After the fall...

Nine months ago I fell in an airport gangway ramp, landing square into a metal rivet on my tailbone. I did nothing for four months thinking it was just bruised, but finally went to a GP, and then an orthopedic surgeon after I could barely sit or get up from a chair without the terrible pain we all know. I had to eliminate the "scooch"-- a sitting slide--from my movements, as it was always incredibly painful.

Under the care of the orthopedic surgeon we tried anti-inflammatory drugs, manual manipulation called an "adjustment," (it involves a glove), but had no luck. Eventually he administered a shot of cortisone to the area, injecting it directly into my tailbone area. The shot provided some relief after about 3-4 days, but the procedure was incredibly painful. I think he had to reposition the needle a few times to find the right spot for the medicine, and I felt every stab lying on his examination table.

That was in about April '99. That shot provided about 50-70% relief. I no longer winced when I got out of a chair; however, after prolonged sitting in the car, at movies or at work I'd still have pain. I was constantly siting on one side of my butt in an awkward pose, or slouching in chairs to avoid the irritating, painful angle that press on my coccyx. The worst was the constant popping I felt at the joint, sometimes simply from taking a deep breath while sitting.

I have since had another shot of cortisone. I figured if one shot provided half the relief I desired, another might cure the other half. My doctor was hesitant because the procedure had been so unpleasant before, but I wanted to try anything before surgery. He'd administered two shots on other patients and seem some improvement. Luckily this shot was much easier. It wasn't painless, but I think the relief I'd had from the first shot helped make that shot less painful.

The result: It doesn't seemed to have made too much difference. I'm not in pain every day, but those days that I sit for a long time there's still a nagging discomfort. Tighter fitting pants aggravate it certainly. Road trips are not unthinkable, but I bring a pillow "just in case" to place under my butt to raise my tailbone to a more comfortable angle.

I really don't want to live with this dull chronic pain. My doctor has said surgery is my next option, which sounds like a common suggestion, but I'm wary of having a surgery until I hear more about other's experiences. My doctor's done the procedure 4-6 times before and said he'll give me some references to call, so I can hear their stories, but this site has been very helpful already in that regard.

If anyone has suggestions, pass them on. He said I'll only need to take 4 or so days off work, plus a weekend; does that seem like a typical recovery period? How long does a wound take to heal? How does it affect your life while it's healing? (i.e. exercise, sex, using bathroom, showering, driving?) I'm 32 and mostly fit, so hope age will act in my favor. I'd appreciate any information, suggestions, or warnings. I'm tired of this and would like to end the pain, especially if it's just going to continue for years to come... thanks.

Updated 1999-08-02

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