Broken tail bone from childbirth


My story is that I gave birth a little over 3 years ago. I was at 42 weeks and had no symptoms of labour.

The hospital staff gave me an injection to make things happen. I was in chronic pain during my labour and was given an epidural as hours later they were still waiting for the final centimetre of dilation. Then my baby girl was in distress and they said they had to deliver her quickly. She came out with her head and arm first. She was dislocated in the process.

When everything calmed down she was given to me to hold and the doctor congratulated us and went home. The nurses had left the room and a little while after that I suffered a massive bleed. The doctor rushed back and he had his hands inside me trying to find and stop the bleeding. I was offered a transfusion but said I would be fine. I was in a lot of pain and the nursing staff weren't sympathetic. They spoke to me in a manner that made me feel they thought I was a sook.

I found it hard to move, sit, stand, lie down. I went home and found it really hard to do my housework, return to part time work, carry my baby. I couldn't exercise and suffered a prolapse.

I did my pelvic floor exercises. I complained to my doctor as well as the physio that I had numbness in my feet, sometimes warm rushes that went down my leg. I told them I had chronic pain. The pain would shoot down my leg and I would yelp in the middle of walking and freeze and then as quickly as the shooting pain would come it would go. I shared that for a good period of time I could not straighten quickly to rise from bed to go and get ready for my other children and work. I shared how I had sharp stabbing pains quite regularly down my legs.

I even tried Bowen Therapy in my search for relief and healing....that was a crock and a waste of money. Basically I tried to convey the different layers of pain that I had...the constant drone of ache the sharp stabbing pains, the pains in my back as well as the descriptions of pain in my feet.

My nerves felt raw. I was unable to participate in my usual fit lifestyle of soccer coaching and yoga as well as fitness instructing. My pain was worn on my face and in my clenched hands at most times through the day. I felt like I was deteriorating and compressing in my lower spine area.

I was never sent for xrays or anything until I recently went to a new doctor who bulk bills. It turns out that my tail bone was broken....on the xray there is a big gap and the bottom parts are pointed inwards. I don't know how to describe the bottom 2 knuckles perhaps.

I live in a country town in Australia and she is referring me to the physio again. I had no relief from physiotherapy last time and am unsure how it will help this time. I am wondering if I should be asking for a referral to a spinal specialist, or a chiropractor instead. I am 41 years old and am worried about my quality of life as I age with this problem. I am also very upset with the lack of care I had received. No one wanted to look into any of my pain and as a result I felt like there was something wrong with me not being able to handle childbirth. Silly now that I know what I have been living with and doing my best to cope with.

I really need some advice. Is 3 years later too late for any help? What should I look for in a chiropractor or should I be seek different medical help? What questions should I ask someone to know that they are really good at what they do? I am a strong minded person and I have not taken any medication for my pain as I was breast feeding and now have been learning to just live with it. Should I be taking an anti inflammatory? It is always a constant but some days can be worse that others and I am really grateful for the relief of the better days. I wake at night with pain pulsating. I can't be on my feet for long periods of time. The numbness is always there. Will pain killers help with that? Or if I take them will I do something that could exacerbate my problem say for instance think I can exercise again and push myself to far because I can't feel the boundaries of pain? Can any of this be reversed? I would be so grateful for any advice you can share with me.

Thank you.

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Jul 26, 2014
subluxated tailbone
by: Dr B

Dear Shonnabee,
You certainly are a strong lady; and one in a lot of pain.

Firstly, let's try and establish if your coccyx actually is the problem, or part of the problem, or what's called an incidental finding; something that's there, but not causing your pain.

It's not likely to be fractured incidently in the absence of trauma, but certainly subluxated anteriorally.

If you run your finger down centrally over the sacrum until just before the anus, and then press hard, is it painful? Usually sitting on it is sore, particularly if you sit back on a hard stool.

Now to your back; if you bend slowly forwards, then backwards and to the side, do you get pain? Does it radiate down the leg? Try and be specific.

Sit on a kitchen chair; first raise one leg parallel to the ground, down, then the other. Pain? Where? Now repeat with your head flexed on your chest. It's best actually if hubby raises your leg; it's called a passive test.

Now, go prodding around the groin and inner thigh, and the pubic bones; are they very sensitive?

I would start our very basic three back exercises that you'll find in the navigation bar. Do them before getting out of bed and several times a day; they take only 40s.

Go for several short walks every day, and if you have access to a pool, some swimming.

There are really many things that could have happened; it could even be internal, I suppose, but probably not.

Give me some answers and we'll take this further; keep to the same thread.

Dr Barrie Lewis

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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