A story of hope and recovery from idiopathic coccydynia

Piyumi - crystalspirit88@hotmail.com

Posted 2011-08-21

My name is Piyumi (23 years old) and I first developed a case of idiopathic Coccydynia eight months ago. At present, I'm on my way to a near-complete recovery but I am writing this in the hope that it will be of use to someone else undergoing this difficult condition. I am not a doctor and cannot reliably speak of treatment for the more chronic forms of this condition or for people who have been suffering from Coccydynia for many years. However, for anyone whose symptoms and experiences match mine, perhaps this story can be of some help.

My pain started out early in January 2011 as a slight nagging/tingling sensation in the tailbone. At this point, I had been working about a year in a job that typically required sitting long hours at a desk and like most people would, I ignored the sensation and chalked it up to stress. When my pain started getting worse however, I started to worry that all my 'sitting' might have aggravated an old injury from an accident ten years ago a fall from a height of about 6 feet, landing on my tailbone. At the time of my first trip to an orthopedic specialist, I was experiencing the following symptoms: pain upon bending over, pain during a bowel movement and a general sensitivity in the coccyx region. Two pelvic X-rays in different positions (lying flat/on a side) indicated no abnormalities and I was given a fistful of painkillers. The doctor in question seemed to think all my pain was in my head and pretty much told me not to think too much about it.

Over the next 2 months, my pain shot up from a level 2 to a level 8 on a scale of 1-10. It hurt to laugh, cough, sneeze or even walk. I could not move my head looking up or down/left to right without wincing in pain. I could not bend over at all and had to squat if say, I wanted to retrieve an object on the ground. I dreaded having to exert myself and things I took for granted like brushing my teeth and putting on my jeans became an ordeal. I could not sleep on my back and spent as much time as possible on my feet. Getting out of bed required me to use my hands to boost my lower body off the bed. I lived alone and felt like I was going crazy. Worse, the pain morphed in different, unpredictable ways. At one point, I would experience one or two whole hours of deep, intense pain and would just lie in bed crumpled up and crying waiting for it to pass. I could not think, let alone concentrate and whenever I was in pain, I was miserable beyond belief and felt terribly angry at the world. Hands down, the worst experience of my life.

In trying to recover from Coccydynia, I visited three different doctors, underwent the usual battery of diagnostic tests X-ray, ultrasound and MRI and experimented with a number of treatments including anti-inflammatory medications such as Celebrex (celecoxib) and Arcoxia (etoricoxib), physiotherapy involving hot packs followed by low-frequency ultrasound and mentholated creams as well as pelvic floor exercises. I tried alternative therapies such as positive mental visualization and meditation. I scoured the internet for information. For a while, I led myself to believe that it might all be in my head and wondered whether I had some type of fibromyalgia/Tension Myositis Syndrome.

Despite all this searching and the intensity of my pain, I was ultimately helped by two ridiculously simple treatment:

1. The use of ice-heat therapy twice a day: This included 5-10 minutes of applying ice to the region, followed by 10 minutes of applying a source of moist heat (a washcloth dipped in hot water).

2. Using a ring cushion RELIGIOUSLY while sitting AND cutting down the time spent sitting altogether.

These were therapies that I'd largely ignored I always assumed there was some structural problem and the intensity of my pain led me to believe that I would need chiropractic manipulations, corticosteroid injections or some type of advanced treatment. While I didn't have much faith initially, the results came slowly and surely in time. After about 2-3 weeks of starting this treatment, I noticed a clear decrease in pain. During this time, I did not do anything in the way of physiotherapy and I was not on pain medication. All I did was walk slowly for exercise.

The best advice I received from my doctor was to hold back from treating this condition aggressively and to be extremely patient with the ups and downs of the healing process. There are good days and bad days during the recovery period. Of course, it is terribly important to get the diagnostic tests done early on and identify the cause of your coccyx pain, especially if there are issues such as dislocation/cysts, etc. involved. However, for someone out there who has experienced a sudden onset of Coccydynia brought on by repetitive sitting and a history of trauma to the region, I would definitely recommend the course of treatment (i.e. ice/heat, ring cushion) I followed.

So, if you are currently in pain because of idiopathic Coccydynia, please do not lose hope. Try these simple treatments they may offer some relief. Overall, it took me about 2-3 months of sustained, daily ice-heat therapy and ring cushion use to find lasting results. Today 8 months after the onset of pain I still experience slight residual stiffness and occasional discomfort in the coccyx region. But compared to the terrible pain I felt in the past, it is NOTHING. I am able to sit and work long hours as before (though I am a LOT more careful to take frequent breaks from sitting). I am able to live my life, exercise, dance, and laugh again. Better still, I value a healthy body that much more now.

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