Michael Durtnall, DC

Patrick Foye

Chairman: Sayer Back Pain Clinics, London. Website: www.sayerclinics.com

Contact details and personal experiences of patients treated by Michael Durtnall are available on the list of UK specialists (London).

Chiropractic and acupuncture works for coccyx pain/dislocation

Original posting, 2003-03-16:

As a chiropractor practising for twenty years in central London I have treated well over a hundred cases of coccygeal pain - many due to dislocation after a fall or during pregnancy or as referred pain from sacro-iliac or lumbo-sacral disc or facet joint lesions. I have been successful in every case to resolve all symptoms of pain and disability using manipulation treatment aimed at restoring function to joints which are locked or dislocated/subluxated whilst reducing mobility in hypermobile (loose or unstable) joints by core stability exercises and postural rehabilitation. Specifically, careful and skilled coccygeal manipulation is a crucial factor for good results.

Update, 2004-10-10:

Most of the above cases were of relatively recent onset - up to twelve weeks - and most responded rapidly to treatment. Since my listing on www.coccyx.org I have treated very many more people who have suffered coccyx pain of much longer duration (up to thirty years) and who have, in many cases, had multiple cortisone injections (up to fifteen injections in one case). I have reviewed these cases and have concluded that approximately 70% of these patients reported improvement of 75-100% in symptoms.

I suspect that cortisone injections damage the coccygeal joint cartilage thus accelerating calcification and fusion of the joint and thereby minimising any chance of regaining normal pain-free joint function, particularly when repeated many times. Of course it will usually reduce the pain temporarily but without having regained any improvement in joint mobility and or position. So, the longer the delay in manipulative treatment after onset of pain or injury and the more cortisone injections tend to make the condition more difficult to treat effectively.

Many patients bring their x-rays and MRI scans from referring GPs which is very helpful - but in several cases the MRI scans missed the lower sacrum and coccygeal joints completely. Many patients have been prescribed anti-depressants. Many patients have not had any examination of the actual area of pain.

In summary, when coccyx pain is of long duration and if coccygeal joints are completely fused, especially in extension (bent backwards) and more particularly if the person is thin (lacking padding), then the chances of improvement are reduced dramatically. In these cases the last option is surgical removal. But - here's a possibility - buttock implants for thin patients - it is performed for cosmetic reasons, so why not to reduce agonising pressure on a prominent, fused coccyx?

I have been consulted by email by many patients, osteopaths, physiotherapists and chiropractors from all over the world via www.coccyx.org and have done my best to explain treatment and techniques. I am certainly still learning and I only wish I could have helped more of those suffering this painful and demoralising condition.

Update, 2006-07-02:

Over the last two years I have been seeing a higher proportion of overweight, very sedentary, typically 'IT'/computer patients in their 30's to 60's with extended (bent backwards) and calcifying or osteoarthritic sacro-coccygeal joints. There has typically been no significant history of traumatic injury.

This is clearly shown on standing lateral coccyx x-rays which are VERY closely collimated (angled, narrowed down and lead shielded) to ABSOLUTELY MINIMISE the area of the x-ray and avoid pelvic organs, especially testes and ovaries. Of course even these x-rays are not taken if there is any chance of pregnancy.

Most patients had been refused x-ray or MRI evaluation in NHS hospitals from all parts of the UK where standard x-rays ( without extreme collimation) of the entire pelvis would have had to routinely be taken.

I have concluded that most of these cases have been caused by long-term leaning back and slumping in bad car, office, and home seating at the computer or TV which, with the pelvis slid-forward against the leading edge of what Homer Simpson calls 'an arsegroove', over time, produces a depression in the middle of the seat cushioning with a frontal ridge against which the coccyx is pressed backwards, gradually over months and years, into extension.

The higher the person's BMI (BODY MASS INDEX) or more overweight they are, the greater this pressure on the coccyx.

I treat but also IMPORTANTLY help my patients to ensure their employer gets them a Swedish HAG Credo or HO4 chair WITH neckrest... (these chairs are fantastic but expensive)... which allows the chair to recline RIGHT BACK at a dramatic angle with a supporting neckrest for surfing the net, phoning and talking , BUT can then tilt far forward with the feet tucked under the chair & thighs tilted down at 25 degrees & 'back straight' to work on the keyboard... which takes all pressure off the coccyx and gives good working posture with no neck strain! I love them...all my clinic staff and family have had them over the last 20 years. Find a HAG chair supplier and try them out as I have described.

When these coccydynia patients have been previously assessed or treated medically, in my opinion, they have generally been misdiagnosed with the assumption that it is the more distal, flexed and supposedly hypermobile coccygeal joints which are the cause of the chronic and often extreme pain.

Mobilisation at the correct level, patient exercises which I have developed, medical acupuncture to acutely focus the healing process and correct seating brings good and rapid resolution in most cases. Acupuncture around the joint is designed to OVERWHELM the relevant brain area linked to the chronic coccyx pain and which has typically become hypersensitive and which is easily triggered by emotional upset and stress and which potentiates the onset and perception of acute pain.

There are some cases when it is too late and where the joint cannot be mobilised sufficiently to improve symptoms.

I have received many more requests for help and advice from coccydynia sufferers, osteopaths, physiotherapists doctors and chiropractors from all over the world thanks to www.coccyx.org and have done my best to liase,train and explain my evolving treatment techniques and protocols.

This research and continuing re-evaluation of treatment protocols has been extremely useful in improving results in patient pain reduction and improved function in my practice. I have been heartened by positive reports via email from chiropractors and therapists around the world who are learning from my experience.

My advice is :-

Update, 2007-05-27:

In April 2007 we installed and have seen the benefit of using the new Fuji Computed Digital x-ray system at Sayer Clinic, Kensington for very high quality x-ray imaging of the spine, pelvic and coccyx joints. We can now manipulate and magnify the images and more precisely show the coccyx sufferer the position and condition of the joints, make a clearer diagnosis and better explain the likely timescale for improvement of symptoms.

I have been seeing more sedentary, computer/IT patients suffering coccyx pain than ever and usually with associated postural problems affecting the whole spine.

More and more patients from all over the world are flying in to see me in London UK for a course of treatment.

Update, 2009-11-29:

Since my last update I have focused on and and attended courses on pelvic pain in Europe and London and I am now a listed specialist at 'International Pelvic Pain Society and included in Tatler's 'Britain's 250 Best Private Doctors'.

In the last two years, in addition to increasing numbers of people from all parts of the UK and world with coccydynia, coccyx fractures, dislocations, arthrosis, coccygeus muscle spasm & fibrosis, I have successfully diagnosed and treated many difficult cases of referred pelvic pain:

'Pudendal Nerve Entrapment (PNE)' and pelvic neuralgia, where nerves become compressed or inflamed near the ischium or "sitting bones" area of the pelvis with referred pain into the perineum, abdomen and buttocks. Many patients had pain on sitting, usually one-sided with burning, numbness and parasthesia in the pelvis near the sacrum and coccyx which can radiate to the perineum, vulva, inner thighs, lower abdomen and groins.

Misalignment or fixation of the sacroiliac joints, pubic symphysis, spine or coccyx was often causative or a perpetuating factor and was treated using manipulation, myofascial connective tissue techniques, acupuncture and exercises to reduce nerve compression, muscle spasm and inflammation. I have also treated many cases of 'abdominal wall myofascial pain' seen often after caesarian section.

My chiropractic colleagues Robert Griffiths and Chris Berlingieri are also very experienced in coccyx treatment and our computed digital x-ray system has proved really invaluable to patients with its close-detail, x-ray imaging of the spine, pelvic and coccyx joints.

Update, 2009-12-27:

My real and increasing concern is the number of coccyx and pelvic pain patients I see who are "out of it" on a cocktail of painkillers and NSAIDs, muscle relaxants and Pregabalin (Lyrica) from pain clinics. Because of these drugs they feel woozy and tired, cant work and their social life and interests disappear . Many lie around and become obese, fibromyalgic and depressed. Then antidepressants and stronger Morphine-based painkillers are prescribed ensuring that most will never work again ( 95% of people off work for 12 months will never work again!)

Rather than long waits for pain clinics and orthopaedic referrals for cortisone injections, these sufferers need to ask their GPs to refer and ideally fund them quickly to specialised chiropractors, osteopaths and physical therapists to properly diagnose and to help maintain them at work with physical treatment, ergonomic advice and exercises. This way, most patients will do well while the few needing surgery could be referred on quickly to experienced coccyx surgeons.

Update, 2011-10-11:

I was elected 'Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine' in 2010 and I am now studying for an MSc in Performing Arts Medicine at University College London Medical School. Whilst studying part-time at UCL, I plan to write research papers for medical journal publication on coccyx pain utilising our large collection of digital computed x-ray images of coccyx injuries at Sayer Clinics.

I attended the unique and brilliant course on ''Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction'' with Dr Rhonda Kotarinos at St Georges Hospital, London in September 2011. Rhonda is the leading expert in physical therapy treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction and urogynaelogical pathology and teaches practical, hands-on techniques to help patients suffering acute and chronic pelvic pain syndromes. Her evaluation procedure assessed external myofascial tissues in the abdomen, legs, low back, pelvis and buttocks in accordance with current research findings which confirm a correlation between these external tissues and pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic pain. Rhonda's coursework focussed on assessment of the health and function of abdominal and pelvic floor muscles with pelvic examination and treatment using physical myofascial tissue manipulation and acupuncture to resolve dysfunction and pain.

More patients with referred pelvic floor and vulvar pain related to coccyx and sacro-iliac dysfunction travel to us for treatment from around the globe and achieve symptomatic success and resolution of dysfunction at Sayer Clinics: Kensington.

We successfully treat ever increasing numbers of coccyx pain sufferers who act on the message not to delay so many months and years before making the simple step to independently obtain a proper diagnosis, logical physical treatment, freedom from pain and renewed happiness.

Update, 2013-08-04:

I will present a whole-day Workshop to 60 consultants on Coccyx, Sacroiliac, Pelvic Pain Diagnosis & Treatment at the Eighth Interdisciplinary World Congress on Low Back & Pelvic Pain, to be held in Dubai, on November 2nd 2013. This unique conference is held every three years around the globe. Previously held in Los Angeles in 2010 and Barcelona in 2007.

I am still working full-time, treating coccyx and pelvic pain patients as well as all the more usual problems such as back pain and neck pain at Kensington W8. I also plan to conduct further research into sacroiliac and coccyx joint treatment.

For the first time I will be practising a short clinic in the City at our beautiful new practice, after its first 25 years at Broadgate EC2, now recently reopened at 80, Coleman Street, EC2 near to Moorgate, Bank and Liverpool Street stations.

I have just completed my Masters in Performing Arts Medicine - specialist treatment of musicians and dancers and research thesis - MSc at University College London - UCL.

I have accepted the offer of a 7 year MPhil / PhD place at UCL Institute of Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Science, Stanmore RNOH , working with the Institute of Child health (ICH), Great Ormond Street Hospital from December 2013 to research stimulation and equalisation of long-bone growth in children with leg-length-difference before cessation of growth to minimise compensatory scoliosis progression of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.

Outlook on research: Using the system that I have just perfected during my MSc research I will accurately measure the leg-length of growing children with LASER & Ultrasound, which avoids use of x-rays. My future research plans will involve (monthly) measurements of children's leg-lengths using this safe and accurate US/LASER to assess while actively accelerating and equalising growth in length of lower-limb long-bones of the significantly shorter leg by physical measures before cessation of growth. Current surgical shortening by stapling the long-bone growth plate of the longer leg or lengthening the shorter leg by Ilizarov apparatus (painful, risk of side effects and injury) or Dr Paley internal methods (effective but extremely high cost). PhD Supervisors: Professor Gordon Blunn - Director: Institute of Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Science, UCL, Mr Andreas Roposch FRCS - Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon and Epidemiologist, UCL, Professor Sandra Shefelbine - Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, North Eastern University, Boston, USA.

Update, 2015-01-04:

The main change in the last year and a half has been the increasing proportion of pelvic pain patients from the UK, Europe and further afield who visit for treatment from all over the world. We have seen so many people in such agony and misery who have suffered for so long with coccyx and pelvic pain, so over-medicated that they have become bed-bound, depressed, muscle-wasted, miserable and lost! But we get them back to health!!!

We get even better results now with our expanded team of brilliant Masters pelvic pain Physical Therapists who treat our patients with such caring, thoughtful, gifted, hands-on bodywork and precise internal trigger-point and myo-fascial stretch therapy for pudendal neuralgia, female pelvic pain and coccygeal pain treatment.

I plan to follow up the Dubai Conference by giving further Coccyx and Pelvic pain workshops and lectures at various conferances and the World Congress on Low Back and Pelvic Pain in Singapore 2016. This year I was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Chiropractors in addition to my Fellowship of the Royal Society of Medicine and I am now a Master of Science (MSc) in Performing Arts Medicine from UCL. A number of potential patients email to ask if I still treat patients due to my now 7 years of research at University College London (UCL), but to clarify, I still practise full-time, in addition to the part-time UCL research. I gave up alcohol, newspapers and TV for the last few years to allow time to do it all.

Our patients continue to fall into four clear groups:

  1. We treat a perpetual flow of young mothers in agony with backward or sideways twisted dislocation of the sacrococcygeal joint caused by ventouse or forceps deliveries. These severe-pain-suffering women have typically been ignored or fobbed off by their GPs and hospital doctors when they complained of their severe tailbone pain which started after the epidural wore off and which then went on and on until they got to see us usually 4-6 weeks later for our simple and highly successful treatment.
  2. We see many overweight men and women who sit poorly on bad seating. We treat them and guide them to lose weight, advise them to change their seating, motivate them to exercise constantly, move more and work standing up - even when their coccyx pain has completely gone. We aim to change their future health! The BIG MESSAGE to everybody is to STOP SITTING SO MUCH - we're nearly all turning into inactive and heavy doughnut-shaped people. Because we're almost all overweight we think it's normal - but it isn't - we're losing track of reality and deaf to our future misery and ill-health.
  3. We are consulted by a smaller proportion of active, sporty people and riders who fall badly and dislocate their coccyx and do very well with our careful, xray-guided manipulation and manual treatment, provided they haven't left it too long and the coccyx joints have calcified and fused.
  4. Another small group are thinner people or those who have lost 'buttock muscle mass' over a few years or after a diet or illness in middle age who have then developed a bony spur, spicule or inflammatory area at the tip of the Coccyx. This usually happens when the top coccygeal joint is bent backwards or straightened and the Coccyx has become stiff so it is like 'sitting on a spike'.

But the UNIVERSAL problem is that everybody who has Coccyx dislocation or pain SITS TO ONE SIDE on chairs, sofas and in the car which creates constant pressure on the muscles on that side of the coccyx which become unilaterally or one-sidedly fibrotic, painful and highly pain-sensitive with perpetual 'coccyx-guarding spasm'. This gradually results in 'Pudendal Nerve Entrapment (PNE)' and pelvic neuralgia, where the nerves become compressed or inflamed near the ischium or "sitting bones" with numbness or altered sensation and pain via the nerve branches which supply the rectum, the pelvic floor, the vulva and vagina, the clitoris, inner thigh and the lower abdomen. We also treat many male patients who complain of pain or deep ache referred to testicles and penis which relates clearly to their coccyx pain but which rapidly resolves with specific manipulation of the sacrococcygeal and sacroiliac joints.

Sayer Clinics 'Pelvic Pain Teams' of chiropractors, osteopaths, acupuncturists and Physical Therapists are highly regarded by our patients as our unique knowledge and ability with efficient diagnosis, effective treatment and intelligent advice has become even more successful.

Update, 2016-08-21:

On 8th and 9th July 2016 I presented my neuromusculoskeletal coccyx and pelvic pain rationale and techniques over two days in beautiful Paris at the world's first Coccyx Symposium organised by Dr Jean-Yves Maigne and Professor Levon Doursounian.

It was wonderful to finally meet, discuss and exchange ideas with world experts practising many different approaches to coccyx and pelvic pain.

I spoke as specialist in coccyx and pelvic manipulation, physical therapy and intense exercise rehabilitation. My clear message was the need to regain pain-free pelvic and coccyx function while absolutely avoiding drugs which block healing.

I was pleased that Dr Maigne and many of the doctors, specialists and surgeons saw their approaches as the 'last resort' and concluded that an effective, drug-free, minimal-intervention manual approach should be the first choice. The reality is that there are so few experienced hands-on coccyx and pelvic manipulators in the world.

Jon Miles was the star of the Paris gathering for his eloquent presentations on the history of coccydynia and on his experience of dealing with chronic coccydynia. Jon's unstinting work via his coccyx.org website for fellow coccyx sufferers is the pivotal point which facilitated this exciting global Coccyx Symposium in Paris.

In the last year Sayer Clinics Coccyx and Pelvic Pain team of physical therapists, acupuncturists, osteopaths and chiropractors has confirmed our position as global leaders treating sufferers who travel from around the world for extended treatment stays finally to resolve their neuromusculoskeletal coccyx and pelvic pain conditions.

As always the message is don't delay in seeking active, manual treatment. Tailbone pain suffered for several years is much harder and takes longer to cure and rehabilitate than tailbone pain of weeks' or months' duration which is usually straightforward for us to treat.

Update, 2019-03-30:

Since my last update 3 years ago in 2016 my daily clinical focus is on diagnosing and treating patients suffering coccyx pain and dysfunction, sitting-related pudendal neuralgia and musculoskeletal pelvic pain with over half my patients travelling from abroad for a few days and returning at intervals, with good results.

In 2017 I completed the required 42 modules and was awarded the FIFA diploma in Football Medicine.

I was invited to lecture at the 2nd Symposium on Coccyx and Pelvic Pain Disorders, in Dordrecht, Holland in June 2018 on my manual treatment protocols for Coccyx pain, Pudendal Neuralgia and pelvic pain which are very closely interlinked in many cases.

I really loved meeting and sharing ideas with old colleagues as well as excellent, highly-trained and like-minded Dutch pelvic physiotherapists and felt for the first time that I had finally found my 'family' of practitioners. I lectured on complex coccyx and pelvic pain connections and how to manually treat them, as I had learned hands-on from the gurus of pelvic pain; Drs' Amy Stein, Rhonda Kotarinos and Stephanie Prendergast. My presentation was well received and referred to as 'inspirational' by the Physical Therapists I so admire.


I have been consulted by many more patients with coccyx dislocation after childbirth, particularly with Ventouse. I was approached by a major London hospital to advise on why there are increasing numbers of coccyx fractures and dislocations during forceps and Ventouse-assisted childbirth. My advice and the solution lay in improving operators poor Ventouse technique relative to sacral and coccyx anatomy with use of less force and the correct angle of traction at different stages.

Squatting Childbirth is safer, quicker, less injurious with the 'mother in-control'. Childbirth is more challenging in the 21st Century because women are generally far older at childbirth than during the 1960s, 70's and 80's and more overweight and less physically fit, with stiffer joints and ligaments.

In hospital, expectant mothers are not generally enabled to squat, kneel or move around (which is central to natural childbirth) due to the 'stranded beetle' supine position required for monitoring in medically-controlling childbirth. Watch any TV programme about childbirth and we see a woman lying on her back with painful, slow, completely medicalised labour which increasingly ends in exhaustion and too frequently a Caesarian section or forceps, ventouse or episiotomy with varying degrees of trauma to mother and child.

The problem with lying on your back or sitting semi-reclined on your sacrum and tailbone is that the birth canal opening, the pelvic outlet, is reduced by as much as 30%. We, Homo sapiens, uniquely have very large-brained offspring relative to size of pelvic outlet compared to all other primates. Overlapping of the cranial bones at the fontanelles helps but without gravity, reclining means 'nothing to push against'. Modern women at childbirth in their late thirties are often physically disconnected, weak and unfit, overweight, can't push, find labour psychologically stressful and are quickly exhausted. Maximising the pelvic pathway for the baby's birth is just common sense. There is no good, practical medical reason for giving birth on your back - and every reason to give birth in a safer position that works with gravity, female anatomy and physiology.

Supported squatting or kneeling on all fours gives the pubis, sacroiliac joints and sacro-coccygeal joints freedom to stretch apart under the influence of the hormone relaxin and lets the unrestricted coccyx move backwards as the baby passes through the birth canal. This always happened with all mammals - except for women in the last 200 years in the 'civilised' western world since Emperor Louis XIV decided on supine childbirth for his courtiers to witness the birth of his heir, and it has been the fashion since.

Lying on your back narrows the birthing canal and increases the risk to the baby of:

and increased risk for the mother of:

A healthy flexible tailbone should extend backwards as the baby's head descends. Forceps or ventouse during childbirth can cause backwards dislocation of the coccyx, with extreme ongoing pain after the birth until manipulated by an experienced expert in joint manipulation back to a normal range of movement.

My study and experience of sacroiliac movement in squatting childbirth lead me to the following logical mechanism:

The mother's body weight acts down through the hip joints which in tandem with the loosening of the sacroiliac and pubic symphysis ligaments, act to flare the lower pelvic outlet. As delivery nears, the mother squats lower with her legs wider apart until the large thigh adductor muscles strongly stretch apart the symphysis pubis. Simultaneously the inferior sacrum glides posteriorally relative to the ilia under the pressure of the engaged foetal head bearing constantly down with gravity and maternal contractions. This further increases the outlet, the cervix dilates fully and effectively delivers the baby's head. The whole process of hormonal release and cervical dilatation is complex and finely tuned with body movement, gravity and soft-tissue stretching.

This delicate process is disrupted by lying supine with an epidural, often followed by injection of syntocinon to kick-start contractions which are slow (due to supine position) against a cervix which hasn't yet dilated sufficiently, causing increased intrauterine pressure, resulting in maternal exhaustion, foetal hypoxia and distress, leading to emergency Caesarian with increased risk of post-surgical infection. This is often followed by mastitis and then antibiotics. This disastrous cascade of intervention limits the exhausted mother's ability to bond with and breast-feed her baby. This is all considered normal in the West and, progressively, most countries now follow the medical practice of supine childbirth.

It is NOT normal and needs a total rethink based on tens of thousands of years of upright, squatting childbirth. Midwives need to be well-trained and confident in natural childbirth with the necessary back-up of modern emergency medicine.

I have long been fascinated by the genetically/geographically-related range of connective issue laxity and joint mobility in my patients from all over the world over four decades of clinical practice and I recently studied at University College London with Professor Rodney Grahame, the world expert on hypermobility. Collagenous ligaments, tendons and joints lose flexibility progressively with age which accords with my experience in treating pregnant women suffering sacroiliac subluxations, coccyx dislocation and fracture after forceps and ventouse births. It is also clear that mothers at childbirth are much older now than ever before in the history of womankind. 21st century older mothers in their late 30's and early 40's are less flexible and their sacroiliac, pubic and coccygeal range of movement is significantly reduced in comparison with mothers in their teens and early twenties which had always been the norm through millennia until the 1960's. The big change followed the advent in the late 60's of 'The Pill', widely available contraception, which gave women the freedom and the opportunity to delay starting a family and to enjoy a career. Many women who are sedentary at desk jobs with administrative computer and office work from school and college days until first maternity in their mid-to-late 30s and are often unfit, overweight and stiff jointed.

Add to this the comparatively recently concept of giving birth semi-reclining or supine and there you have the reason for a continuing rise in rates of Caesarian section, c. 30% of UK births, especially in more hypomobile Northern Europeans.

However, most of the world's people: Indian, Arab, African and Chinese, are at the more flexible or hypermobile end of the spectrum of tissue and joint mobility and many in rural areas give birth squatting. Northern European caucasians, celts, Germans, Scandinavians as well as peoples from mountainous regions like Northern Pakistan and Japan are ranged generally towards the less flexible or hypomobile end of the spectrum ... making childbirth, particularly in now much older mothers, far more challenging. All the more reason to encourage squatting for safer, quicker, less injurious 'mother in-control' childbirth with freedom to constantly move upright with gravity helping move the baby safely through the birth canal.

In 2018 I was listed as a specialist with The pelvic Partnership to treat women suffering pelvic girdle pain (PGP) who experience ongoing pain for months or years after their baby is born.

PGP is simply and swiftly treatable with expert manual therapy and many women with PGP are not diagnosed, or referred for treatment. The Pelvic Partnership offers support and information to women via their website at https://pelvicpartnership.org.uk/

I have recently invested in a new, super-advanced digital x-ray system which is extremely high-definition and low-dose specifically for pelvic and coccyx patients' standing and sitting x-rays. I now also use diagnostic Doppler Ultrasound for muscle, ligament, tendon and soft tissue examination and diagnosis.

I have completed the research for my 7 year (part-time) PhD in long-bone growth in children, leg-length-difference and scoliosis and I am writing-up prior to my final viva examination in 2020.

Update, 2019-11-24:

I have observed over many years that in France, Italy, Spain and most of Europe the majority of coccyx dysfunction and pain sufferers receive treatment with increasingly powerful painkillers, then injections of cortisone which are repeated regularly over several years as the temporary effect wears off and, when that has failed, coccyx removal surgery is the final step.

In Europe coccyx patients tend to have physiotherapy or osteopathy with minimal internal mobilisation of the coccyx which is generally not very beneficial (<20% benefit according to a study by Dr Maigne).

Meanwhile, in the USA it seems that everybody is given pain clinic drugs, then repeated injections of cortizone, then radio-frequency (RF) ablation to burn the coccyx nerve centre under the tailbone which sends pain messages to the brain (but the coccyx remains dysfunctuinal and pain-generating) and when the burned nerve-centre regrows over about a year the patient is usually back to square one when the same or worse pain returns ... then finally coccyx removal surgery, with or without good results. In America skilled internal coccyx manipulation is extremely rare.

In the UK the NHS route is years of painkilling drugs with gabapentin, amitriptyline and opioids which tend to make sufferers feel demoralised and miserable and eventually they see an orthopaedic surgeon who typically knows little about coccydynia but offers cortisone injections, which simply do not work except for short-term pain cover-up.

Fortunately, many independent-minded UK and worldwide sufferers find Jon Miles's www.coccyx.org, where they learn that the number of people helped by manipulation is the majority and so visit the few UK manipulators, who have good patient reviews.

The vast majority of my patients have excellent outcomes without drugs, injections or surgery. The tiny percentage who cannot be helped we refer specifically to the few good surgeons internationally for coccygectomy.

The UK seems to be the only country in the world with a handful of manipulators who use internal as well as external manipulation. I believe I am the only one of these few who have the facilities to take advanced low-dose, high-definition, digital sit / stand x-rays and /or diagnostic ultrasound.

The success rate of my approach to coccyx treatment alongwith our specialist pelvic physical therapy team is over 90%. This includes the most difficult cases, who have had tailbone and often associated pudendal neuralgia dysfunction and pelvic pain for many years, to achieve 100% pain-free function. It is not just decades of experience in coccyx, sacroiliac and pelvic joint manipulation but managing each individual patient's expectations that is vitally important: when and at what intensity to adjust; how often to treat and prescribe specific exercises; when to increase these exercises, gradually and at the right time. This is a very finely calibrated and complex recipe for each patient who is individual and different, requiring expertise via a variety of treatment approaches, including mindfulness and advice to break pain- inducing habits to achieve their best results. This complex recipe is needed even more for the 30% of coccyx patients who also suffer related pudendal neuralgia symptoms between the sitting-bone and coccyx and into the pelvic floor and sex organs with numbness, pins and needles, burning, dysfunction and weakness. For this reason I have since 2010 gradually built a brilliant team of specialist pelvic physical therapists, shiatsu and acupuncturists to help me successfully treat growing numbers of coccyx and pudendal pelvic pain patients from the UK, Europe and all parts of the world.

I recently attended the excellent Convergences Pelvic Pain conference in Madrid in November 2019 and spent a full day performing human anatomy dissection around the coccyx, sciatic nerve, pudendal nerve, inferior cluneal nerve and posterior cutaneous nerve of the femur and pelvic floor guided by the excellent, eminent pelvic surgeons Professor Roger Robert, Dr Eric Bautrant, Dr Ramón Usandizaga and Dr Stéphane Ploteau.

An important topic at this conference was central sensitisation and peripheral sensitisation of pain in longterm coccyx and pelvic sufferers, with potentially increasing anxiety and catastrophising which makes effective treatment far more challenging. A still shocking topic was the scale of 47,000 opioid deaths in the USA in 2017, as well as the huge disaster of mesh pelvic organ prolapse surgery which lead to banning of mesh in UK and USA. All this may be directly related to coccydynia as I have found that a painful, non-functional or dislocated coccyx will inhibit pelvic floor muscles leading to pelvic floor weakness and potential pelvic organ prolapse in many women, especially those who are genetically more hypermobile with stretchier pelvic ligaments.

An important practical reminder was to watch video of Dr Bautrant's surgical pelvic nerve releases, freeing nerves to glide freely following entrapment between ligaments and muscles. This reinforced to me why Sayer Clinics are so successful in our coccyx mobilisation, manipulation and hands-on physical bodywork and postural pelvic rehabilitation with specific exercise techniques for coccyx pudendal neuralgia and pelvic pain.

I have seen many more coccyx patients, almost an increasing epidemic, where slumped sitting causes burning pain under the sitting bones (Ischial tuberosities) with a broad painful prickling, burning sensation at the perineum, back half of the pelvic floor, inner lower buttock inwards to the anus and potentially spreading down the back of the thigh due to compression of the Inferior Cluneal Nerve branch of the Posterior Femoral Cutaneous Nerve from repeated sitting slumped sideways or backwards with shearing pressure on the nerve branches resulting in pain or numbness in the perineum and labia which simulates pudendal neuralgia and causes diagnostic confusion.

I, with my pelvic team, treat specifically to rehabilitate these tissues with manual therapy, specific exercises with postural training how to sit specifically to avoid continuing to pressurise the Inferior Cluneal nerve from slumped sofa sitting.

I have now completed my 7 year Leg Length Difference / Scoliosis research study at Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOSICH), University College London (UCL) and am now half-way through writing up my 100,000 word PHD research thesis by 2021.

I hope to publish a research paper on Coccydynia in 2020.

Michael Durtnall DC, Dip Roent, MSc, FRSM, FRCC


Chairman : Sayer Clinics, www.sayerclinics.com, email to mail@sayerclinics.com

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