Monday, 2 June 2014

Back with a Vengeance

Hello my faithful peeps, I’m sorry I’ve been away for an entire month. I wish I could say that I had been swanning about somewhere, enjoying the high life--but alas  I can not. I’ve been “out of action.”


My name is Spidergrrl and I have Coccydynia. For those of you who don’t know this means I have a broken tailbone.


Basically, I am a pain in the arse.

This is not a new occurrence. I originally bruised it (possibly fractured it) falling off a mini trampoline onto our wood floor when I was about eight years old. Round about 1998, I was running down our hallway and fell (on the newly polished wood floor) during a commercial break of Law and Order because I was trying to hurry up and get a drink before the show started again.

Reader, I broke it.

Personally, I blame the wooden floors.

But since then I have had trouble with a capital T (that rhymes with C and stands for Coccydynia) . Sitting was the worst--there was always a nagging ache that became a screaming pain the longer I sat. I developed ways of compensating that put pressure on my hips and knees when I stood up, walked and tried to sleep.

I never, ever could get comfortable. 

Moving to England and being car free helped to a certain extent--all that walking meant that I didn’t hurt when I stood up, walked or slept.

But sitting was another matter.

Four weeks ago on Sunday I had a bit of a tumble--I didn’t fall but I did a funny little twisty thing to catch myself and my back started to complain.


What started off as just a “bad back” took a turn for the worse on Thursday when I (against my better judgement) lifted a box of art smocks at school. This resulted in a spasm that brought tears to my eyes and forced a colleague to gift me a lift home at break time.

It only got worse from there.

By Monday I was in agony. Nothing I did helped to stop the pain. It was like someone jamming a red hot poker into my tailbone as the searing hot pain radiated outwards from my coccyx. It felt like someone pulling my pelvis apart. 

I was immediately signed off of work for a week as I could barely move without tears. I was given a prescription for Co-codamol --how I love you codeine! This along with a combination of ice and heat applied to my back as well as rest did seem to help.

The unfortunate side effect of codeine for me is I become loopy as all get out. I am told that I always sounded drunk or high and would say some really weird stuff in the middle of a conversation, which I (thankfully) have no memory of.

A week passed and the pain was different. Instead of just being  a pain in the coccyx I was experiencing something far worse that I had ever experienced before.

I honestly  thought there was *nothing* worse than coccydynia. But there is.

It’s called Sciatica.

Sciatica, in case you don’t know, is the inflammation of the sciatic nerve which means that horrible, fiery shooting pains now whooshed down my right leg every time I moved. I suffered pins and needles constantly and was having to drag my leg behind me as it was always asleep.


Needless to say I was signed off for another week of school and told to increase my dose of codeine. The extra codeine made me several of the Seven Dwarves--Dopey and Sleepy and occasionally Grumpy (when I needed more pain relief and still had an hour to go before my next dose.) I was advised to take ibuprofen in the intervals between Co-codamol  so I would never be without some form of pain relief.

After two weeks of school missed it was half term--a week’s holiday from school--and so I had another week to rest and recuperate before having to try to go back to work. 

I was feeling better now, there were periods of the day where I was relatively pain free-- when standing and sleeping. Sitting caused the dull ache in my lower back to sharpen up and start to travel down my leg but the moment I stood up it retreated.

We bought a lumbar roll which is a special cushion that helps maintain good posture when sitting as slumping in any way puts pressure on the coccyx and the whole thing starts all over. I can’t believe how much it helps. Sitting is still uncomfortable--but only that. Not painful, just uncomfortable. But I still can only sit for about 20 minutes at a time.

My GP helped me to lower my dose of codeine, but still take it along with ibuprofen, and increase my activity since walking felt really good. When I am walking I have no pain at all so for the last few days  I have taken a brisk 30 minute walk in a lovely nature trail near here.

It has raised my spirits and helped tremendously with the pain in sitting. Previously I had only done a strolling type of walk (or an Igor type of walk when my leg was dragging behind me) but a brisk walk has done me wonders.

There were a few other things I have done to help my back, but that’s for another day. It has taken me two hours to type this as I have to keep stopping to take breaks.

I start back to work this week. I have a letter from my GP that says I am to have amended duties--no lifting or bending and I am to be allowed regular stretch breaks--for the next two weeks.

We‘ll see how it goes.

 I’m back, baby. 

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