Transrectal osteopathic manipulation treatment for chronic coccydynia: feasibility, acceptability and patient-oriented outcomes in a quality improvement project

Bobby Nourani, DO; Derek Norton, MS; William Kuchera, DO; and David Rabago, MD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: January 3, 2023

Accepted: October 23, 2023

Published: November 24, 2023

  • Bobby Nourani, DO, 

    Associate Professor, Department of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine/Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (NMM/OMM), College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA, USA

  • Derek Norton, MS, 

    Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, WI, USA

  • William Kuchera, DO, 

    Green Bay, WI, USA (deceased)

  • David Rabago, MD, 

    Department of Family and Community Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA

J Osteopath Med; 124(2): 77-83

Context: Pain of the coccyx, coccydynia, is a common condition with a substantial impact on the quality of life. Although most cases resolve with conservative care, 10 % become chronic and are more debilitating. Treatment for chronic coccydynia is limited; surgery is not definitive. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is the application of manually guided forces to areas of somatic dysfunction to improve physiologic function and support homeostasis including for coccydynia, but its use as a transrectal procedure for coccydynia in a primary care clinic setting is not well documented.

Objectives: We aimed to conduct a quality improvement (QI) study to explore the feasibility, acceptability, and clinical effects of transrectal OMT for chronic coccydynia in a primary care setting.

Methods: This QI project prospectively treated and assessed 16 patients with chronic coccydynia in a primary care outpatient clinic. The intervention was transrectal OMT as typically practiced in our clinic, and included myofascial release and balanced ligamentous tension in combination with active patient movement of the head and neck. The outcome measures included: acceptance, as assessed by the response rate (yes/no) to utilize OMT for coccydynia; acceptability, as assessed by satisfaction with treatment; and coccygeal pain, as assessed by self-report on a 0–10 numerical rating scale (NRS) for coccydynia while lying down, seated, standing, and walking.

Results: Sixteen consecutive patients with coccydynia were offered and accepted OMT; six patients also received other procedural care. Ten patients (two males, eight females) received only OMT intervention for their coccydynia and were included in the per-protocol analysis. Posttreatment scores immediately after one procedure (acute model) and in follow-up were significantly improved compared with pretreatment scores. Follow-up pain scores provided by five of the 10 patients demonstrated significant improvement. The study supports transrectal OMT as a feasible and acceptable treatment option for coccydynia. Patients were satisfied with the procedure and reported improvement. There were no side effects or adverse events.

Conclusions: These data suggest that the use of transrectal OMT for chronic coccydynia is feasible and acceptable; self-reported improvement suggests utility in this clinic setting. Further evaluation in controlled studies is warranted.

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