Coccyx pain + depression and surgery + a new lease of life

Anonymous

I damaged my coccyx on June 26th 2003 and finally had it removed on 2nd March 2005. The time in between was one of the most difficult periods I have ever faced, but now I do see light at the end of the tunnel. The way in which I injured myself is not common - I fell off a unicycle - yes that's right a one-wheeled bicycle. I am a school teacher and was learning as were the children. As I fell I remember feeling really nauseous and it really took my breath away. I do not know how I drove home, but I did and did the usual of taking ibuprofen and a hot bath.

I barely slept that night and immediately went to my GP to be told I had damaged my coccyx and possibly my sacrum. I was signed off work for a week and thought that would give me ample time to recover. I was prescribed diclofenac and kapake but the pain was still unbelievable. The shooting pains started then down my leg into my knee and also the awful grinding if I tried to sit. After a few weeks of going back and forth to my GP I was prescribed diazepam and sent for x-rays to my coccyx, pelvis and sacrum, although these revealed no fractures. I was sent for physio. By now it was early September and I tried to return to work as a teacher but found the pain unbearable. After physio sessions involving ultra sound and exercises I was recommended for a manipulation and injections into my left sacro iliac joint which I had on January 30th.

This worked for a few weeks, although the pain did initially intensify, and I was then taking dihydracodeine and amitriptylene to relax my muscles and also to treat the depression. I found the depression hard to take but I felt as though my coccyx had overtaken my life - the things I couldn't do anymore, places I couldn't go but also the fact that very few people could understand the level of pain that I was in. You make an effort one day to look nice even though it kills you and then you bump into someone who tells everyone you look great!!! They don't see the agony, the tears and the frustration along with the people who stare at you for sitting on a cushion (they think you've got piles!). At 28, I also found it hard because people don't expect you to have limitations or a disability, I always felt as though I had to explain myself to people. At this stage I also found out that because I had my fall in work I was able to claim for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits from the DWP - I only discovered this in a chat to my union. I have since received two further injections into my coccyx and into both my left and right sacro iliac joints which lessened in effectiveness with the last lot having a minimal effect so now the operation was a must.

POST OPERATION: Waking up from surgery was extremely painful but I was put on a PDA which meant I could use a button to provide myself with morphine - a lifesaver although it did make me feel very nauseous. I also received a voltarol suppository and a sort of epidural whilst I was under anaesthetic which really helped. I was in hospital for 5 days and each day felt a little bit better, I found coming off the morphine obviously increased my pain but this eventually lessened as each day progressed. I am now - after 2 weeks - still taking a few DHC tablets along with diclofenac but thankfully I feel much better in myself. The district nurse says my wound is 'lovely' and is very impressed with the job that my consultant has done - so am I! Having seen some photos of post op wounds I do think that I am very lucky.

For anyone else out there having the op - please remember to take laxatives and something like lactulose - I took both daily but it still took over a week for any movement which was then painful. I am so glad that I had the operation, I feel as though the bad days are nearly gone in terms of pain and hopefully they remain that way. The mental scars and memories of the pain will remain for a long time but knowing that there are other people going through the same problems really helps. I don't know when I will return to work yet but I have just applied to the DWP for Access to Work funding which is apparently very useful.

Good luck to all coccyx sufferers out there!

Updated 2005-03-20

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