Dealing with coccyx pain

Lylima - lylima@yahoo.co.uk

Posted 2010-11-28

I am a 37 year old male from Botswana. My coccyx pain started one morning at the end of beginning of Feb 2010. I went to bed on a Sunday night and woke up the following morning with what seemed like mild pain down there. I dismissed the pain as a boil, which I get now and then, and prepared to go to work. It takes about an hour in the traffic to get to work.

When I got to work and tried to get out of the car, then the pain had intensified so much that I had to put my hands on top of the car with the door open and use the other hand to push me up!! I could barely walk. After failing to sit down for 5 straight minutes I knew I had to investigate the pain further so I headed to the rest-rooms where for the first time I knew that the coccyx can be so painful. Needless to say, I took the week off after consultation with the Dr. I took 2 months off work since I could not sit.

In the meantime, I did a lot of physiotherapy 2-3 times a week. This assisted quite a bit (Pain decreased by 30% and was able to go back to work at the end of March). I didn't take pain killers out of fear of developing a dependency on them. However, I needed to avoid situations where I could sit for a long time, hence I went to work a little later and knocked off a little early (30 mins). I also bought a chair called back-friend which is great to sit on. I use it at work.

Anyway, the physiotherapy lasted about 4 months, during which someone suggested sitting in a hot-water bath (like women do after giving birth). The pain decreased noticeably (by about 60%) and I continued with that for the next 8 months (until Oct/Nov 2010). In the meantime, I took up swimming and jogging, volleyball etc, sports that have little adverse effect on the coccyx. In fact, I noticed that if I didn't do the hot water thing, the pain would increase noticeably.

I cannot put a finger on the cause of my pain. However, 6 months prior to the pain occurring, I had changed jobs and the new one required me to sit and read for long periods of time (computer work). In retrospect, I noticed that about 60% of my time at work I would sit down early in the morning and never get up until lunchtime. My back became hunched - something the physiotherapist picked when she asked me to sit down - allowing the coccyx to touch the seat cushion. Also, in Dec 2009, I took a month long leave and drove long distances a lot - sometimes over 1000 km in one day or a couple of days. This all put pressure of my coccyx I believe. I took the X-Rays, MRI, physical exams - everything I could to try to find out the cause of the pain. All were clear or normal, thankfully.

Three weeks ago, I stumbled upon this site. The experience of R. K. Hennessy made me think I should try the exercises. I was already going to the gym since Sept, so adding more reps to my squats would be a piece of cake. I was doing about 100 squats (10 sets of 10 reps) with 10 kg weights once a week. So I increased the repetitions to 20 over 10 sets. Lo and behold the pain noticeably reduced to the point where I think it will be gone within the next 2 weeks. I became aware that it was not the bone which was painful, but some muscles or nerves or tissue - basically some flesh was to blame for the pain, not the bone itself at the moment. That's a huge relief.

On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain had reduced to about 1 before adding the higher rep squats last week. This week, I increased the reps to 30 with 12 sets on the 10 kg dumbbell. I intend to do the weightless squats during the week as well, however perhaps doing only 3 sets of 30 reps. Since my posture has been poor, I also do some sit-ups, press-ups and rotate back exercises to strengthen my back during the week. The results are good: I can sit for close to an hour without hunching anymore. This is necessary since I am now taking classes and some lessons offer breaks only after an hour has passed.

I hope by the end of December 2010 I will be pain free. Thanks for this wonderful site. I wish I had searched for it sooner.

Update, 2012-01-22

I continued doing the squats - adding about 100 each week. By the 1st week of Dec 2010, I was doing close to 400 squats each week. By then, I had no pain whatsoever on the coccyx. I guess it stopped during the last week of Nov 2010. I have therefore been pain free since then. The squats also strengthen the back, shoulder and neck muscles by the way, so I found that they assisted in improving my posture overall.

I would recommend that those whose only problem is sitting for long periods should take breaks - the normal sensible and balanced lifestyle would do you just fine - rest, exercise etc.

Thanks once again to this site and the wonderful (tho painful) experiences posted here.

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