Frequently Asked Questions
The following provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the Wooley-Kemper procedure.
Pronounced “Cox-eh-din’-ee-ah,” literally means coccyx pain. It is a common condition experienced by millions. It ranges from an annoying pain while sitting to a disabling condition known as the SacroCoccygeal syndrome. Coccydynia has many causes ranging from hard falls directly onto the buttocks while skating or slipping on ice, to kicks sustained during karate or soccer. Coccydynia may not appear until many years after a childhood injury when an adult gains weight, delivers a baby, or is stuck behind a desk for too many hours.
Pronounced “Say-crow-cock-sig-el,” the syndrome typically results after the coccyx loses its natural flexibility which can negatively affect the spinal cord and its many nerves. The syndrome causes excessive tension of the lower back and pelvic floor muscles reducing one’s ability to bend or stride freely. It can also impair flexion of the hips or thighs affecting many activities at work and at home. It feels a bit like having a board glued to your back or buttocks. The syndrome also causes a dramatic weakness of the pelvic floor and thigh muscles. Due to the manner in which the spinal cord is anchored to the coccyx, the SacroCoccygeal Syndrome can affect nerves throughout pelvic organs or extend into the legs and spine to varying degrees.
The Kemper-Wooley procedure works by freeing the coccyx back into a more normal function with a non-surgical procedure. Each patient is first assessed for restricted back flexibility and thigh strength. Next, a local anesthetic or general sedation is provided as needed. Then, the physician makes an internal rectal contact with the coccyx. Along with one or two assistants, the patient’s spine and coccyx are flexed back and forth until improved function is achieved. After the procedure the patient is assessed again for back flexibility and thigh strength. Results vary, but most patients who regain coccygeal function will rapidly improve and will usually retain their improvement with regular exercise.
Each patient is screened to determine if they have the syndrome. Patients may not have any colorectal disease or be more than 50 pounds over weight. Each patient must be willing to perform simple exercise each day before and after the procedure, as directed.
Results are directly proportional to the degree the coccyx can be freed back into motion. Each procedure typically improves coccygeal motion by 20-30%. Once measurable motion has been restored most people feel as though years of strain have been removed from their spines. Reports of improved spine and pelvic flexibility, reduced pain and greater strength are routine. The best results occur when patients commit to low impact exercise and regular stretching, a small price to pay for a more youthful and vital spinal column.