Had coccygectomy after other treatments failed

Karen - thestahmanns@yahoo.com

I just recently found this website, however, somewhat late after the fact. I had my coccygectomy on August 13, 2003 and am happy to report I am doing well.

One day in May, 2002 I noticed it hurt when I got up from sitting. After a while, I realized the pain was there to stay. I did not fall or otherwise hurt myself and was trying to rack my brain for some explanation as to the pain. Several months prior I had decided to lose some weight, with success, and had started some exercising. This was basically the only thing different from before the pain. About a month into it, I decided I need to take action and so started my ordeal. Over the course of the next year I had chiropractic treatments; tried cold, then hot; ibupropen and prescription anti-inflammitories; for a while I did nothing at all; had X-rays that showed nothing; tried physical therapy with cortisone patch treatments - all with no relief. My pain was very specific. I had one spot that I could pinpoint at the tip of my coccyx where the pain was. There was no other problem and I could do everything else pain-free, except sit and get up.

Finally in June, 2003 I told my doctor there had to be an explanation for the pain and couldn't he do anything. I had an MRI, that showed no bone abnormality, but he ordered another x-ray. After reviewing these, he determined that my tailbone was tipped to one side, wasn't as flexible as it should be, and was very protruding. (I did confer with my physical therapist who agreed she found the same things in her exam). He then suggested a coccygectomy. He felt the tailbone was pressing down and causing the pain and removing it would be the answer.

Like I said, I had surgery on August 13, 2003 - exactly 15 months after I first noticed the pain. The surgery was not bad. It took less than an hour and I was home that night. Absolutely no sitting for 3 days. I took pain pills for probably a week pretty regular. Of course, my butt was very sore and you didn't want to sit anyway so that was no problem. I had my stitches out 2 weeks after surgery. Everything healed very well-no bleeding or anything.

We have a dairy farm and I also have an insurance job. I was out in the barn doing light chores about 10 days after surgery. I went back to work 2 weeks after surgery-starting out for a few hours and increasing. I have a desk job so that was difficult but I would get up frequently and I put my keyboard on a box on my desk so I could stand up and work when I just couldn't sit any longer. Driving is also difficult as it is hard to sit in those seats. I was surprised how tired I was even several weeks after surgery. Most days I came home from work and had to take a nap.

I must admit I didn't do much research before my surgery about the surgery. At that point nothing else had worked and I was sick of being in pain everytime I sat down. My doctor was confident this would help so I went for it. Of course, I didn't realize that the actual recovery was many, many months. It is 9 weeks since my surgery and he tells me my recovery is on schedule. The 'pain spot' I had before is gone and the actual surgery pain is gone. The pain I have now yet is from the healing process still going on.

FYI - I stopped and visited my chiropractor at the 6-week mark and mentioned I thought I still had a significant amount of pain.. She suggested I try Arnica gel - it's a homeopathic gel for muscle pain and stiffness gotten at the health food store. I tried it and I think it did help. In fact I am still using it. My doctor said it was OK - it certainly wouldn't hurt and the massaging would also be beneficial. [Note from Jon Miles - although Arnica gel is described as a homeopathic medicine, it is not homeopathic in the normal sense of that word - homeopathic 'medicines' normally contain none of the actual ingredients on the label. Arnica gel is different - it does actually contain Arnica.]

I am hoping that in time my recovery will be complete, but, even if it's not. the way it is now is much better than before. In looking back, I think I may have had this problem for quite some time. By losing weight, though, my butt got smaller. My tailbone was not as protected and more exposed thereby causing the problem. I am sometimes overwhelmed at the thought that this will soon be over and I will be able to sit wherever I want and get up without pain like a normal person.

I hope my information is helpful. Like I said I didn't find this website until after my surgery but I don't think I would have done anything different. I have been glad to read the other experiences and know that things are on track and I am not the only one out there with this problem.

Karen

Updated 2003-10-19

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