Original posting, 2003-07-19:
Hello fellow Coccyx sufferers!
I'm 26 years old and have been suffering from coccyx discomfort ever since I had a riding fall when I was 15 – yes, that's right, 11 years and no one has helped, until now! In fact, my coccyx hasn't caused me too much pain apart from not being able to sit for long periods of time, finding driving uncomfortable etc. My main problem, or so I thought, has been chronic pain in my lower back and shoulders. I've never consulted my GP, firstly because I thought the pain wasn't serious enough, and secondly because I'd prefer to give 'alternative therapies' a go. Sadly, although I've seen numerous osteopaths (immediately after my fall and intermittently since), chiropractors and physios and told them all that my back problem started with my riding fall there has been very little improvement. In fact, all my related back problems have got worse and seem to have been the result of poor posture in my bid to avoid contact with the coccyx - sitting crookedly being the worst.
It wasn't until I consulted a physio prior to starting a pilates course 3 weeks ago that I came nearer to understanding what was going on in and around my lumbar region. He told me that he was pretty sure that I had coccydynia and that my back pain was rooted to that problem – ah, well that makes sense! Well, I decided to investigate coccydynia and quickly found this website. Almost immediately I contacted Michael Durtnall, chiropractor (his details can be found in the list of specialists) after reading his message as well as Helen Buckthorp's on her recovery.
Following x-rays taken by Michael Durtnall, it transpires that I have a long coccyx (4 sections, I think) that has an over-pronounced inward curl and the top section (closest to the sacrum) has been knocked out of line. Michael has used ultra-sound and acupuncture to release the muscles that were in spasm around the dodgy section and gentle manipulation to move the coccyx back into place. I have been treated by Michael twice so far and am making an amazingly quick recovery: THERE ARE EXCELLENT ALTERNATIVES TO SURGERY!
On the conventional medicine –v- alternative therapy front: although my coccyx has caused me no end of problems I would be very reluctant to see it removed! Equally well, I don't see any point in having corticosteriod injections etc if the pain can be relieved by realigning the coccyx sections – I won't get relief from my back pain until my spine is in proper working order again! If there are any other people out there to whom the thought of surgery makes their stomach turn, then give alternative treatments a try.
I have received a number of emails, from people from all round the world, with enquiries about the progress of my chiropractic treatment with Michael Durtnall. So here's an up-date:
I have been seeing Michael Durtnall since the end of June last year when I was suffering serious discomfort from my coccyx, low back, neck and shoulders! I felt depressed and physically debilitated - although a normally fit and healthy 26 year-old I was close to having to use a stick, I couldn't play the sport I filled my life with and I could hardly sit in a cinema seat! Michael used manipulation on all the problem areas of my back (not pleasant re: the coccyx, but worth it!) as well as acupuncture, laser and massage. Up until Christmas I was seeing him every 1-2 weeks, and now that the problems are resolving I'm receiving treatment about once a month. I know that he's seeing quite a lot of coccyx sufferers at the moment (many due to his piece on the coccyx web-site I think), including a lady from the Netherlands who flies into London regularly.
I'm about 90% recovered (although this is difficult to measure as I've had back problems for over 11 years now!) - the coccyx pain has almost completely cleared up, and I only suffer from minor discomfort in the rest of my back as a result of lapses back into poor posture! I've combined my treatment with Michael with quite intensive pilates exercises which have been amazing - the two go very well together. I can't speak more highly of Michael's work - I'm now aware of how my body works, how hard I need to work it to keep it in good condition, and what's good and bad for it. I'm now back on my previous good form: horse riding a lot, cycling to and from work, playing tennis, skiing - you name it!
I hope this helps!