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Tail bone pain and disc herniation

TedCTTedC Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:40 AM in Lower Back Pain
I recently had an pretty bad episode of lower back pain. By MRI, it was diagnosed as nerve impingement due to L1-S5 ruptured disc. I responded well to ESI and the back pain went away, except for occasional but manageable flare-ups due to accidental twisting/turning. This was roughly a month ago.

For the past two days, I have lots of pain in the tail bone area. I can feel it if I touch the area or while I am sitting or stretching. I have no other pain in the back, nor in the leg. Is this new pain related to the herniation, or it is a completely new set of problems? I am planning on visiting my doctor in the coming week, but I would greatly appreciate it if anyone knowledgeable could comment in.



  • It might be that the effects of the injection are wearing off and the pain from the disc herniation is returning.

    The steroid works quickly to take away any inflammation that may be contributing to the compression of the spinal nerve. After the injection the swelling went down and there was more room for the nerve. Less compression = less pain. But now you have picked up your activity level a bit, you have been twisting and/or bending, or some other movement that has aggravated the disc and whatever progress that was begun with the cortisone injection has been lost.

    The L5-S1 spinal nerve roots run out close to the area of the coccyx so it would not be unusual to have some sensitivity in that area when you have a problem with the L5-S1 disc.

    I'm just making an educated guess here....but it seems that this is one possibility for the pain you are experiencing.

    Your surgeon will hopefully be able to make a diagnosis when he sees you next week.

    Good luck and let us know how you are feeling.

    ( By the way, injections are often given in a set of three, often two weeks apart. One is usually never enough to resolve the pain.)

  • I think it would be prudent to contact your doctor and let him know what you are experiencing. Spine Health members are just that ... members. Although we have our own experiences and different levels of education, we are not qualified to diagnose issues for other members. The best thing to do is to have a qualified physician give you a hands on examination and help you figure things out. There's any number of problems that could be causing your pain. It's smart to figure out what it is and what caused it, before inadvertently doing any further damage/harm to yourself with increased activity.

    I have felt similar pain in relation to problems stemming from L4-L5-S1. Referred pain can come from any number of places. It's best to have the doc check things out for you.

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  • Hi Ted,

    Just another "shout out" for you to get in and see your doctor.

    I have been having a lot of tailbone pain over the past several months. I had to go in for a CAT scan of my thoracic spine last Thursday and my doctors also ordered X-rays of my tailbone. It turns out, my tailbone is dislocated in two places... which now explains the pain I get when I sit. (My mid thoracic area is also questionable, but I'll save that for another forum).

    What really helps me with the pain while sitting, is using a hemorrhoid pillow. It doesn't take all of the pressure off, but it helps when we go out for dinner and being a passenger in the vehicles.

    I haven't talked to my Neurosurgeon yet about my results, only my PCP. I've been looking online about the tailbone, but until I talk to my Neurosurgeon... I won't know what avenue he will take to treat my tailbone.

    Please get in to see your doctor. My tailbone pain starts to climb up into my lower back now and I have a feeling I should have complained about this pain, when I first started to notice it. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference... I'll soon find out.

    Best of luck to you and please keep us posted.

  • Thank you for all the advices. It just feels great to share with and get feedback from people who understand what I am going through. I am not sure how quickly I can get an appointment (I am currently seeing a neurosurgeon), but will update here as soon as I get diagnosed. I am guessing it will probably take about 10 days.

  • Hi Ted,

    I'm glad you're going to make an appointment to be seen.

    Who knows... my tailbone could have suffered the dislocations at the time of my bad fall in November of 2008. I have had a lot of falls on my tailbone over my 43 years of life and my bad fall could have been the final touch to cause dislocations. I figure skated during my school years, rode horses, snow skiied and I do remember taking real doozies to my tailbone during figure skating. I would have occasional pain in my tailbone, whenever the weather was really cold... so, I pretty much figured I had some arthritis there? This constant pain... has been during the past 5 months and it is gradually increasing. There are times I wish the thing would blow up, but I don't think they can do that.

    There is soft tissue in the tailbone area, which could be inflammed with you. As "C" indicated, there are so many things that could be causing your tailbone pain.

    If you want to do some online research, I have found that chiropractors have posted some very detailed spine information online. Some have specific researches posted and they are very interesting to read, while you await your appointment. It will give you (and me) a little bit of tailbone terminology, prior to our appointments. How a person pronounces some of these words, is beyond me. It is actually, quite entertaining to speak these words outloud while you are reading! (I guess I have reached the point of being easily amused these days? Or wait... it could be that it takes my mind off the tailbone pain while I'm online). Who knows? Bottom line is that I haven't looked up the correct pronunciations yet, but I will. (By the way, I don't see a chiropractor... but I do find their spine researches to be very detailed).

    Again, keep us posted and feel free to vent any time. We'll get through our pains in the tailbone, one way or another. ;)

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  • I had tail bone pain when I had a herniated L5-S1 and like Gwennie and most likely your Dr. would say you need more injections. I hope you get some relief of pain. I think you already mentioned seeing your Dr. next week to let him know. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • It'll sound crazy, but I walked around with a dislocated tailbone too!
    It was hurting, and I didn't know why. Imaging later showed it.

    The doctors put it back into place. It involved injections into a very sensitive location, a rubber glove, and lube! Very embarrassing. 8} @) :O
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Hi Paul,

    You are an absolute dear, for sharing this information. Thank you very much for sharing.

    Like you, I have been gritting and bearing the tailbone pain for several months... kind of hoping it would go away, like some of my other "weird" pains have done. I kept thinking, "Just give it time and this too shall pass".

    Well, that hasn't been the case... lol. Getting out of Mike's big truck after an outing, causes me to grimace and feel relief at the same time? I made a few blankets for Christmas presents and OMG... getting up from 20 minutes of sitting on one of our well-padded dining room chairs... was the same feeling I get from long rides, long waiting periods, long dinner outings, etc. It reached the point to where even laying down, was creating some lower back pain... so, I'm glad to know what is going on with my tailbone.

    When you had this procedure done, was it in the doctor's office? How were you positioned and how long did the procedure take? Did you feel instant relief?

    I absolutely will feel embarrassed having this done (I have one tattoo and it's on my left butt check of Pepe Le Pew...shhh... don't tell anyone), but maybe I can cover Pepe's eyes with a bandaid or something? I'll just forwarn my doctors ahead of time about my tattoo, to avoid any other embarassing moments.

  • Yes, it was in the doctor's office.
    I was positioned like when a lady goes to the OB/GYN and they do a full exam down there. On my back and legs up in the air. (the table didn't have any stirrups)
    I was facedown for some of it also.

    Injections(anesthetic) went into the tailbone joints. I have to be honest and say it was a very shocking feeling.
    Then a digit pushed the tailbone back into place.
    Took maybe 45 minutes, but it felt like an eternity.
    Yes, instant relief.

    I used to drive long distances for work(delivery van) and had been dealing with that discomfort for a while. One way that helped was that I cut out some of the foam in the truck seat. Thus amking it a "U" shaped cushion.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • The doctor thinks it is due to irritation of the S1 nerve. She said I must have twisted my back or something. Luckily the pain is almost gone and I hope it stays that way.

    I brought up the question of broken or dislocated tailbone, but she did not think that was the cause as I did not fall down or anything. If the pain returns, I will ask for an X-ray of the tail bone and go from there.

    Thanks all!
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