1.) A Note on preventing further damage
First of all : If it hurts or feels uncomfortable, listen to your body and avoid that movement, and mix 'Good movement' into any bad movement
(P.S. I am 200 pounds, male, age 50, cause of coccyx pain: extended sitting on chair with no cushioning in spring of 2006, Vancouver, Canada)
There is a good chance of creating further damage, unless get approval from a physiotherapist or doctor about what alternative postures you are using. Doctors are usually cheaper than physio.
- I hurt my right knee in Jan 2007 (with anterior and posterior knee pain needing massage therapy) by sitting as long as 15 minutes on my heels starting in fall of '06, sometimes several times a day; with soles of feet facing up and top-of-feet touching floor. It gave me relief from coccyx pain and to 'condition' my legs I would sometimes do boxing exercises with my arms, which put an extra strain onto my knees from the up/down movement. My right knee is normally weaker than my left and whenever I got up from this position I felt like the right leg had fallen asleep. Short story: I did not listen to my body !!! - bad boy. Doctor said : no good; we are too old to sit like this without a life time of practice.
- By the same movement and sitting posture, I also hurt my left top-of-foot from squishing the top-of-foot blood vessel and its adjacent nerve bundle against the floor or surface I was sitting on, thus causing tingling in my left toes. Podiatrist said: It will take 3 months for nerves to fix themselves by leaving top-of-feet unexposed (no other cure known); also to use "Crocs" shoes (nylon padded clogs). He says surgeons including himself wear them in surgery. I smiled imagining how cute this looks. <> Good advice <> works like a charm for everyone who stands alot. Crocs type clogs come in varying colors including black and the imitations cost as little as $10 Cad.
- I also hurt my foot soles in fall of 2006 (now recovered) from inadequate moving about and standing still too long after raising my work desk to a stand up position. Physio treated me for Plantar Fasciitis and taught me to stretch my calves and shins to strengthen the muscles in sole of feet. Am continuing to do these stretches.
- Had sleep deprivation from coccyx pain on regular mattress. Fixed it nicely with memory foam topper (2.5").
2.) What works for the writer of this message to keep pain in check:
- Bring bloodflow to the pelvic area: walking / sex / swimming, and Gym: While lying on the back on an exercise mat : 'airing out the coccyx' and stretching legs and muscles/tendons around coccyx by grasping legs and feet with straight knees (& also crossing one foot over the other knee (other knee remains straight) and pulling gently on the bent knee to stretch coccyx tendons, hold stretch for 30 sec). If this is difficult for you, start small. It may take three months to become more flexible and to slim down to get that belly out of the way :-).
- Yoga (dense foam) blocks (about 8"x11" each) for floor exercises to sit on, and strengthen legs from a sitting position.
- Standing in "Crocs" at computer desk at the office.
- Memory foam mattress topper (2.5" thick) to sleep on
- Sitting across two chairs or on Ergo-Sit Rite cushion in Restaurant or on home computer. However, can sit longer pain free when sit across two chairs rather than using coccyx cushion.
- Sitting on ice in bed every night before sleep (timer: 14 min). Doctor says : don't walk around after sitting on ice! Makes sense.
- Sitting on an 'Ergo Sit-Rite' type cushion with a coccyx cut-out, approx 3" high (about 85$ Cad) that has a memory foam topper on top of a dense foam layer, enclosed in zippable cloth with rubber bottom. Bought it at "Relax-the-back" store in Burnaby, BC, Canada. Comes in black or blue. I also gave same to a friend with a upper back problem who now swears by it.
- Taking regular breaks from sitting by setting up my cell phone's alarm clock to ring every two hours <> So I can mix some 'good movement' into the bad movements.
Other items: I have a first appointment for internal manipulation and massage next week by an experienced person; Plan to follow that up within two days by a naturopatic treatment for ozone, then later plan to take a vacation and get a cortisone injection before the vacation and then plan to upkeep all the coccyx management habits learned to ensure optimized healing.
P.S. Jon Miles's fish oil : I'm glad I got thus reminded to take fish oil. Fish oil seems to be a panacea; also good for Alzheimers, other inflammation, allergies, you name it.
I had an ozone treatment last year before an international flight. Noticed : for one day no coccyx or any other inflammatory pain and improved stamina against the 'coughers sitting in the airplane'. Makes sense: ozone is highly reactive and enriches the blood with oxygen to assist in temporary speed healing.
Planning to have my car seat re-upholstered with a coccyx cut-out and with memory foam set on a dense foam layer.
Am currently pain free if I use the above methodology.
Am noticing that this coccyx thing makes me adopt a healthier life style: now go to gym and pool more often, makes me aware of my weight and that inflammation to be avoided requires dedicated management.
So friends, let's say: nothing is so bad that there is nothing good about it. Health writers say that nearly every disease is 'inflammation'. So, let's take this inflammation thing by storm, let's educate ourselves about inflammation, let's worry about eating less and eating more fruits and vegetables and let's retire happier. Knowledge is power.
Thanks again to Jon Miles for your fabulous web-site which enriches all of our lives.
- CD-Anonymous says: I am following up on yesterday's email because the reading of Dr Gunn's site (go to "FAQ's") matches some of my observations. Namely:
- Dr Gunn says : Almost invariably, nerves to muscles are involved. Affected muscles become shortened, and this physically compounds pain.
- CD-Anonymous says: the stretches I do lying on my back doing "air squatting" (squatting into the air) result in what I affectionately call "airing out the coccyx"; these stretches alleviate the pain. I do them every night in the gym.
- Dr Gunn says : the pain you feel is caused by abnormal and excessive sensitivity of your body's nervous system. This is medically known as 'supersensitivity.'
- CD-Anonymous says: My doctor said the same: "we need to re-educate our nerve endings". So, somehow the nerves got temporarily compromised and 'unwell' and need "airing out" and careful re-education. My doctor said to slowly re-expose my coccyx to increasingly larger (but well controlled) intervals of sitting. Also, in my previous email I mentioned I had sat on the floor on my heels with the top-of-foot sandwiched into the floor and the nerves got squished resulting in the Podiatrist's saying "it will take three months of underexposing the nerves of the top-of-foot for the nerves to heal themselves. <> So, this situation was to hit me over the head with what the coccydenia situation is related: Initially compromised nerves that need to be somehow re-educated in a controlled manner. The timer of my cell phone should help me with the intervals. Also, my doctor massaged the muscles or tendons, which were listed somewhere on your site as:
* levator ani muscle
* anococcygeal ligament
* sacro-tuberal ligament
* sacrospinal ligament
* gluteus maximus muscle
As my doctor did so he said, 'yes I can feel the right muscle/tendon (I can not recall exactly wether muscle or tendon) is tighter than the left' <> and guess what, I had zero pain after he did that as compared to before he did that.
I thought this might help others to do initial treatment.