A condition that commonly appears in a chiropractic office is pain around the "tailbone" officially known as coccydynia. Mary Smith (not her real name) came to Eastside Chiropractic experiencing extreme pain at the tailbone, especially when she moved from sitting to standing, or sat on a hard surface like her kitchen chair.
Mary had already been to her primary care doctor. He had given her a donut shaped cushion to sit on and a prescription for anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs). After two weeks, her condition had not noticeably improved, so Mary came to Eastside Chiropractic seeking relief.
Mary was referred to us by her mother, a prior patient. An important part of my decision making process when considering whether to accept a patient for chiropractic care comes from taking a complete health history. Mary's history revealed multiple sports injuries in her teen years while playing soccer, including tailbone injuries. Mary is now a mom with two children. I discovered that both of her deliveries were difficult.
Before I could treat Mary, we took a side view and front view x-ray of the area to rule out problems like infection, tumors, or fracture, and to check for chiropractic findings of imbalance of the pelvic ring and hips. Physical examination findings revealed difficulty with certain leg and hip movements and a flat arch in her right foot.
Mary's story had a happy ending. The history, physical examination and x-rays all pointed to her condition resulting from improper movement and the resulting alignment challenges of her pelvic ring. The condition was actually a painful result of those old injuries! We treated Mary with adjustments to the sacroiliac joints, rehabilitation exercises, and stretches (to correct posture problems). Mary noted improvement after her first visit, and complete resolution of her coccydynia within two weeks.
Many patients come to Eastside Chiropractic without being seen by their medical doctor first. It is always important for me as a chiropractor and primary care provider to be aware that not every case of back pain or joint pain is caused by joint injury or dysfunction. In Mary's case, thankfully that was all that was involved. In rare cases of coccydynia, the source of the pain can be a tumor, infection or an active fracture.
When you visit a chiropractor, he or she should have access to x-ray or other diagnostic imaging, and the ability and desire to refer to other types of doctors for your health and safety when the condition warrants it. If you consider chiropractic for maintaining your spinal health, the risk of not having an x-ray is negligible. In fact, some states have determined that the "routine" use of x-ray in a chiropractic setting may not be appropriate. If however, you are suffering from a painful spinal condition, and seek out care from a clinic or chiropractor or doctor of any kind who advertises that they do not, or will not use x-ray or appropriate diagnostic testing, then caveat emptor.