Coccyx pain during and after childbirth

Penny H. Craig - phcraig@twave.net

I was delighted to find your web site. I only wish I had found it sooner. I had my coccyx removed on April 19, 2000. This was an outpatient procedure performed by Dr. Alfred E. Geissele, MD of Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists in my hometown of Hickory, NC. He is a spine specialist. He was referred to me by my OB-Gyn, Dr. Laura Faruque.

On February 10, 1999, ten days before I delivered my second child I got an excruciating pain in my tailbone when I was getting up from the toilet. This continued for hours and I called my OB-Gyn to tell her about the pain. She felt like it was the baby and told me to soak in as hot of water as I could stand and to use the heating pad. By the next day I could hardly get up, much less walk. This continued until I delivered my baby on Feb, 20, 1999. I absolutely thought I would die during delivery. I had hard fast labor and did not have time for drugs.

Afterwards, my Dr. gave me medication for the pain in my tailbone. After my 6 week postnatal exam, she referred me to the orthopaedic Dr. because she did not know what was wrong. My tailbone was not broken and the pain killers were not working. X-rays with Dr. Geissele on April 24, 1999 did not show much. He thought I was maybe developing some detereration of the tailbone or joint and ligaments connecting it to the vertebra. He gave me a shot of cortisone and some pain medicine (relafen).

On May 24, 1999 I was still taking medicine, but it was beginning to upset my stomach. The cortisone shot helped for about two weeks and the pain medicine wasn't helping. On June 23rd, I had another shot of cortisone. It did not work at all. Dr. Geissele told me I needed to have the tailbone removed. I was in pain when I sat for any length of time, driving was hell, sitting in church or the movies would aggrivate my tailbone for days or weeks. I was even having trouble when I lay on my back. I could not comfortably sit and feed my baby a bottle.Walking, running, and aerobics never bothered me.I did these activites on a regular basis.

I told Dr. Geissele I wanted to wait and see if I could heal with a little more time. He completely agreed to let me tell him when I was ready for the surgery. In August of 1999 I tried another inflammatory drug, naprelan, it seemed to work for several weeks, then it began to upset my stomach.

Finally, when my daughter was 1 year old, February 20, 2000, I decided I had had enough. I called Dr Geissele and we decided to do the surgery on April 19, 2000. I began to get scared when he told me he only did about 1 coccygetomy a year. He said it is a rare surgery and one that is done as a last resort.

The operation took about and hour and a half. My coccyx was curved upward and the joint and ligament showed signs of detereration and trauma. He feels sure my daughter pushed the tailbone upward when she dropped before being born. During delivery he feels like she pushed it the opposite way. During this time is when he thinks the damage was done to the joint and ligaments. The tailbone then returned back to the upward position. He said I would be a new woman once I was healed. Afterwards I had complications of bleeding and he had to pack the wound. He put me on antibiotics as a precautionary. I never developed an infection. I bleed for about 4 days afterwards.

I was on morphine for a week after the surgery. I saw him three days after surgery, then again four days later, then two weeks later. On the three week visit, he said I was healing wonderfully. He had been worried because of the bleeding. I have been on Darvocet since being taken off the morphine. It has now been a month since the surgery.

I still cannot sit more than 5 minutes at a time. I cannot drive yet. I could not do anything by myself for at least two weeks. I could not get out of bed by myself or bend good. I am doing much better now. The pain I had before is gone, but the pain now is different. He said I still had another 3 weeks before I could sit comfortably. I feel like I am taking one step forward and two steps back. I still seem to be very slow. Some days are better than others. I'll let you know how I progress. I do, however, feel like at this time I have done the right thing.

My Dr. is wonderful and I would reccommend him to anyone. So far things have been going well. I just hope this does the trick.

Penny H. Craig

Updated 2000-05-16

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