Pressure from fibroid caused pain

Anonymous, UK

Posted 2018-08-26

Around the summer of 2015 I started having pain when sitting down. At the beginning, I wasnít sure what it was but touching my bones I realised it was pain in the coccyx. It got worse as time passed (I could also feel it lying on my back). I started thinking about how to avoid the pain by focusing on positions that didnít bother me, but I knew it was not a solution. I couldnít just stand all day. I stopped running as it also hurt. I could not stop thinking about the pain. Additionally, I had plantar fasciitis (which started about a year earlier).

Feeling despaired I started searching solutions online and found the site. This site gave me hope. In parallel I went to the NHS. The doctor didnít seem to care much about the source of the pain. He had a list of treatments to use when a patient has such symptoms and thatís what he recommended. He sent me to see a physiotherapist who was trying to do some manipulations and gave me some exercises which were totally useless. I couldnít stop thinking about the pain.

I checked the lists of specialists and reviews in and based on the reviews I decided to make an appointment with Michael Durtnall at Sayer Clinics (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London). In November 2015, I went to see Michael. He first had me x-rayed and assessed my entire posture. His x-ray showed that my coccyx was extending outwards and was calcifying. At the beginning, I was seeing him every 2-3 weeks. Following his manipulations, I would feel a temporary relief but overall the pain was not reduced by much. Nevertheless, thanks to Michael I improved my posture, I started working in my office at a standing desk, I avoided sitting if I could, and if I had to sit I would be leaning forward. I also started practicing yoga more often. All these changes in my daily habits made me think less and less about the pain and I would only notice it at times (sitting on the train or lying on my back). Michaelís treatment had a tremendous psychological effect on me and I started believing that there is hope and that even if the pain will never go away I could live with it. Additionally, in December 2015 I started seeing one of his colleagues in the clinic (Karolina Krzaczek) who is an excellent physio, and she gave me a complementary treatment (focusing more on gluteal and pelvic muscles). Thanks to her I started doing pelvic floor exercises and realized that it also helped with the pain.

Despite all these changes, and over a year of a combination treatment of Michael and Karolina, the improvement in pain was not more than ~20%. Michael kept saying that it might be something else, and that my case seemed quite unique (my coccyx "refused" to be manipulated although the muscles around became more flexible with time).

A routine visit to a gynecologist in December 2016 has given me a new direction. The doctor mentioned that I have a very large fibroid in my uterus (which caused prolapse of the uterus, stage 2) and advised hysterectomy. He suggested that this may give me "back pain relief" (although he didn't really know much about my coccyx story). This gave me the idea that maybe my uterus was putting pressure on my body (or pulling certain muscles) in such a way that it would affect the coccyx. I told Michael the story and he believed that given all the evidence (including my anatomy and the fact that I wasnít showing much improvement over time), this is something to explore. He performed an abdominal ultrasound scan and following his examination concluded that the large uterine fibroid was involved in rotating the uterus and potentially referring pain to the coccyx, causing internal pressure especially during sitting. Given Michaelís diagnosis and his follow-up referral letter to my GP I saw a number of NHS doctors, some of them for a second opinion, as only one of them (Miss Natalia Price, surgeon, Oxford University Hospitals) actually believed that I am not completely crazy and that removing the fibroid may result in some relief in my coccyx pain. She agreed to operate and remove the fibroid (she did not think that I needed hysterectomy). The fibroid was removed in August 2017 after two years of pain and suffering.

Now it is August 2018 and I can say that the improvement in my coccyx pain is about 90%. I rarely feel the pain, except if lean backwards when I sit (which reminds me that it is not a good idea). Overall I am a new person. In the last year, I continued seeing Michael and Karolina and that helped the muscles around the coccyx and my pelvic floor muscles adjust to the new environment. The plantar fasciitis is also nearly gone. I cannot thank them enough as well as the surgeon who has done an amazing job. They changed my life.

Update, 2019-09-08

I still think about the coccyx from time to time but it really isn't a problem any more. I recently started paying more attention to it (although it's not painful at all), and I have been wondering if it is because I am starting to have bad habits again (eg. leaning backwards when I sit and work) or maybe I have another fibroid growing. I just contacted the Dr. who did my surgery and I would like to see her again to discuss it.

I have seen Michael a few times in the past year but we both didn't feel that he should do any coccyx manipulation because the original pain must have been a referral pain and the coccyx is probably in its correct place (although it's pointing a bit out). I didn't have any pain when I saw Michael.

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