Wondering about surgery

Karen - k.f.griffin@gmail.com

Posted 2012-02-19

I got my foot hung under a chair roller at work 20 years ago and broke my coccyx. Because it was a work-related injury, I had to go to my employer's hand-picked physician, who examined me by sticking his rubber-gloved finger up my rear, which was MOST uncomfortable. He said, "Yes, it's broken," and that was that. I was in severe pain and could not sit even on a "doughnut" pillow. Probably four weeks later, I was just beginning to feel a little better and was trying to sit down in a chair. I hit my tailbone hard on the arm of the chair as I started to sit down, which completely re-injured my tailbone and restarted the healing process. I never felt 100% percent after that.

Coincidentally, I started having edema in my lower legs at about the same time, and I have always wondered if my coccyx injury created some sort of circulation problem in my lower legs that caused the edema. I have had edema since then and have had complications of severe cellulitis as a result, which has required four weeks of hospitalization in the past 1-1/2 years and lengthy rounds of very strong antibiotics which pretty much blew my previously good veins.

Six or seven years after my initial coccyx break, I fell down a flight of stairs on my tailbone and broke it again. Am I a klutz or what??? Now I have constant low back pain and problems sitting for more than a few minutes at a time. Recently I have developed a soreness in my lower abdominal muscles that I feel when I make certain moves (lying down on my back, doing exercises that stress my abdomen, etc.). I have absolutely no symptoms otherwise, so I'm wondering if my abdomen soreness is coming from the constant soreness in my low back.

Nothing showed on an x-ray I had a few years ago (other than the broken coccyx), but I have never had an MRI. For treatment I have had acupuncture and cortisone injections but have only had minimal relief. This entire thing is so frustrating because I had a good back (no arthritis or other problems) until this happened. At age 59, I have excellent bone density as well. I have thought about the possibility of having surgery on my tailbone, but the detailed explanation of the recovery on your website makes it sound very difficult to return to work in a reasonable amount of time after having the surgery. I believe I've heard of "shaving" the coccyx as well. Is that surgery a more conservative alternative? Is coccyx removal surgery an inpatient procedure, or is it done on an outpatient basis?

Karen

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