Nurse who suffers chronic tailbone pain

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I am a Registered Nurse who has suffered with tailbone pain for over 8 years. Like all chronic pain, it is essential that sufferers get the correct support, diagnosis and treatment appropriate for them as an individual. This blog follows my journey with chronic pain, it expresses my personal opinions and thoughts. It is not intended as a replacement for advice or treatment from your normal Healthcare Provider.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Causes of coccyx pain

Sorry I have been absent for a bit. My right sided abdominal pain has been quite bad and I haven't felt like blogging. I'm not sure if this is my ovarian cyst or my 'lost' coil (too much information!). In any event I now have a date for my laparoscopy- Feb 6th.

I actually feel like my coccyx pain has improved quite a bit and I have my physio to thank for this. I'm just unlucky that now I have this other pain to deal with which is clouding the picture somewhat.

It will be interesting to see post-operatively - how much, if at all, my coccydynia is affected. I really hope it does not stir everything up again. I am practising my relaxation breathing twice a day, and will continue to do so. My husband is continuing with the massages. I'm now not due to see my physio again until at least 20th Feb.

If you look at NHS Choices website it says that coccyx pain is due to the coccyx or surrounding tissue becoming damaged. It also states that one in every three cases has no obvious cause. Coccydynia can often develop gradually over time, with symptoms that become fairly well established before it is bad enough for sufferers to seek help; known in the medical profession as an 'insidious onset'.

Cited causes include- Childbirth, injury, repetitive strain injury (RSI), poor posture, being over or under weight, ageing, cancer....and I could add to that list (possibly) an ovarian cyst if it is pressing on nearby nerves or ligaments. Women are more likely to suffer as their pelvis is broader, meaning that sitting will place more pressure on the coccyx; our pelvis is also rotated, so the coccyx is more exposed to injury.

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, my coccydynia was of insidious onset. I was not sure exactly how or when it started. I have been told it was an old injury (possibly from being kicked as a child), that was then aggravated by spin cycling. I was at one time going 3-4 times a week. Spin cycling would come under RSI as it involved continually leaning forward, stretching and putting strain on my muscles and ligaments around my coccyx. These muscles were then permanently damaged and unable to hold my coccyx in the correct position. Obviously not every cyclist has the misfortune to get injured however!

My physio has always maintained that my coccyx is not my current problem, and that the pain is from the surrounding muscles and ligaments that have had years of holding my coccyx in the wrong position. They have overcompensated, trying to protect an old injury, as well as being subjected to bad posture whilst spin cycling. Obviously ongoing bad posture and sitting both at work and home have aggravated this.

I have sought numerous types of help and intervention in the past 5-7 years, all with various degrees of success and failure; but none ever really resolving my pain.

We can have between 3-5 coccygeal bones, some people will have one fused bone- all variations are normal. They may be vestigial (having become functionless in the course of evolution) according to many, but it does have important tendons, ligaments and muscles attached to it, especially for us females! It also keeps us stable whilst sitting.

I would say to anyone considering coccygectomy- be sure of your diagnosis. Just because you have coccyx pain (unless an obvious injury) it does not mean your poor little coccyx bone(s) need removing.

I will hope and pray that a surgeon messing around with my insides does not stir it all up again, just as I am seeing some progress.

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