Should I try manipulation or go ahead with surgery?

Glynda Wells - glynda@hgchristie.com

In February of this year I had my dog outside on leash (she is about 75 pounds). I wasn't holding her very tightly because no-one else was in the yard. A friend pulled up and was sitting in her car - I didn't expect her to get out as she is not familiar with the dog. She must have gotten out of the car when my back was facing her and unfortunately, my dog noticed that before me and when she pulled, I fell directly onto my tailbone. From that day on I have experienced pain in the tailbone area and have been sitting on a tush cush.

About 4 days after the fall, I went to the hospital and had an X-ray and MRI and was referred to a neurologist - don't ask why? I figured the hospital knew what they were talking about. Anyway, I visited the neurologist and was placed on Vioxx (to be taken in the mornings - that helped) and another type of medication for the night (can't remember the name). On the second night of taking the medication, I got up during the night and passed out in the bathroom, hitting my tailbone again on the tiled floor. I was rushed to the hospital - the medication was too strong.

In March, I was referred by my doctor to an orthopaedic doctor/surgeon who injected cortisone into the area. That helped until a month ago when the cortisone started to wear off I guess. Now I experience pain in the tailbone area when sitting for prolonged periods, laying flat on my back or after exercising. I took a look at the area and it seems sunk in, blue black at times and I can feel little "lumps" in the area. I went back to the orthopaedic last week and after examining it he suggested removal of the tip of the tailbone as it is pushed inwards - that's the pain I feel when sitting down. He also suggested a little plastic surgery to bring muscle tissue from the surrounding areas into that area to eliminate the pain I feel when laying down because of the little "lumps" that are forming.

I visited my personal doctor who also examined it and said that I probably would hear the same thing if I got another opinion. His surgical book showed that injuries usually heal within 6 weeks and if after a few months and if a patient is still experiencing pain after injections, sitting on cushions, etc. then removal should be considered.

I read about manipulation. I spoke with my chiropractor who is willing to do it but she says that it may not last. The orthopaedics nurse also said the same thing. Is manipulation something I should consider or should I go ahead and get the surgery done? I'm scheduled for surgery in a week and I'm trying to ensure that I am making the right decision.

Updated 2002-08-04

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