Coccyx (Tailbone): Definition and What It Is

Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT

Coccyx Definition and Meaning

The coccyx, commonly referred to as the tailbone, is the final segment of the spine. The coccyx is embedded in the pelvic girdle, serving as an attachment point for the muscles of the pelvic floor.

Anatomy of the Coccyx

The coccyx is a small, triangular-shaped bone made up of vertebrae that are fused together, and serves as an attachment site for many muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the upper and lower body. Located at the sacrum's lower end, the coccyx connects to the sacrum through the sacrococcygeal joint, allowing for a limited range of movement in its vertebrae. 

Function of the Coccyx

The coccyx serves several important functions in the body, including: postural support and balance that stabilizes the body while you sit, and pelvic support, as the coccyx serves as an anchor for pelvic floor muscles, supporting pelvic organs and aiding in essential functions like bowel and bladder control. 

Various conditions can affect the coccyx, impacting one's mobility and comfort. Coccydynia, or tailbone pain, is a condition characterized by discomfort and tenderness at the tip of the spine. Causes of tailbone pain can vary, ranging from acute injuries like falls to chronic issues like prolonged sitting on hard surfaces. Other conditions, including osteoarthritis, injury during childbirth, or obesity can also contribute to tailbone pain. Symptoms typically include pain and sensitivity at the base of the spine, which may worsen during sitting or when rising from a seated position. In some cases, the pain may radiate to the legs or buttocks. 

Coccyx (Tailbone) Pain: A Hinge Health Perspective

The coccyx is very resilient and designed to recover from the kinds of issues that naturally can happen in the course of everyday activities or during exercise.

If you’re reluctant to move because you think you’ll cause more damage or injury to your spine, buttocks, or low back, know this: Movement is often the fastest way to healing. As our Hinge Health care team says, movement is medicine. Movement helps rehab the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that connect to the coccyx by increasing blood flow, and gradually improving their strength and flexibility.

Physical therapy can aid in the treatment and recovery of many coccyx-related conditions and tailbone pain. A physical therapist (PT) can show you specific stretching and strengthening exercises that may help relieve pain and pressure on the tailbone, improve posture and mobility, and restore function. PTs may also use heat or cold therapy and advise on ergonomic adjustments to reduce pain during daily activities. You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you. 

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. 

Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


  1. Mostafa, E., & Varacallo, M. (2020). Anatomy, Back, Coccygeal Vertebrae. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. 

  2. Lirette, L. S., Chaiban, G., Tolba, R., & Eissa, H. (2014). Coccydynia: an overview of the anatomy, etiology, and treatment of coccyx pain. The Ochsner Journal, 14(1), 84–87.

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