Coccyx removed in 2004, then other spinal problems

Tonya - tntoby@charter.net

Posted 2006-04-30

I have been visiting this site for a couple of years now, reading experiences and occasionally corresponding with those I can offer advice to. I have found all of the information here very helpful to me and I hope my story may be of help to someone experiencing the same problems I have had.

My problem started 2 years ago while I was losing weight, I had gained allot of weight after I got married and had two kids and like most people I had tried about everything until I finally found something that worked for me. I had lost about 60 lbs when I started having discomfort in my tailbone area, at first it felt like I was sitting on something about the size of my fist and as the day went on the more uncomfortable I would be. The pain would just get worse the more weight I lost, too so of course I had all kinds of stuff run through my head that could be wrong with me right? I mean, I hadn't had a recent fall or any other kind of accident, couldn't remember the last time I had fallen for awhile anyway.

I was lying in bed one night on my stomach trying to get some relief and asked my husband to run his hand down my spine to my tailbone and see if he could feel anything, immediately he asked me what I had done, when I had fallen, etc....The last time I could remember falling was over 2 years prior on a patch of black ice when we lived in Idaho and I do remember my tailbone being sore for a few days but then no more problems, until the weight loss of course.

Anyway, I went in search of a doctor to get some x-rays done and see what was going on. First I tried a general orthopedic doctor, he gave me a proper diagnosis but didn't really know how to treat it other than removal and he had never removed a coccyx before and I didn't plan on being his first if you know what I mean. So I asked around and did some research and finally made an appointment with an orthopedic spine specialist in my area who had performed the procedure many many times with great success.

I went through a series of cortisone injections as most people with this problem do but the pain kept getting worse so 3 days before Christmas 2004 I had mine taken out. I came home from the hospital the same day on pain meds of course and got through the holidays really well, I even rode in a car with a coccyx cushion about 5 days after my surgery just to get out of the house, walking was slow for awhile but sitting on the couch or anything really soft was a definite no no!

I had problems healing a bit and didn't get to return to work 6 weeks after my surgery as planned, they had to actually go back in and open up the wound and irrigate it because there was a small hole that kept draining and wasn't healing properly. I dreaded the second surgery more than the first but just wanted to get it all over with and hopefully be pain free within a few months or at least improve tremendously as we all hope for.

Second surgery went well and I healed up very nicely, I went back to work about 12 weeks after my first surgery and did well until around June 2005 just a few months after going back to work, I started having pain that I believed to be related to my tailbone removal. It started in my lower back, burning and radiating up my back until it settled between my shoulder blades. I work in the insurance industry and am sitting most of the day talking on the phone, the company I work for has been great, I got a really nice spinal manipulation chair that I found recommended on this site that they provided once I gave them the information, and also gave me a headset to make talking on the phone easier since it is a big part of my job. It all helped tremendously but the pain just got worse, the burning and discomfort was too much so back to the doctor I went.

I was then diagnosed with spondylolesthesis L4-L5 and a bulging disc that was leaking spinal fluid causing the burning. I was taken back out of work for 6 weeks in October this past year for physical therapy to strengthen my core muscles and try to control the pain. I was taking anti-inflammatory medication as well because of the inflammation caused from the bulging disc and the leaking fluid.

I didn't return to work full time until January 17th this year. I have a back brace that I wear sometimes and also a TENS unit that I wear on bad days to help with the pain as well. All was going as well as can be expected, I was told, until I started having problems with pains shooting down my legs, mostly on my right side but occasionally my left as well. I went for a second opinion and was told I had bursitis in my right hip and needed aqua therapy as well as heat, massage and some other words I can't spell or hardly pronounce! Lol.

SO....I am back out of work, another 2 1/2 weeks until I am supposed to return and the pain isn't getting any better. I take that back, initially - when I went back to my regular doctor for treatment after seeking the second opinion - I got a cortisone injection in my bursi on my right hip, was sore for a few days and then was much better for a couple of weeks, now that pain is coming back and I can feel the bursi inflamed again, more burning in my back and very frustrated from hurting all the time, can't get comfortable, can't sleep well at night and basically just try to maintain some kind of sanity on a daily basis!

I did learn from my physical therapist something I thought I needed to share with you all....she attended a seminar a couple of weekends ago where she learned that it was common for people who had experienced problems with their coccyx and had them removed to develop spondylolesthesis and bursitis! Imagine if they had told us that before. Not that I regret having my surgery because I don't and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. I have practically no pain in that area anymore, occasional discomfort if I sit for too long on a surface I know better than to sit on but otherwise I don't even need my coccyx cushion anymore to drive which is wonderful. I would have just liked to have known what to expect. I am only 35 years old and on most days I feel like I could be around 80 the way I mope around. I'm sure some of you can relate.

You all are welcome to email me with any questions you may have regarding my experience I know I should have made postings a long time ago, sorry this was so long but I felt it needed to be out there.

Thanks for your time.

Tonya

What is coccydynia? | Investigation and diagnosis | Treatment | Coping with coccyx pain | Find a doctor or specialist

Medical papers | Personal experiences | Links to other sites | Support groups | Site map