. I was also worried about masking the pain in case I was unknowingly making the situation worse.
I mostly avoided sitting down and I was using a 'doughnut' type cushion, which didn't really seem to help. When I needed to sit I preferred to sit sideways on one buttock or the other to try to avoid pain. Any pressure caused pain and an almost constant, very uncomfortable burning / tingling type sensation radiated across my lower back & buttocks
I struggled on for several more months and during this time I went to a cranial osteopath for a course of treatments. Whilst this was non-invasive and very relaxing it made no difference to my condition. I also went to an orthodox osteopath who diagnosed a sacroiliac problem for which he treated me. The result was a dreadful back ache for about two weeks but no improvement in the coccyx area.
I then read on the internet about insisting on an x-ray to provide a standing and a sitting view of the coccyx in case of dislocation. I returned to my GP and requested this type of x-ray. The GP wasn't very taken with the idea and I felt as though he thought it would be a waste of time, I also got the impression that he thought the pain was my imagination.
Eventually he agreed to request an x-ray and gave me the request form to take to the local hospital. My husband took me straight to the hospital and we sat in the waiting room. My name was called and a very insensitive nurse announced, in the middle of a full waiting room, that I needn't bother staying as they didn't x-ray the coccyx area and my GP should have known better than to have sent me here. I asked her 'What if it's broken or dislocated ?' and her reply was that it didn't matter as they wouldn't treat it anyway, (WHY???) she handed me the request form back and called her next patient.
I was very upset and in tears, my husband suggested that we go directly to another hospital, which we did. The nurse at the next hospital also told me that it wasn't the hospitals' policy to x-ray the coccyx but as she was a sufferer herself she said she would ask. They did x-ray me but only in a sitting position.
The constant pain, added to continued painful feet/ankles, was exhausting and to feel that nobody was interested in helping me was despairing. My most comfortable position was lying on my front but after a short time this made my neck painful. I just didn't know where to put myself.
I returned to my GP for the result of the x-ray. He said all was perfectly normal, it would just take time to heal, continue with painkillers, some extreme cases could have steroid injections.
So I just struggled on, sometimes feeling a bit better and hoping I had turned a corner. I tried to ignore it and in April 2016 we went on holiday. It was a long flight, but with frequent standing and walking around it was manageable. However the return journey, which involved a very uncomfortable 'pounding' speedboat transfer, as well as the long flight, proved to worsen my pain.
I was so unhappy, I had now been suffering for two years, I felt exhausted and there was no relief. I again went to my GP and insisted that he refer me to a specialist with a view to having a scan.
In May 2016 I saw a hip / pelvis specialist who arranged a scan. At the same time I saw a foot / ankle specialist who arranged a scan for my feet / ankles.
The outcome of these scans was that my right foot and ankle needed an operation and my pelvic area didn't show my coccyx clearly enough so another scan was arranged. The result of this second scan apparently showed my coccyx to be normal. The specialist referred me back to the GP to ask for another referral to a spinal specialist.
A couple of months later I had an operation on my right foot & ankle which meant I had to wear a cast and have my leg immobile and elevated for six weeks. I was concerned that laying on my back would have an effect on my coccyx so asked the hospital staff for advice – they didn't know what coccydinia was!!
After six weeks I transferred to an aircast boot and crutches. There had been no improvement in my coccyx pain. I couldn't stand or sit with any comfort and lying down wasn't great either.
I went to my GP again to ask why I hadn't heard about the spinal specialist referral. The GP said it was up to the original specialist to refer me and the original specialist said no, it was the GP. Eventually, the GP said he would refer me as an emergency. This was in November 2016 – I am still waiting ……………
At this time I discovered this website and made an appointment to see Michael Durtnall (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London).
WITHIN 15 MINS OF SEEING MICHAEL HE HAD TAKEN MY HISTORY AND TWO X-RAYS AND GAVE ME A CLEAR DIAGNOSIS!!!!
What a relief. The x-rays clearly showed some calcification of the top joint of my coccyx which caused it to be out of the correct alignment. Michael said that he didn't know if he could help as there appeared to be a fair amount of calcification, but he examined me and straight away said he could feel some movement. Had I left it another 6-12 months it probably would have fused and would be beyond movement. The cause was quite likely to have been an old accident from years ago - I rode (and fell off !) horses for many years when I was younger.
Michael has said that exercise and movement will be a big help whilst undergoing treatment. Unfortunately, I am at a bit of a disadvantage here as my ankle operation did not quite go according to plan and I have only just stopped using crutches 9 months after the operation, so my progress is a bit slow. However, there is much progress !!
I have now had around 8 treatments with Michael and his physio Marta and I'm around 75% better. Michael is confident that we will achieve 100%.
Don't suffer, get the right treatment – see Michael Durtnall at the Sayer Clinic for diagnosis and treatment.
(Still no word from the GP regarding a referral, six months later …)