How electrotherapy can help coccydynia | Case Study
For six months post-labour, Claire Roberts was rendered immobile and unable to sit without experiencing excruciating pain in her tailbone. We spoke to her about her experience and how NuroKor helped.
Sitting down should be restful - some people even fall asleep whilst doing so - but there are several conditions that change that completely.
Suffering pain for months after labour, Claire Roberts finally had confirmation of the source. An x-ray showed that her coccyx - the triangular bone structure at the bottom of the spine - had fused and she was diagnosed with coccydynia, a tailbone pain commonly felt in the lower spine region.
Whilst nearly half of difficult deliveries can cause damage to the tailbone, there are very few treatment options available to manage the condition. Claire underwent multiple procedures under anaesthetic with little to no success and for over 16 years has been relying on the painkiller co-codamol for relief.
In Claire’s own words: ‘The pain was unbearable. I was struggling to get out of bed by myself, and would dread sitting down - the only way I could find relief was through painkillers. But even they had their limits.’
After relying on painkillers for over a decade, Claire noticed she was growing a tolerance to the medication and steadily increased her dosage in a bid to reduce the pain. Being a mother and nursing student, she is constantly on the go and the increased level of painkillers was becoming less of a viable option for relief.
In December, Claire visited her local pharmacist’s pain clinic - Hopwoods Pharmacy, where she saw head pharmacist Mark Hopkins - and was introduced to the NuroKor mitouch, a non-invasive touchscreen device that delivers bioelectrical currents through the skin to influence pain signals travelling to the brain. Since using the mitouch, Claire has been able to reduce her painkiller intake significantly and is optimistic that the continued use of the microcurrent stimulation (MCS) mode can provide longer term benefits to manage her pain.
‘Being able to reduce my painkiller intake has been a major relief for me. Especially after I had grown such a tolerance to my medication. By using the mitouch device, I can often delay taking painkillers, and on a good day completely skip that and/ or several doses. My condition is now a lot easier to manage and the device has become a welcome relief from the continuous pain.’
Coccydynia - some context
The coccyx, a remnant of vestigial tails, is a bony structure that has limited functions in humans, mainly serving as a connection point for various muscles and ligaments and supporting some weight when sitting. It can, however, become injured and cause the condition known as coccydynia.
Possible causes vary, ranging from obvious ones such as trauma to the area caused by an external injury like falling, but also - as in Claire’s situation - from internal injuries and trauma, including childbirth, poor posture, or strain caused by sitting on it for a long time. Overall, women are five times more likely to suffer from coccydynia than men, and the cause in a large proportion of cases also remains unknown.
Coccydynia’s most common symptom is pain, usually when sitting or standing for a long period of time. In most cases, the symptoms go away after a few weeks and treatment options are relatively straightforward and usually involve special cushions, training the patient to sit with the correct posture, and using normal painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs if necessary.
However, as in Claire’s case, sometimes more serious interventions are required - starting at massage and exercises and working up to surgery as a last resort, although how effective this can be is questionable.
Electrotherapy, through bioelectronic technology, has been shown to be successful in helping manage pain, as Claire and others can attest to, and we are actively encouraging research to show the effectiveness of bioelectronic technology in many chronic conditions.
Founded in 2018, NuroKor is a company committed to the development of bioelectronic technologies. NuroKor develops and formulates programmable bioelectronic software for clinical and therapeutic applications, in a range of easy to use, wearable devices. It provides the highest-quality products, delivering personalised pain relief and recovery support and rehabilitation to patients.