I want to give an update on my original post about acupuncture for coccyx pain. I have received some comments about my progress and thought it would be a good time for an update. First, I will provide some background on exactly what happened. You can also read more information in my original post here.
Going back a few years (this is relevant I promise)
Late in 2015, I suffered had a pretty bad back injury, and it took months to recover. During this time, I was not able to work out at all during my recovery. In June of 2016, I was finally ready to start working out again, doing some pretty basic stuff. I had to rethink my workout routines that I had been doing previously.
Before my injury, I had been working out lifting heavyweight (at least heavy for me anyway), and that is how I injured myself, in the first place. Not good stuff for a guy with a long history of back problems. Over the next couple of years, I spent a lot of time on the elliptical machine and took a much different approach to working out.
During my recovery and return to working out, I didn’t give much thought to running. Before my injury, I used to run a few days per week fairly consistently. The fact of the matter is, I hate running, but always just did it for an alternative to going to the gym. If I didn’t have time or didn’t want to go to the gym, I would go for a run.
In May of 2018, a few years after recovering from my back injury, I wanted to try something different in terms of working out, so I decided to mix things up a bit and start running. Running would be more of a confidence thing for me, to see how my body would react since I hadn’t been out for a run in a few years.
I went out for a run one day and felt fine. I wanted to give myself a couple of days to recover and see how I felt. A couple of days later, I went out again, and the same thing, I felt fine and gave myself a few days to recover. Pretty soon, I was feeling much more confident, and I was running a couple of miles a few times per week; this went on for about a month, maybe six weeks.
Coccyx pain started
Then I started to notice my coccyx was tender when I would sit and especially when I would get up from sitting. I kind of just blew it off, but I did stop running. I went to the chiro a few times over the next few months and got no relief from my tailbone pain. I wasn’t quite sure what to do next.
Basically, from May 2018 until November 2018, I was experiencing discomfort in my coccyx and mostly when I would stand up from sitting. The crazy thing is my tailbone even hurt when I would get up from laying in my recliner, but never after lying in bed, sleeping. So apparently, the recliner didn’t entirely relieve all of the pressure on my coccyx.
A different approach
Late in 2018, I spoke to a friend at work, and he suggested I try his chiropractor, who also performs acupuncture. I made an appointment and went for a visit. After going over my complete history of back problems, it was time to get to work.
When he suggested we try acupuncture for my coccyx pain, I was pretty nervous to be honest. I am not a fan of needles, and I had no previous experience with acupuncture. But I was looking for pain relief and was up for trying something new, so what the heck, I went for it.
Since this is my tailbone we are talking about, needles were placed in areas that are a little uncomfortable for me to talk about. No need to get into much detail here, LOL.
Did you say needles?
So in went the needles, and to my surprise, this was a VERY PAINLESS process. Just a few pokes, and I was all set. The needles were meant to release tension in the muscles surrounding my tailbone.
The doctor told me he had never seen such tight gluteus medius muscles in his career. My muscles were so tight because they had been protecting my low back due to many years of lower back problems.
Anyway, I was a mess. When the doctor put the needles in my butt, the muscles started to spasm like crazy, and that was a bizarre sensation. The treatment was 16 minutes total, broken up into two 8 minute sessions.
The muscles on my right side were a lot tighter than on my left-hand side, which makes sense because that is the side where my sciatica flares up. The chiropractor had a theory that my glutes (butt muscles) were so tight, and had been pulling my coccyx to one side, which was causing the pain I had been feeling.
No magic bullet
After several sessions over the next six weeks or so, I was not receiving any pain relief. The doctor told me he didn’t think there was anything else he could do for me. I was really bummed, but at the same time, I respected the fact that he told me this instead of continuing to drain my checkbook.
I continued doing some recommended stretching exercises, including using a lacrosse ball under my glutes as I lay on the floor. I also continued to use my inversion table, as I do regularly. I wasn’t sure what to do next; I was hoping the pain would eventually go away.
Driving me mad
The pain was pretty bad after driving, and I noticed that trips of 15 minutes or longer were the worst. Short trips around town were not bad, but 15 minutes seemed to be the trigger point. When I would get out of the car, the pain was pretty bad.
Honestly, though, the pain would only last for a few minutes, but it happened every time I would get up from the seated position. Commuting to work was tough, and once I got to work, I tried to stand up at work as much as I could, by utilizing my sit-stand desk.
I went through the winter of 2018 and spring of 2019 with tailbone pain. I have a pretty high pain tolerance since I have been dealing with back problems for about 20 years. I was getting to the point of accepting tailbone pain as my new normal. I never had a traumatic injury or anything I could point to that was the cause.
Taking a vacation scared me
I was getting pretty concerned about our family’s summer vacation in 2019. We would be driving a lot, and I was not doing well, driving long distances.
But as July 2019 approached, I started to feel better, so much so that the pain mostly went away. I was thrilled that on summer vacation, I had very little pain from driving.
As of this writing, I am mostly free of tailbone pain when I sit down and stand up. I say “mostly” because I do have some pain, but not as intense, and it certainly does not last as long. Now the pain is just a gentle reminder of what the past 15 months were like.
I do believe that acupuncture was helpful for my coccyx pain. I think acupuncture helped to release the worst of the tension in my glutes and that, combined with other stretching, rolling, and using my inversion table, were all contributing factors to my recovery.
For me, this is a reminder to try different treatment options for painful areas. In my case, using a different combination paid off. This experience was also a wakeup call to stretch my problem areas on a more consistent basis.
Does acupuncture for coccyx pain work?
I believe that acupuncture played an essential role in my recovery and ultimately helped to release years of tension that was built up in my glutes. Releasing muscle tension allowed the healing process to take place. It took about six months for my tailbone to heal after having an acupuncture treatment.
I can’t say for sure that running was the culprit, all I know is that my coccyx pain started when I went back to running. Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe not. Maybe I was just doing the wrong activity at the wrong time. Whatever the reason, I do think that acupuncture helped me along the way.
What is your experience with acupuncture?
Have you been dealing with tailbone pain?