Unknown cause of tailbone pain, unless rear-ending by automobile earlier caused it


Even though I work as a support staff member of a medical department at a teaching university in Canada, I had not come across the term "coccydynia" before. It has now become the most frequently-used word in my vocabulary these days.

More than four months ago, I started experiencing this pain for no apparent reason. My G.P. sent me for an x-ray of the coccyx, which showed two fractures. At that point, she sent me for a bone densitometry to see if I had osteoporosis (I am 48 years old.) I had normal thinning of the bone for my age. A subsequent x-ray and bone scan revealed there had not been a fracture to begin with (I understand that this is an awkward site to get a clear picture of) and so I am back to "square one".

I should mention that three months before the onset of this pain, I was rear-ended by an automobile and suffered a mild "whiplash", the effects of which I am still feeling. As this was the only trauma I had suffered at all, I did question my doctor about the possibility of some connection, but she didn't seem to think that the accident had anything to do with it.

She then referred me to a rheumatologist whom I thought would magically give me an answer to my problem. Not so. He seemed disinterested in my plight, never asking me those questions that I would have thought to be pertinent. After having me bend forward and backward, check my reflexes, and pressing down on areas around my hip joints, he declared that I didn't have arthritis. After offering no further investigations, he gave me a cortisone injection (Depo-Medrol) and prescribed a topical gel (5% Diclofenec) and told me he could give me another injection in about two months time.

I would like to find out the cause of this condition that has affected just about everything I do. After reading some of the personal stories you have posted, I can concur with most of their symptoms: intense pain when rising from the sitting position, intense pain when not sitting on my coccyx cushion (although that doesn't even help much after a few hours of sitting at my work computer), pain after lying down on my back for too long in bed, and feeling alternately depressed and irritable.

Maybe I just haven't give it enough time yet, but after hearing the stories of those who have had this pain for so many years, I feel that some investigation on my part may help to alleviate the condition sooner.

Updated 1999-06-05

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