resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
September, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 09
By Erik Dalton, PhD
Many of today's medical texts tell us the coccyx fuses into one rigid segment by adulthood in most people. However, several well-designed studies have shown that a normal coccyx should have two or three movable parts that gently curve forward and slightly flex as we sit.Two medical papers (Postacchini and Massobrio1 and Kim and Suk2) found that test subjects with fused coccyxes that didn't flex upon sitting were more likely to experience tailbone pain than those with a normal coccyx. Postacchini and Massobrio performed radiographic studies of 171 coccyxes, and found less than 10 percent were fused into one piece...most had two or three, and a few had four segments. The primary conditions they found to be associated with coccyx pain were: coccyx angled sharply forward; coccyx side-bending more to one side than the other; and coccyx completely rigid (all segments fused together and fused to the sacrum).
Although none of the abnormalities listed above always cause pain, clients seem more likely to experience coccyx problems when one or more of these conditions exist. Over the years, I have noticed clients with particularly long coccyxes also seem more likely to report local tenderness and pain. Although not reported in the literature, it seems obvious that a long coccyx would be more likely to suffer damage than a shorter one.
Why some hurt and others don't is unclear. In the case of a misaligned coccyx, it might be that the pain is caused by the coccyx pulling on muscles, ligaments or overstretching the filamen terminale (end of the dural tube). Connective tissues called the filum durae spinalis enclose the end of the spinal cord and attach it to the deep dorsal sacrococcygeal ligament. A major source of hip and back pain occurs as fibrotic sacrococcygeal ligaments anteriorly flex (hook) the coccyx and compress/overstretch the sensitive filum terminale (Fig.1). In the case of a rigid coccyx, it might be that the tissues under the inferior segments might create a pad of irritated tissue (like a bunion) that can rub the dura raw. But the most common pain-generator helped by manual therapists is neuroreceptor pain from a misaligned sacrococcygeal joint.
Coccydynia (Coccyx Pain)
When sitting, the coccyx shifts forward and acts as a shock absorber. However, falling on the tailbone or events such as childbirth can lead to coccygeal pain, known as coccydynia. In most cases, the pain is caused by an unstable coccyx, resulting in chronic inflammation of the sacrococcygeal joint. Coccydynia also can be attributed to a malformed or dislocated coccyx and the growth of bony spurs on the coccyx. Resulting pain often is resolved by performing specific soft tissue techniques to release the levator ani muscle, anococcygeal, sacrotuberal and sacrospinal ligaments, as well as the gluteus maximus muscles.
Another common etiology is childbirth. The coccyx is considered by some to be in the way during childbirth. At the end of the third trimester, certain hormonal changes enable the synchondrosis between the sacrum and the coccyx to soften and become more mobile. This increased mobility of three to five coccygeal segments allows for more flexion and extension, which might permanently change the resting tension of the surrounding ligaments and muscles. Unlike fractures, which can remodel, injuries to the sacrococcygeal junction often become inflamed as the joint is repeatedly forced out of its normal position. Physical examination should include direct palpation of the coccyx for tenderness. In true coccydynia, the coccygeal region usually is markedly tender. If the client reports coccygeal pain but is not tender upon palpation, the therapist should refer out for an orthopedic workup to rule out lumbar disk disease.
Ida Rolf, PhD, referring to the coccyx as the "seat of the soul," insisted on correcting hooked and side-bent coccyxes during her famous session six of the Rolfing® series. When this tiny group of bones "hooks" anteriorly or bends to one side (typically the left), the dural tube tightens. In reported cases, a hooked coccyx actually has shut down the entire CNS by hindering cerebrospinal fluid flow. A hooked coccyx also can lead to loss of psychological integrity. Reported cases cite severe emotional disturbances in people whose coccyx has been removed or broken off, leaving no anchor for the dura mater. The coccyx has been implicated in clients presenting with functional scoliotic patterns. Through its connection with the sphenoid, excessive dural tension stresses the eleventh cranial accessory nerve, which, in turn, shortens the SCMs and upper trapezius muscles. A modified version of Dr. Rolf's coccyx technique is demonstrated in Fig. 2.
Coccyx pain often is caused by falling backwards or by childbirth, although in many cases, the exact etiology is unknown. There are various treatment modalities available, and the great majority of sufferers can be helped. Due to the vertebra's direct attachment to the dural membrane through the filum terminale, coccyx work can cause a client to become very emotional. Prior to treating coccyx dysfunction, always ask the client's permission to perform this technique due to possible physical and emotional hypersensitivity in the area. Before performing any type of coccyx work, take time to clearly explain your therapeutic intent and the desired outcome. All coccyx alignment techniques should be performed through underwear or draping.
Click here for more information about Erik Dalton, PhD.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.