Dr Durtnall coccyx treatment - return to dressage riding!

Antje, UK and Germany - antje704@web.de

Posted 2014-05-11

The misery started when I went skiing in 2009 and had a nasty fall on my back. I didn't feel anything until the next day, when I woke up with my whole pelvis in one big muscle spasm. When the muscle spasm eased after a couple of days it became apparent that I must have injured my coccyx. I couldn't sit on it and it even hurt when I was walking. Needless to say, the drive home from the skiing resort was pure agony – up to this day I don't know how I managed.

Back home in Germany I went to my orthopaedic doctor, who didn't even take an x-ray, but prescribed several sessions of acupuncture, which didn't help at all. I was still in agony. About 3 month after the accident I finally abandoned this orthopaedic doctor and went to see a different one. He finally took xrays… and after 3 failed tries he got the coccyx on there. He was sure it was broken and prescribed a ring pillow for me to sit on. (It wasn't actually a full ring, it was inflatable. Right now I am sometimes using this Backjoy. It helps to sit up straight and takes some pressure off the coccyx as well). Other than that, he said I would simply have to wait for it to heal. Which it didn't, because 6 months after the accident it was still very painful. In my desperation I went and got a second opinion from an orthopaedic surgeon at a hospital, who suggested either removing to coccyx or giving me cortisone injections. I was very scared and chose none of these options - which was a very good thing, as I now know…

Up to the day of my injury I had been a very active dressage rider, had regular training and competitions. However, since I couldn't even sit on a chair without my ring pillow, there was no chance I could sit on a horse. I had been riding for more than 20 years, horses had been my life and now I thought there was a good chance I had to give them up forever, since nobody could help me. I was absolutely devastated and couldn't even look at a horse without starting to cry.

It was not until the spring of 2011 that by chance I found Dr. Michael Durtnall on coccyx.org (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London). By that time I had moved from Germany to England to study Chiropractic myself, so a visit to Michael's clinic in London was no problem now and I decided immediately to give it a try. I had not sat on a horse in two years by that point…

When I went to his clinic Michael was very friendly and put me at ease straight away – I had been so nervous before the visit, because all the positive reviews on coccyx.org had given me new hope. He had a look at the x-rays that I brought and said in his opinion the coccyx was not actually broken, but one of its higher segments had subluxed slightly posteriorly so that whenever I sat down the coccyx didn't actually "fold under" me, but I would literally sit on the edge of one of its joints. He started treatment with a series of about three internal adjustments over the next appointments, which I was a little scared of, but which weren't too bad at all. Then he continued to do external adjustments as well as work on the surrounding musculature with dry needling and his thumper, a special tool to release muscular tension.

Since I had waited for two years (involuntarily!) before I went to see Michael my recovery was slow and I had some setbacks. All in all however I was slowly but definitely improving. Forgetting to bring my ring pillow to the car and not realising it until I had arrived at the supermarket car park was one of my milestones that made me ever so happy! After a year of treatment the unbelievable happened: Michael and I decided that it was finally time for me to try sitting on a horse again!

Fast forward to 2014: I am a dressage rider again!! I share an awesome horse two times a week and have found that once my coccyx pain went down below a certain point with the help of Michael's treatment riding actually helped me to further decrease it, because the movements on the horse seem to mobilise the joints. I still have periods of time when there is a little more pain and very long periods of sitting trot can leave my coccyx sore for a day or so. However, this is nothing compared to the state I was in when I came to see Michael for the first time in 2011!!

I still see Michael for treatment intermittently and am hopeful that given a little more time I could make a full recovery. Also, in a year's time I will be graduating from college as a chiropractor myself and before I go back to Germany to work I intend to learn all I can from Michael about coccyx treatment - so that I will be able to help my future patients much more effectively than just prescribing to get a pillow and wait!!

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