A ballet coccyx story

Dr Steven Griffith - x-ray@silvynclinic.com

Posted 2009-03-15

I had my one and only coccyx adjustment when I was at university in Melbourne Victoria in 1981 studying anatomy. The outpatient clinician on rotation from the USA was using me as a study body for students when he found a possible misaligned coccyx. I had no obvious local symptoms but a history of many traumas and various pains, aches and imbalances as a twenty year old.

A student gloved up, and under direction from the clinician aligned my coccyx. While the thought was a bit gross, the result was fabulous. I had never had a clearer head, I had flexibility and trunk extension and power in the legs so I could take up mountain search-and-rescue. I was impressed and as a gastro-intestinal pathology tech in the university morgue I decided to move onward and inward.

A few years later I was a 4th year chiropractic student, and sent to a university health clinic (RMITU) in Abbottsford, Melbourne, Victoria, when the clinician noted a coccydynia patient for allocation. I and a 5th year were the only two to put our hands up for the 2 hour university examination procedure which guaranteed 'rectal time'.

The patient was a slim 19 year old ballerina with all the hallmarks of coccyx involvement, and at an appropriate time after examination, x-ray and clinical correlation with the 'uni boffins' we did an anterior elevation of S2. It made quite an audible pop, and the girl gave an exclamation of pleasure and relaxed immensely. Her mother stepped up, re-evaluated her daughter and asked quite seriously 'Can I have one of those?'.

It turned out the girl was a ballet student at the Australian Ballet Corporation, and after six hours assessments and evaluations over 3 days we were given the go-ahead and gave two anterior manipulations/elevations in consecutive days. The mother was greatly relieved, and explained she was the ballet dance instructors' instructor, and doing many stretches it was common for dancers to topple on their slim buttocks. Many dancers in those days took aspirin with every cup of tea of the day.

As the years moved on, I became known as doctor brown thumb as I had the only standing practice in the university, caring for ballet dancers. Soon I had 31 of 32 local publicans as patients, as word had spread by the ballerinas of my proctology, and publicans sometimes fell on their butts throwing drunks out and falling under runaway kegs of bear. Then their senior staff, as bouncers often fell backwards when escorting headlocked unruly patrons to all slip on wet sidewalks.

I did a mental count, I may not have done 100 individuals as internal coccyx releases, but I have done it 300 times plus, some were done 7 times (dancers all categories and girls), one was 11 (a pub manager/bouncer), some one, most of them two or 3. None got worse, audible pops were heard on 50% of first timers. Back in the days of no insurance, contact was on S1-S2 only, not on tip, some were straight A-P line of drive, a lot were displaced and needed wiggling back like moving a tooth.

I moved two thousand miles to Queensland to build a family wellness practice, and twenty years later I see the occasional coccyx patient.

(Note - See Dr Griffith's contact details in Doctors and specialists in Australia.)

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