Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

A Numb Bum

If I had known when I started this blog that it would devolve into a chronicle of my tailbone troubles…
Per a friend and teammate’s recommendation, I went to see a sports med orthopedist this morning. I worried that he would take x-rays, which would reveal nothing, and that I would end up spending the next several weeks getting poked and prodded and radiated before having any conclusive diagnosis and course of treatment.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
At least not the part about it lasting for several weeks…
“Well,” said the doc as soon as he looked at the x-ray, “there’s the cause of your pain. You’ve got a subluxated coccyx.”
The tailbone, he said, is actually a series of small bones. In a healthy person, those bones form a curved shape. Mine, as the x-ray plainly showed, was at a right angle.
There had been an initial fracture, which is now fully healed, but at the same site, the bone had also essentially become dislocated.
“So, you have three options,” he went on. “You could try to continue resting it, and see if it falls back into place on its own. Or you could see a PT or a chiropractor, and have them do some external manipulation and strength training. Or,” he paused, “I could try to reduce it manually right now.”
This is when the hardcore-ness that I didn’t know I had bubbled up.
“Which one will get me back on the race course fastest?”
“Manual reduction,” he said, explaining the procedure.
“Well,” I gulped. “Let’s do it.”
And so do it, he did. (I’ll spare you the details – just think novocaine and latex gloves… thank goodness for a high pain threshold.)
I had high hopes that it would work, but a second x-ray revealed that it hadn’t budged.
“Well,” he said, undaunted, as I sat my demoralized bum in the chair (ouch!). “I think you should see a chiropractor who specializes in sports injuries. The damage is what it is, and it’s not going to get worse, but in the long-term, you want it to heal.”
I wasn’t exactly sure what he was saying.
“Okay,” I responded. “I’m going to need you to spell it out for me. I will make an appointment with a specialist and make sure it heals in the long-term. But what can I do now? There’s a 24-hour race that I really want to do in a week and a half, and I’m the kind of person that, unless you tell me exactly what I shouldn’t do, will probably do too much.”
He laughed at my self-assessment, and folded his arms across his chest.
“Look, at this point, I don’t see why you can’t race. You’ll likely be hurting, but you won’t be causing any further damage by riding.”
I almost hugged the man.
He gave me a few pointers on how to make the race more comfortable – a new bike seat, shorts with more padding, a cushion of some sort for the canoe – and then sent me off with his blessing, and the name of a good sports chiropractor.

3 responses to “A Numb Bum

  1. Denise May 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    that sounds almost more unpleasant than the gyno. sorry you had to go through it for nothing. here's to a speedy recovery!!

  2. Denise May 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    oh, and i'll post about my goals for the ultra this week. as for running at 4am…that was my wake up call. we started at 5am. we run trails, etc but i'm always with someone else. if i'm by myself, i stay local to my house or wait until a little later.

  3. MCM Mama May 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    That doesn't sound pleasant, but sounds like your doctor is pretty cool. Glad that you are going to be able to do the race you want, even if it might be a tad more painful than you planned.

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