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.

Monday, 9 March 2015

My home treatments- at the moment

So, for me, at the moment, I am concentrating on massage and pressure point work. Luckily I have a husband to do this! I am using this combined with heat, my pelvic floor exercises, and walking.

For the massage my husband either uses one or two thumbs, or the heal of his hand. He does this for me every 2-3 days. He massages in an outward motion (away from my buttock cleft), hard, concentrating the pressure solely on my buttocks. He does this for at least 10-15 minutes each side, until any hard, knotty areas ease, which they do. That being said, they return within 48-72 hours. These areas are what are known as myofascial trigger points. Explained by Wikipedia as-

"Myofascial trigger points, also known as trigger points, trigger sites, or muscle knots, are hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding skeletal muscle. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibres".

Wikipedia also states "Studies estimate that in 75–95 percent of cases, myofascial pain is a primary cause of regional pain. Myofascial pain is associated with muscle tenderness that arises from trigger points, focal points of tenderness, a few millimetres in diameter, found at multiple sites in a muscle and the fascia of muscle tissue".

Referred pain is apparently often caused by myofascial pain, and yet often overlooked. Another way of dealing with these trigger points, is to apply pressure to the spots with your thumb, until they ease. You can follow the knicker/pants line, and this normally helps you locate these areas.

A lot of my pain seems to be in the muscles now; from years of them tensing and holding my coccyx incorrectly. I therefore hope if I persevere with this massage, it will over time permanently restore them to their correct relaxed position and function.

To compliment this, I regularly use my heat pad, both to sit and lie on. Heat causes the blood vessels to widen and encourages blood supply to the area thereby promoting healing to damaged tissue. Heat has a soothing effect and helps reduce pain and any muscle spasm. It can also ease joint stiffness and bony pain. Heat should be a gentle warmth, not too hot, as you may cause damage to the tissues. I find heat very soothing, and lying on my pad at night helps me to get a good nights sleep. It has a safety function that enables it to switch off automatically, so I am at no risk of burning. My heat pad is also good after a massage.

My final approach, to compliment all of this, is my pelvic floor exercises. Some people refer to exercises that involve the pelvic floor and coccyx as 'anal lock'. It is what my physio has had me doing. As with walking it stimulates nerves in that area, with the additional benefits of toning and strengthening your pelvic floor- and importantly the muscles around ones coccyx. It can ease coccyx pain. Initially I have found it aggravates my pain; to me this demonstrates that it is working the correct muscles. The pain it causes does not stay, it only occurs when I perform the exercises. For me, as a female, it is question of tightening everything- as if trying to stop having a wee, holding vaginally and anally. I have been instructed by my physio to do this 10 times, hold for a count of 10, then release, then do 10 quick ones, and to do this 3 times a day (which I have to admit is really difficult). My last ones at night I follow with some relaxation, to ensure I am not holding any tension in that area before I go to sleep. At night I do this whilst on my heat pad.

Obviously, I am also regularly exercising, whether that is walking, or doing a small bit of running. Sitting aggravates my pain, so getting up and moving around, and exercising is an obvious thing to do. As mentioned it helps stimulate nerves in that area, and relaxes me both mentally and physically, thereby helping me release any tension I am building and holding in that area.

Having the motivation is not so easy, which is annoying as it helps the pain!

I am hoping that these 'home treatments' will help me long-term. As I have mentioned before, I am not prepared to have a coccygectomy to remove my degenerating coccyx, I do not want a nerve block either, and I am not prepared to undergo any bowel surgery to remove the part of my bowel that is pressing on my coccyx. My pelvic varices are apparently also there to stay. So what pain I have, I need to learn to manage, and I need to help myself as much as I can.

4 comments:

  1. So this treatment is temporary ?? why do therapists use it ??? why can't they use a more permanent treatment , you are lucky to have a good husband to do this ,what would it cost you you have regular treatments ??

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  2. I think some have found permanent relief by using a PT/physiotherapist. Audley Harrison for one. Maybe it depends how long you have had the problem for, which is why I think it's essential to get this treatment in the early days, BEFORE it becomes a chronic problem. I think once you've had coccydynia for years it becomes harder to resolve sadly. And sadly, because it is so poorly understood, it is often too late :( My physio was charging £38 for half an hour, but by the time we'd chatted etc, I was probably only getting about 10-15 mins massage work.

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  3. Because it is poorly understood , and difficult to find a therapist who knows what to do , is there a chance to resolve the problem when it becomes Chronic ?? ,or is to late and you are caught in this cycle of pain

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  4. I really wish I knew the answer to that. That's something I would dearly like to know. Maybe it's a question I could ask: whether those that have had this treatment have had permanent relief, or whether the pain returned. I try and stay optimistic because the alternative is too depressing. So far it has helped me, but it's not got rid of the pain, merely reduced it, but that in itself gives me hope and the ability to cope better.

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