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.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Leaky gut and pain

Well, the gluten free diet is NOT going very well really. It is harder than I imagined. I thought I was being so careful- I bought myself gluten free bread, porridge, biscuits, cake, soy sauce...everything I thought would keep me gluten free and avoid temptation to eat the 'bad stuff'.

We had a night away recently, and breakfast was a challenge- no cereal to be had as it all contained gluten, same with the yoghurt, and sausages. I managed to have eggs and bacon and luckily the hotel had some gluten free bread. My fault as I didn't ring ahead and warn them, I just naively assumed that in these days of allergy awareness I would have a bit more choice available.

Then yesterday I had a roast dinner out. I was pleased with myself as I remembered to avoid the gravy (as it can contain gluten); but when I got home I realised I had eaten a Yorkshire pudding and some stuffing without giving it a second thought. How stupid of me.

I've been doing gluten free for almost two weeks now and can't say I've noticed any difference. I'm not sure how long it should take to make a difference; but then I was not (in my opinion) really suffering like many do anyway. I get no pain or abdominal bloating.

Anyway, the logic behind this was to rest my gut as the physio thinks I have 'leaky gut syndrome'. Yet another diagnosis/opinion (I am getting a bit fed up of these to be honest!) I went to get help with pain management, not to be given more labels. He thinks this 'leaky gut' is possibly due to past use of antibiotics. I took these once or twice, sometimes more, every year, for sinusitis from a very early age.  This antibiotic use, may, apparently have resulted in my gut being more permeable (leaky) than it should be.This results in particles of food/toxins leaking into the bloodstream. This in turn will send signals to my immune system to initiate a response, 'attack mode' as it were.

Our body will make antibodies (a blood protein), to attack any antigens (any foreign substance). Obviously in our gut we have thousands of different bacteria. They are not all bad, in fact many contribute towards our general health and well being. Bacteria help our immune system to develop. They stop our bodies recognising our immune system as foreign and attacking it, they are part of us. Any imbalance in our gut will cause us to attack not only our own immune system, but the body itself. In leaky gut syndrome this means the body may attack its own cells and tissues and cause autoimmunity. This will in turn cause inflammation and if you already have a predisposition to inflammation- well it's a bit of a double whammy!

Joint pain from the gut

Antibiotic use is just one of the causes that have been cited; others are gastroenteritis, or use of the birth control pill. Symptoms are wide ranging from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, to digestive problems, asthma, allergies, depression and anxiety.

The Connection Between Leaky Gut and Joint Pain

It seems that the treatment you are given depends on the cause of your 'leaky gut'; or at least your practitioners thoughts on the best way forward.

So, I am pursuing my gluten free diet for another week. This is to see if I am sensitive to gluten, to rest my gut. In other words I am eliminating a possible irritant, that my antibiotic damaged gut may be sensitive to. Then I am to try probiotiocs and possibly enzymes to rebalance things there. In this way I am replacing the possible irritant with a healthy alternative. The use of probiotics, enzymes and the addition of appropriate vitamins and minerals is thought to help repair the gut.

This is how I understand it anyway....I may be wrong, this a new one to me!!

I will then have to maintain this by a healthy lifestyle and diet- which in all honesty I firmly believe I have anyway! I dislike convenience food ('yellow' food!). I dislike stodgy food and sugary drinks. I exercise regularly and all our food is prepared from scratch with wholesome ingredients.

So, once again, we'll see. If my gut is the cause of my ongoing pain I will be surprised, but happy to at least be getting somewhere!


  1. I have RA, and unexplained coccyx pain that started 5 years ago. I've found exercises from the Egoscue method ( the most helpful, especially the progressive groin stretch. Then 6 months ago, massive heartburn started and I was just fed up with being constantly in pain and uncomfortable. It's extreme, but I decided to try the Paleo diet after reading The Paleo Cure by Chris Kresser. Within 2 weeks I noticed a significant reduction in my overall pain levels. A month in I realized my tailbone was practically back to normal! I believe a lot of what we eat causes inflamation and just cutting out sugar and processed foods for me was what did the trick. It's crazy hard to follow, but the amount of energy I have now, and the lack of pain makes me feel like a new person! 20 years younger! I recommend it 100%, but I wish you the best of luck in your journey.

  2. Hi Tracie, thanks for sharing. The egoscue method sounds really interesting from what I can see. It seems similar to what my current physio is doing. It looks like they are only in America though :(
    Interesting how diet has helped too. I am doing the 5:2 which has helped me loose weight; but I confess that I have returned to eating biscuits and cake on non-fasting days which probably is not helping. I really need to try and cut down on these again! Thanks again.