My Coccyx Pain or Coccydynia

My coccyx pain began in June of 2015. My husband and I were flying back from Italy to San Francisco, with a connection in Toronto. I had no problem on the first leg of the flight, but as soon as I took my seat on the connection flight from Toronto, I began to have tingling pain in my coccyx area.

After coming back from the trip, I had that tingling pain for about 1 month more, then suddenly the pain got really bad. I couldn’t sit or lay down without pain in my coccyx and standing up from a sitting position caused a sharp radiating pain around the same area. Even walking became a challenge; I noticed my posture changed as I began to move slower than usual. I realized it was time to seek medical help.

After visiting my primary doctor in mid-August, I was recommended to take Ibuprofen 600 mg for 10 days.  Next, since I didn’t feel any improvement, I got an X-ray which showed no abnormalities. So my doctor made a referral to get an injection from the Pain and Anesthesia Department. Unfortunately, the next available appointment was a month away.

At the time I was a full-time student, and I had to sit many agonizing hours while driving and attending classes. My friends and family advised me to use a donut-shaped seat cushion, so I bought one at the local pharmacy. I tried it for a couple of weeks, but it seemed that instead of relieving my pain it was causing more pressure around my coccyx. I needed to find a better solution. I found a Pilates ball sitting in my garage and began to take it to school with me. I also used it while watching TV in my house, at the time I couldn’t sit on any couch or chair so it was an ok and not-so-painful solution to my sitting down problem.

I went to my appointment on September 30th. The doctor at the pain department told me he was used to seeing cases like mine; people sitting on a flight for long hours and getting up to having coccyx pain. The diagnosis was “Coccydynia” and he recommended an injection of what I think was a combination of a local anesthetic and a steroid (I don’t remember exactly) into the tissues surrounding my coccyx. I got out of his office with no pain but with a numb butt. I was given a diary to keep track of my pain for the next 2 weeks, and instructions to contact the doctor back if after 2 weeks the pain has returned. I didn’t like the feeling of having a numb butt; I could sit with no pain, but I wasn’t sure if actually, I was hurting myself even more without knowing. The numbing lasted only for about 4 hours, the pain came back progressively.

As the two weeks went by, my pain came back to the original 6/7 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being excruciating pain). I looked for a different approach so I went to a chiropractor for about 4 sessions which gave me no relief. I became addicted to icing my coccyx area to numb it before going to sleep; I was desperate. Right around that time, I bought the Aylio Coccyx Orthopedic Comfort Foam Seat Cushion from Amazon, which was one of the key elements to my recovery since it is designed so that the area of ​​the coccyx does not have contact with any surface. A month after my injection I contacted the doctor again, and he said I needed another injection. I didn’t want to get another temporary fix, so I refused to get another shot, so he ordered an MRI. On November 24th, I got my MRI which result “Nonspecific minimal bone marrow edema seen involving the distal coccyx with associated mild inflammatory T2 signal changes involving the surrounding soft tissues” only confirmed what I already knew “I had pain and inflammation on the coccyx area”; I was against the wall. This time the doctor recommended physical therapy, and I was hopeful this would be the solution.

The physical therapist told me that they couldn’t really help me since my issue was in an area that was hard to reach, but she referred me to a physical therapist from the Gynecology department. I saw the physical therapist from the Gynecology department on December 16th and after a short evaluation, she told me that the muscles of my pelvic floor were very tight and that was one possible cause of my pain. We began therapy with exercises that same visit, I am going to say that at the beginning I wasn’t comfortable with this kind of therapy. During my visits, the physical therapist manipulated my pelvic floor muscles from my vagina with her fingers and after each visit, she gave me a set of exercises to continue my improvement at home. Around that time I began to use the Sunbeam Body Shaped Heating pad for about 10 min before going to bed, this was another key element for my recovery. From the first therapy, I felt better, and as I continued with therapy and exercises I could see and feel my quick improvement. On February 12, 2016, after only 4 sessions, I was discharged from having office visits; I felt so much better after only 2 months.

I continued doing the exercises for about 2 months more as I kept feeling better. In June of 2016, I was able to fly for the first time to Mexico in the company of my Aylio cushion seat. The cushion became my best traveling friend considering I took it everywhere I went; fine dining restaurants included. Since then I have traveled to Europe and Mexico twice. This year, I began to drive short distances without the cushion, but I still take it with me on trips longer than 1 hour. In February I began to work out again after almost 1.5 years without physical activity aside from walking. I wish I could tell you that I am fully recovered after 2 years of dealing with Coccydynia pain, but I am not. Even though my daily routine is almost back to normal, I still feel my coccyx area getting tight, tingly, and painful from time to time. When this happens I do the exercises that my therapist gave me as they seem to keep helping.

UPDATE 7/2018 – I am happy to report that I don’t use the cushion anymore. I can drive and travel for long hours without feeling pain. Although, from time to time some chairs make me feel uncomfortable.

UPDATE 4/25 – Even though My coccyx pain (Coccydynia) hasn’t come back, from time to time with some chairs (when I sit for a prolonged amount of time) my coccyx still feels discomfort. One tip my Physical Therapist gave me is to roll a towel or a sweater behind my lower back to correct my position, and the discomfort usually goes away. I also make sure to get up and move around every hour or so.

 I hope my story has helped you in your journey. If you have any questions please feel free to comment or contact me. I’ll be happy to help!

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