MY PAIN STORY: “To say it’s changed my life sounds cliché, but it has”

The following post is written by our patient, Cody T., from Santa Monica, CA. He received a stellate ganglion block from Dr. Nguyen. He speaks about his experience with pain, and how PMIR helped him get his life back.

Cody, after pain

Last October 30th, I slipped in my new leather-soled boots on some wooden stairs in a bar in Madison, WI and fractured my tailbone (incidentally, it was before my first drink, and I was carrying a pitcher, and didn’t spill but a drop). My tailbone pain was bad for a few weeks, then reduced to annoying for about 2 months, then started to get worse again about 2 months after that. It became a constant dull pain to a moderately high pain starting about March 2012.

I went to an orthopedic surgeon, who told me that it would either get better, or I could have a very painful surgery to remove my coccyx, which might not help. I also went to an acupuncturist/chiropractor, which helped a little bit. I tried acupuncture, which had some relieving affects, painkillers, which had little or no help, and herbal medicine, which did help. Still, I was not getting the relief I wanted.

Since the pain was constant, it occasionally made me grumpy. Driving especially, and being in LA, driving is a thing you do a lot, sitting in the worst position I could for my pain. Sometimes just shifting my weight in the car caused enough pain that I just didn’t do it. Getting out of my chair at work was occasionally a task I would do with my arms and not my legs, as the pain and stiffness made that feel necessary. It made me less patient in meetings, and it made me not want to be at dinner for a long time. It made getting up on my surfboard harder, and it decreased my mobility to the point that I stopped doing several of my exercise activities, like Ju Jitsu.

I happen to work in the same building as the lovely and talented PMIR community relations team, but I didn’t really think about their services until striking up a conversation with one of them outside one day, which more or less went: “Hey, I don’t know if this is what you do, but I broke by butt and it hurts all the time. Can you fix it?” The answer was an immediate “Oh, that’s called coccydynia, and it’s possible that a very simple procedure could relieve the pain.” They recommended I see Dr. Nguyen and he suggested that I receive a stellate ganglion block.

The whole experience from consult to procedure was painless, and the staff was helpful from start to finish. Dr. Nguyen is fantastic and calm, and Dr. Hersel is funny and would be perfect for a patient who might be nervous about a full-anesthesia procedure (that’s not me, but I know a lot of people are). Also, Nancy gave me one of the best IVs I’ve ever received. (I’ve had quite a few). There are some real pros in there, and with my hospital time, I’ve had to deal with both pros and cranks. This clinic only has the former. I love the up-front ladies too. Everyone there was outstanding, friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.

I am sure there are other pains and procedures for those pains, chronic, injury-related or otherwise, that people have that are anywhere from annoying to debilitating, but there has only been one response from anyone who ever heard about me breaking my tailbone. “Oh, that’s the WORST.” It’s pain most people know about, if even just from a bruised tailbone or a simple fall, they know how bad it hurts. I hope anyone who has had this happen can find out about this procedure, because we’re talking about an outpatient procedure that works immediately. It’s absolutely amazing. You stand up from your clinic bed and you are better.

I couldn’t be happier with my experience. To say it’s changed my life sounds cliché, but it absolutely has. I was walking around with this pain for over a year, with the added psychological weight of the fact that I was just going to have to deal with it FOREVER… (the thought of me being 60 with this crossed my mind more than once). And now, it’s gone. The relief, physical and mental, is palpable.

I literally can’t thank PMIR enough.

If you are interested in sharing your pain story with us as a PMIR patient, please contact us at We can’t wait to hear your story!

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Pain Management & Injury Relief

About Pain Management & Injury Relief

Pain Management & Injury Relief is a leading patient-centered pain management clinic in Southern California. Our goal is to help you achieve long-lasting pain relief. By utilizing the latest medical technologies and equipment paired with innovative procedures and treatments, our team can help you improve your quality of life.

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