Drugs and physical therapy don't help me, doctor advises against cortisone

Carole S - Cdbs1122@aol.com

Back in February 2002, I was cleaning 24 floor-to-ceiling windows of my home. This required me to continuously stand and stoop at each window. About half way through, my lower back and left hip were really starting to hurt, and I realized I was overdoing it, but I didn't stop like I should have. Our house was about to be put on the market, and I had to finish the job at hand.

Needless to say, I really did a number on my lower back and left hip. I was miserable and in a lot of pain from the muscle strain for several months. Raising my left leg to put socks on or pants was nearly impossible.

About two or so weeks afterwards, still in pain from cleaning the windows, my tailbone started bothering me. I first noticed the pain while going from a sitting to standing position. Then as the months progressed, I noticed that sitting back in a chair brought about a pressure feeling and pain, and the pain is quite bad when getting up and taking the pressure off the area. Now, the pain bothers me at night if I sleep on my back too long. When I get up in the morning, the moment I sit up on the edge of the bed, the pressure is back again. My tailbone does not bother me when I stand or sleep on either side. Sitting in every chair I have in my house bothers me. I have to constantly sit straight up and a bit forward, and that tires my back out. Most evenings I have to lie on my bed on one side with pillows under my side and my head in my hand to watch TV. Relaxing back in the recliner is impossible for me. My tailbone is extremely tender to the touch.

Nothing I take by mouth seems to do anything at all. If I take an Ultracet and two Naproxen sodium tablets together, that helps take some of the edge of the pain off for about five hours, so I can rest. There have been a couple of times that it didn't do anything. Ultracet alone does nothing. Naproxen sodium alone does nothing. Ibuprofen doesn't touch the pain, either.

I have seen an orthopedic surgeon who didn't help me at all. He took x-rays and said they looked fine. He ordered a bone scan . . . said it looked fine, too (he read the films himself). He gave me a sample of Bextra that did absolutely nothing. This ortho said he did NOT recommend cortisone injections at the tailbone site. He said it was from his experience using cortisone in the coccyx area, that, because cortisone tends to thin the skin out, if that happens in the coccyx area, I would be worse off than before the injection. So that will not be an option for me. I wonder, however, if a round of prednisone by mouth would help?

The ortho sent me to physical therapy, and that didn't work. The therapist really didn't seem like he knew what to do with me. I bought a TENS unit . . . hasn't helped yet. I went to a chiropractor for six sessions. He used deep heat ultrasound, and lots of manipulation. At my last visit, he said he wasn't sure if he was helping my tailbone or irritating it. Let me tell you . . . he was irritating it.

The donut pillow doesn't help. This is going on nine months now. My left hip is also still bothering me, especially when I lay on my left side. The ortho and the chiropractor both feel the tailbone pain and the hip pain are related, especially after the severe low back and left hip strain in Feb.

I have an appointment on December 9, 2002 with a rheumatologist. I hope she can help me. Getting a good night's rest seems so far away...

Carole S.

Note from Jon Miles:

I have never heard of a doctor who does not think it is wise to give any corticosteroid injections at all. Many doctors will not give more than 2 or 3, some will give 10 or more, spread over months or years. I heard from one woman who has had more than 50 such injections over 9 years, and is continuing to have them every 3 months as they work very well for her. Her anesthesiologist sees no problem with this so long as they are effective.

Updated 2002-12-01

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