Tailbone injured in water - complete recovery


I injured my tailbone in a rather unusual way. While holidaying, I jumped into a rock-pool from a cliff several body lengths in height. I didn't hit rocks or any other objects, just flat calm water, and I didn't feel anything, so I'm afraid I made the jump twice.

It was not until several hours later, after walking and swimming some distance that I began to notice mild pain in the region of my coccyx when I sat on hard surfaces. This confused me for a while, as I had not fallen over, and it took me a while to realize I must have injured my tailbone from jumping into the water. I had never heard of this before. It didn't concern me too much though, and seemed to get better over the next few days.

However, some days after that the condition suddenly seemed to get worse. At work one day, I experienced the characteristic excruciating pain on standing up. I couldn't seem to make the link between SITTING making the problem worse, and for the first day of this pain, I continued to sit down. The pain on standing up was enough to make me wince and call out, prop myself up on my arms and to feel faint and dizzy.

I began to get concerned at this point, as I was 3 months pregnant, and worried about the effect of an injured coccyx during childbirth. I cursed my recklessness and regretting that jump, as you can imagine.

I found this site the following day. It did scare me to read about so many people's ongoing chronic pain. I couldn't believe I may have fractured or broken my tailbone from something this simple. And I worried I'd destroyed my chance for a natural birth and would have to get a caesarean. Fortunately your site did stress the importance of not aggravating the problem, and I was able to take immediate steps based on your tips on coping. My pregnancy did spur me into action a little quicker than normal, as I wanted to really "kick" the problem before it had a chance to get worse. So I took every step possible from as soon as I knew I could.

At the office, I simply lowered my chair and knelt on my heels. As there are only so many hours one can kneel on one's heels, I also constructed a makeshift "cushion" out of two pieces of Styrofoam (used to pack computers), which allowed me to sit in reasonable comfort. Elsewhere, I found that sitting on bench seats or stools where my backside could hang over the end, helped the problem. And at home, I knelt or lay down with no problems. I shopped around for a coccyx cushion, but found nothing suitable in chemists or medical supply stores. Finally, I went to a shop specializing in foam and rubber and bought an inexpensive wedge of foam that I cut the back out of, and covered with a pillowcase. I can now use this at work and in my car. I also found my wedge shaped cushion designed for meditation is very helpful. It is made of very high-density foam, and even without cutting it; it can support my weight so that just the edge of my backside overhangs the back quite comfortably. (High-density foam wedges like these can be found in meditation centers, ashrams and yoga supplies stores. You could cut them if you wanted to.)

Now, eight weeks since the initial accident, the pain has disappeared completely, and I am back to normal and able to sit with no pain whatsoever. My pregnancy is also progressing normally, and there is no reason why I cannot have a natural birth. The point I wanted to make, is first to inspire hope that not all tailbone problems have to be severe or long lasting, and that more importantly, careful early management of a coccyx problem can make recovery much faster, and I would urge readers to take whatever steps they can NOW, before it gets worse. A friend told me of a tailbone problem he had for a year, which he continued to sit on and make worse, and how after just a month of not sitting, the problem was cured.

So go ahead and buy or make that cushion right now. Even if you feel conspicuous, kneel on chairs, stand up on public transport and at social gatherings, and lie down at home. Do whatever you can to avoid sitting, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the speed of your recovery.

Updated 2002-09-22

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