Coccyx removal May 2007

Jane - jampes@tiscali.co.uk

Posted 2007-06-10

Firstly a huge thank you to Jon for setting up this fantastic website - so informative and a great way to share ones experiences.

Please allow me to share my experience with you all. Four years ago I had a bladder and sterilisation operation that was a very successful operation and up to this date never suffered with back problems. Three months after this surgery I started to get sharp pains in my coccyx when sitting down/getting up and not being able to sleep on my back became a problem. The pain continued and as I was having ultrasound for scar tissue pain from the previous surgery my physio suggested ultrasound on my coccyx. This actually aggravated it and made it so sore that I completely ruled this out. Meanwhile, I continued to live with the pain hoping that in time it would settle. Mystified as to what really caused this - I can only think that whilst having the earlier surgery I must have been laying in an awkward position too long and in turn got referred pain to my coccyx. I have noted from a fellow female suffer on this site who also had a gynaecological procedure that she later developed coccydina, and therefore wonder if there is some connection? Perhaps someone in the medical profession could do some research on this?

I was then referred to see a consultant and had 3 steroid injections over a period of 3 years with manipulation under anaesthetic. The first initially worked for about a month and then the pain started creeping back. The second made no difference and then my consultant retired. I was then was given a new consultant who advised that I try one more injection and if this did not work to consider removal of my coccyx. Sadly the third injection made no difference whatsoever. Throughout this time, I tried various cushions and rubber ring and was desperate to sit comfortably and be pain free.

I do believe that people who are not familiar with this condition probably look at you and think that there is nothing wrong - as visually you look okay, but as all you fellow sufferers know the pain can be dreadful and get you down. I hate using public transport buses their seats are like rocks; you dread every bump in the road. Luckily I have my own car that has a well padded seat but I still dread small roundabouts and speed bumps. I am so looking forward to doing activities that I have had to give up like horseriding and cycling. I am only 49 but some days felt like an old granny struggling to get out my chair, which is why I knew that surgery was going to be my best option.

However, moving on I had my surgery one week ago and am slowly recovering. Here is my diary of events so far:

Day 1 Booked in as a day case for removal of coccyx under general anaesthetic. Surgery done, I was woken up and felt very groggy and nauseous. Given an anti-sickness injection and advised to get dressed to leave. Once home I went straight to bed.

Day 2 Resting inbed and taking pain control tablets. Ventured to the toilet - very difficult and painful. (Squatting seemed easier than sitting). Lying on my sides mostly - although after a while this is causing me pain at the top of my legs and hips hurt. A feeling of numbness keeps happening; I keep changing sides to get comfortable whilst drifting in and out of sleep - feeling the pain now in the coccyx area.

Day 4 Decided to have a shower and followed the advice of a Dr Chan who treated a fellow suffer (found on this site) as when I was discharged very little information on after care was given. I asked what type of stitches I had and was told that they were dissolvable and given Codeine and some dressings. I discovered a web of steri-strips had been used to seal the wound and initially was unsure as to whether they could get wet or not. I have a 2" cut and bruising. I decided to remove the dressing and showered, I felt ok afterwards other than being a bit light headed. Getting concerned as no bm even though I had taken senna tablets,eating lots of fruit and brown bread so hopefully things will start to move soon! Discovered that codeine can make you constipated, so need to eat more fruit/veg and drink even more and more. Fresh fruit salads are a good option and I would suggest you get someone to make you enough for a few days. Late evening - glad to report I have finally been able to go. (Sorry no embarrassment meant). But you will need to be aware of this if you are going to have surgery.

Day 5 Rested again in bed and laying on my stomach has been the best option for me, this distributes my weight more evenly and I watch tv upside down on my bed as it more comfortable rather than twisting my neck to view the screen. Pain under control, only eating small meals but drinking plenty of fluids. Not able to sleep on my back or sit yet. Rubber ring and small cushions in my bed all being tried as I am uncomfortable. My dear husband has been has been great and I thank him for his love and care.

Day 7 A week of complete bed rest, and I feel a lot better in myself,I got up today and watered the plants outside and put some washing on. Taking it easy still and basically just pottering around. Resting this afternoon with some reading. In general a bit stiff, bending is difficult and I am still lying on my side. Pain under good control - Diclofenic and Codeine, occasionally I get sharp shooting pains. The pain is manageable and the wound is dry and looks like it is healing well. I am pleased with my progress so far and look forward to being pain free again in time. This took me a bit of time to type as I was hurting and trying to get comfortable. I have now managed this and would like to thank all you fellow sufferers for sharing your experiences and hope that my own will also help others. Please feel free to email me if I can be of any help to anyone.

I will update you further on my progress soon.

Jane

Update, 2007-08-12

It has now been 9 weeks since my surgery and whilst not pain free I have noticed an improvement. I had 6 weeks of work with no driving, and then returned back to work full time. I have cushions in the car and for my chair at work and armed with my painkillers I went back. By mid afternoon the pain starts to niggle and driving home is uncomfortable. At the end of each day I am glad to put my feet up and sit on my side.

The benefits that I have noticed are that I can sit more easily without the sharp shooting pain - which is great, however getting up particularly if having sat for a few hours is still painful and when I get home from work I can't wait to sit sideways and rest.

I did ask my consultant if he thought that childbirth or my bladder operation may have caused this pain and he thinks not. More likely that my coccyx was more mobile and I just developed it. I am glad that I had the surgery and feel confident that in time my pain will improve. I healed within 2 weeks and have a small thin scar and look forward to going horse riding and riding my bike soon.

Update, 2007-12-02

November 2007 - 6 months on from coccyx removal

Having had my coccyx removed at the end of May I am pleased to report that I am now 95% better! I have just returned from a 2 week holiday in India and prior to my long haul flights I was a little anxious about my comfort on the plane. After a couple of hours I was slightly uncomfortable but found that sitting on a neck pillow slightly blown up did the trick. Whilst on holiday I had the opportunity to ride an elephant and guess what no pain! On my return trip the flight was a little longer (10 1/2 hours) and luckily for me there were spare seats so I was able to stretch out and sleep. All in all I feel so much better than I did 3 months ago and have no regrets in having this surgery. The only symptom that I occasionally get now is a slight sharp tingle pain above the coccyx area but it only last seconds and I can live with this. Other than this I still am selective on what I sit on and avoid hard seats as comfort is so important.

Lastly my advice to anyone having coccyx removal surgery is do allow your body time to heal, don't expect to be able to do things too quickly, I would definitely say take off at least 8 weeks off. I went back to work after 6 weeks but in hindsight this was too soon. You will feel so much better if you take things gradually and will reap the benefits of rest long- term if you follow this advice.

Jane

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