Last week, my tailbone began to persistently ache. I hadn’t done anything to it. And after a few days of the ache, I noticed the pain in my hip had increased as well. I set a timer on my phone to remind me to get up and move around when I’m working, because I will get so absorbed in work I forget. Some five years ago, I learned I had a bulging disc and a degenerating disc; the lowest two in my spine. At the time the doctor asked if my tailbone ever hurt. The answer was no.
When I started with this pain management doctor a year ago, he also asked if my tailbone or back ever hurt. Again the answer was no. Now if I pick Jude up a bunch during a weekend or do something stupid it will bother me for a day or two, but usually it goes away and it’s not the same kind of pain as I’m experiencing now.
I can feel my heartbeat in my tailbone, because the ache is a throbbing constant ache and it’s starting to disrupt my sleep. So it’s time to call a doctor about it. I have little doubt it has to do with those discs, although I don’t know what I could have done to make them worse.
I’ve been putting it off, because I know there isn’t anything that can be done about either the bulging or deteroting disc. Both of which are just the result of aging. The specialist I saw five years ago was sure that eventually (and by eventually he was thinking in the next 10 year) the degenerating disk would be nearly all gone and the bulging disc would herniate as a result (the bulging disc is my last one and the degenerating immediately above it). He told me I would probably require a surgical fix… but that was all before we learned I had CRPS which took that option off the table.
I’ve been reading up on treatments for bulging and degenerating discs. It’s mostly physical therapy. So I grabbed a couple of the exercises (the web can be amazing) and discovered those exercises bother my hip. And the children’s nursery song ran through my head “The hip bone’s connected to the pelvis, the pelvis is connected with the spine…” Those may not be the correct words, but in the last two years, I’ve found them to be brutally true.
My body has to be looked at differently now that I have CRPS and it is one of the hardest things for other people to adjust to. For instance when I said I thought something had happened to those discs because my tailbone hurt and my hip pain had increased, there was a moment where I got a bit of a crazy look.
Here’s why I bring it up, more than 70% of Americans will experience problems with a disc in their spine during their lifetime. It’s the most common source of back pain in the US and a bulging or herniated disc is often the cause of a pinched nerve in the lumbar region of the back (the thing that causes someone to suddenly not be able to stand up straight). Physical therapy, NSAIDs, steroids, and muscle relaxers are the most common treatment. But those treatments may not be viable solutions for me. Not because the discs are worse off than anyone else’s (they aren’t), but because I’m one of the millions of Americans with a chronic pain disease and that affects all treatment options for me. As I said earlier, the physical therapy exercises I tried aggravated my hip and that is a thing to be avoided at all costs.
If everything happens for a reason, the reason I have complex regional pain syndrome is so the world will finally learn its name. And for now, my tailbone will continue to ache like I bruised it, even though it has not sustained an injury. I’ll update you when I find out. Until then, don’t worry about sending thoughts or prayers for my tailbone. Save them up for people who need them and remember everyone’s limitations are different.