Not sitting on my coccyx EVER

Caline, Birmingham, UK -

Posted 2018-12-16

I had pain in my coccyx on and off for 3-4 years. I used to cycle to work, and may have gone over a pothole (but don't remember a specific incident). Also many years ago I had major bowel surgery, maybe there is a link there? Usually the pain would improve on its own.

2 years ago, we spent a long time in the car: this triggered chronic pain which never went away. I got referral to physio which didn't help. My work bought me an expensive chair (which actually made it worse). I had to sell my bicycle. I found a stable chair without wheels the best, but still couldn't sit down for more than a few minutes at a time.

I got a referral to spinal and they put me in for steroid injection. This was an extremely painful procedure, not helped by the nurses beforehand saying not to lie on the bed because they did not understand that I couldn't sit (I had to sit for nearly 2 hours… and made a formal complaint after) The steroid injection helped! For about 5 days… but then the pain returned.

I was getting desperate and started seeing a chiropractor (also because my funny ways of trying to sit 'comfortably' were affecting my neck) The chiropractor was great, tried various different things (taping, stretches, massage, acupuncture, adjustments, ice etc) What helped most I think were the massage/acupuncture. Later I strained a muscle in my hip/thigh (surely it's all connected?) and she again did massage and stretch exercises. She thinks I have very tight muscles.

I think the main thing that helped was not sitting on coccyx EVER. Until then I would still sit, put up with the pain, take painkillers. With the problem not going away, cost of chiropractor etc I had to be more proactive. I would use a standing computer at work. Attended pilates class. I finally found a way to sit for short periods – by leaning way back in the chair and raising my feet to nearly knee height. Had a timer on my watch that regularly reminded me to get up and use the standing computer. Car passenger seat is reclined right back, and if I'm driving I recline it as far as possible.

Instead of being uncomfortable when visiting friends I have to insist on putting my feet up – it's embarrassing, but health is more important. My coccyx was never going to heal on its own – I had to proactively decide not to keep putting stress on it. It's been 6 months of improvement, and I sat for 1 hour in a meeting yesterday which would have been impossible a year ago. I'm still seeing the chiro every 6 weeks and doing stretches.

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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