Success after a year of treatment

Sophie, UK -

Posted 2017-09-03

About 18 months ago, I started to experience coccyx pain which became so bad that normal activities such as driving started to be almost unbearable. For me, riding horses and doing a small amount of gym work including rowing machines also counts as normal activity, and both of these became very painful especially when my back rocked behind a 90 degree angle. Initially I tried to ignore it, assuming a bruise or even a tiny fracture which would heal on its own, but it just got worse. My experience with the GP was fairly typical (a mixture of genuine ignorance about coccyx issues and that syndrome where if something is relatively uncommon you initially get told you that you don't or even "can't" have it...). The pain was affecting my life more and more, even waking me at night if I moved the wrong way lying flat in bed. The route to being referred for any help on the NHS was incredibly slow, cumbersome and took so many wrong turnings that I had to give up and look elsewhere, which is how I found this website.

Like many of the others who have written their testimonials, I was starting to wonder if my life would ever be free of this problem. A proper coccyx cushion was a huge help for driving as the coccyx area was by then so inflamed that it could not take any direct contact let alone pressure. The cushion also follows me around for trips to the cinema etc and plane journeys. However, I was still in pain and unable to ride horses properly or sit on a normal seat at all. I appreciate that GPs are exactly that, generalists, but it does seem peculiar how very out of step they are on this issue. Anyone with this level of pain has an incentive to get as informed as possible and it did not take long to find out enough to know that I needed a different approach. Sifting through the testimonials I found that those for Michael Durtnall at the Sayer Clinic in London were the closest to what I felt I might need and I am so glad that I picked him (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London). By then it was summer so my initial X rays were done by a colleague of Michael's but as soon as Michael was free he talked me though what the X rays showed and what our options were, and started treatment. Even to find someone to acknowledge the problem felt like a small miracle by then, and Michael is so clearly expert in this area that you feel at last, you can start to repair this, even though the road will be long and not very nice. My congenitally backward-facing coccyx had never caused me issues until now. An unrelated serious illness had left me in bed for some months the previous year and the loss of muscle from this was just enough to mean my poor tailbone was effectively taking the pressure every time I sat down. Issues with some calcification and joints unwilling to flex and let the coccyx just tuck itself under in a less painful position were, I now see, not uncommon to those with my syndrome. What is rare is to find someone who can actually help so I am incredibly grateful to this website for putting Michael Durtnall onto my radar.

Michael was clear at the start that I was not one of the luckier cases who could be "fixed" in just a few sessions. The joints were so stiff and the muscles around them so fixed that it was going to be a long road, and my other illness makes it a bit hard for me to build any compensatory muscles in my glutes, but he has kept at it - even though at one point I started to despair and consider maybe having my coccyx out, maybe going to Paris for this, maybe this or that - you start to consider all sorts of things when you have a condition which seems so intractable. Luckily, Michael kept at it and in just over a year I would say he has got me to about 80% cured which is nothing short of a miracle when I think back to how my life was when Michael started his work. It has taken a lot of sessions, and as I neither live in London nor have any medical insurance it has not been without cost - but when I think now that I can ride a horse properly (not pitching my weight forward to keep pressure off the coccyx) or get out of a car without pain, it is all due to Michael. It makes me so sad to know that there must be so many people in the UK alone who are suffering when I am convinced Michael could help them, and the NHS seems so deaf to how wrong their teaching is on this small area of the body. In some cases people are on painkillers for years as the condition is just so incredibly badly understood by conventional medicine. My GP's reaction when I tried to discuss Michael's X rays with her was just so depressing.

In short, I would recommend anyone in the UK to bypass their GP and try to see Michael Durtnall if they possibly can. There is simply no substitute for an expert with years of specialist knowledge in this exact area, and it's just a shame he can't be cloned so that more people can benefit. Also, Michael will go out of his way to help you avoid surgery. I am mildly horrified now when I think that I was considering such a radical step. The level of improvement Michael has given me is far greater than I would have thought possible when we started, and I would have no hesitation in recommending him to anyone with a coccyx problem of any type.

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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