I slipped and fell quite hard on my bottom on a tiled floor. Initial X-rays showed a fracture in the coccyx, but the orthopaedic surgeon sent me for an MR scan, which also showed a fracture in the sacrum (5th segment). It happened 4 weeks ago, and although I am still not back at work and resting most of the time, I experience a lot of pain (the orthopaedic surgeon recommended that I do not drive my car or sit for 6 weeks, and rest as much as possible). I have a bulging disc with annular tear at L5-S1 (since 2003), but it does not pinch the nerve. It does not seem to have been affected too much by the fall – compared to my previous MR scan, it bulges a little bit more. I would like to hear from people with similar injuries regarding what I could expect in terms of recovery – I’ve heard people say that a fractured coccyx can be painful for more than a year! Thanks very much.
Welcome to the board. Sorry you are in pain. You are correct in that a fracture of the coccyx can take a long time to heal and the pain can last a very long time.
Because there are so many attachments to the coccyx, it is almost impossible to immobilize it -- thus, no brace or cast. Occasionally, when it is really out of alignment and causing problems, surgery is performed, but I understand this is rare.
So, what to do while it is healing? You can get a doughnut or air cushion for sitting that is cut out--hard chairs can be more comfortable than soft, upholstered ones where the cushions envelope the tailbone area.
I would suggest using ice for pain. Or try a heating pad to see if that feels better -- or alternate.
Some suggest that exercise ultimately makes it heal faster and feel better. However, you need to be really careful so as not to do anything that would "reopen" the fracture line, or that would make it worse.
Sometimes it is very painful if you have to strain for a bowel movement. If that is the case, be sure to eat a high fiber diet and maybe use a stool softener.
Thanks very much for the advice. I have bought a special pillow with a horse-shoe shaped hole cut out at the back, so that the coccyx/sacrum does not touch the chair. I plan to go to a physiotherapist for advice on an excercise program, since I do not want to do any further damage.