1 year post coccygectomy

Sam, NY, USA

Posted 2020-09-20

I am now 16 months post-coccygectomy. I had a very bad car collision nearly 10 years ago and one of my many injuries was a broken coccyx. It was not initially diagnosed as such, but after putting a lot of pressure on a spine specialist I was able to get them to order standing/sitting dynamic x-rays which showed extreme movement of the coccyx when sitting, where I had horrible pain.

My other injuries from the car crash led to neck and lumbar surgery as well, and people were trying to convince me I just had referred pain from my lumbar injuries. This was incorrect and I'm happy I pushed.

I had already tried chiropractics, coccyx manipulations treatments from 2 different specialists, and coccyx nerve blocks with steroids. Nothing helped at all.

About 4 years after doing all the surgeries my lumbar needed, I finally found a surgeon in Western NY, covered by my insurance, that would do a coccyx removal. At that point I had been sitting on a cushion for nearly a decade (despite being only 30) and figured the removal might change my life for the better, and probably couldn't make it worse long term. I was having issues with some lumbar hardware as well causing me serious pain, and he was willing to remove the hardware in the same surgery; one time off work and one recovery period. Sounded good to me. I scheduled it, hoping for the best and fearing the worst.

I was told the surgery went well and I was discharged the same day. Once exposed, the coccyx was "broken, very loose, hyper mobile" The first couple weeks post-op were absolute hell. Because I had the hardware out of my lumbar, I couldn't lay on my stomach, and the pain from the coccyx removal was so bad that I couldn't lay on my back. So I could only lay on my sides for weeks. Additionally, I could not sit. At all. No cushion in the world helped, and I tried a full dozen different types. The pain was so extreme I was nearly in tears, and I have had over a dozen major surgeries in my life and am no stranger to pain.

So no sitting, minor standing, and thus laying on my side about 22 hours a day. For weeks. This caused very severe pain in my hips which I had never experienced before, and doing the stairs to my bedroom was a comically slow affair.

I was nearly paranoid about getting my incision infected accidentally, and whenever I used the bathroom I would use a large mirror to clean up to ensure nothing came anywhere near the incision. That helped for peace of mind. I also purchased a toilet seat riser with handles which was a lifesaver and highly recommended to anyone who gets this surgery.

Also, I experienced a symptom I have not seen on this site before. I had much more severe pain on the right side of my butt than the left after the surgery. All I could think was that perhaps there was some type of internal stitch issue causing pulling, but the surgeon told me not to worry about any pain or symptoms for at least 1-2 months as things calmed down.

That right sides pain ended up preventing me from being able to sit even with a cushion for 4 full weeks, even though the left side felt mostly OK after 2 weeks. It did eventually subside without further intervention and now both sides feel the same.

Despite all that post-op pain, getting this coccyx surgery was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I used to have to plan my whole day around my tailbone pain, but now more often than not I don't even think about my "tailbone area" as I call it now. The pain prevented me from driving over an hour even with a special cushion, but now I can drive for hours with no cushion. I used to not be able to sit in normal chairs, and getting through meetings was a bear at work. I refused to bring my coccyx cushion around the office with me. Now I can get through a meeting no problem.

I can even sit on the floor and play with my kids. I would say the pain is reduced 90% at rest or reclining, 80% when sitting for short or moderate lengths, and 70% reduced when sitting extended times. I still get discomfort now and again, and find myself sitting with my leg tucked under me, partly out of habit from the past 10 years and partly to relive the minor discomfort. Also of note is that if I sat too long with my broken tailbone the spike in pain I got would last for days even while resting. Now if I sit on a hard surface too long and I get a spike of pain, it subsides within minutes of getting up and moving around. Night and day difference.

Removing that broken tailbone has helped me feel significantly more normal and relieve a lot of the pain burden caused by that horrible guy who crossed over the center median to hit me all those years ago.

I returned to work after 5 and a half weeks, longer than the estimated 3 weeks. I used "the cushion" coccyx cushion for a few months after the surgery which helped a lot. My job also provided a standing desk at the office so I can stand when needed if I have a day where I'm chained to my desk.

I would 100% do this surgery again.

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