Medical Terminology Made Simple: Coccyx

Barry Lenson

Medical Terminology Made Simple: Coccyx

Medical Terminology As a service to people who are thinking of entering the medical and medical support professions, StraighterLine is continuing the series of short posts on medical terminology. Each post will define one medical term.

Today’s medical term is actually an anatomical one  . . . Coccyx

The word coccyx sounds kind of evil, but it isn’t. I have a coccyx, you have a coccyx, and so does just about everybody else. Even the man in the illustration that accompanies today's post has one, but it's on his other side.

A coccyx (a word that sort of rhymes with “jock itch”) is an anatomical structure that is commonly referred to as a “tail bone.” It’s a little downward extension of your spinal column, made up of five extra little vertebrae.

The main purpose of a coccyx is to appear as a term to be defined on anatomical quizzes, since it doesn’t do much else.

The only time most people even realize that they have a coccyx is after they fall smack down on their bottoms on icy sidewalks and develop a problem called Coccydynia, which is a name for a syndrome in which your coccyx hurts a lot.

By the way, the plural of coccyx is coccyges, which is pronounced “coxy-jess.” That knowledge could help you win Jeopardy someday.

But if you want to know everything about human anatomy, coccyx is a term you need to know. And remember – you learned about it on the StraighterLine blog.

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