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Structure Of The Sacrum And Coccyx

By Jayton Miller

The tailbone, also known as the coccyx, and the sacrum are two bone masses in the lower portion of the vertebral column that play an important role in the ability for us to properly support our weight and move as a functional human being. Find out everything you need to know about these integral parts of the spine in this article...

Contents:

General Function Of The Sacrum And Coccyx:

General Function Of The Sacrum And Coccyx

The sacrum and coccyx are what forms the very end of the spinal column. This area of the spinal column is less flexible than the rest of the spinal column as they are formed from vertebrae that are fused together. This ensures that the sacrum and coccyx are able to bear more weight, and allows them to be a place of attachment for weight bearing ligaments and muscles. They are also partially involved in the protection of the pelvic organs.

Sacrum Vs. Coccyx:

Sacrum Vs Coccyx

Many people when just looking at a skeletal might group these two areas together, however, they are two separate bony masses that have their own roles.

The sacrum is composed of five vertebrae that are fused together between the initiation of puberty and around the age of 30. The sacrum plays an important role in the connection of the spinal/vertebral column to the pelvic girdle. This allows for the transfer of weight to the legs. It attaches to the muscles that move the thigh of the leg, and plays a role in the protection of the pelvic organs like the bladder and the uterus in women.

The sacrum is made up of several parts:

  • The Pelvic Surface - A concave surface facing downwards when standing
  • Lumbosacral Articular Surface - Connects to the fifth lumbar vertebrae
  • Sacral Promontory - Front edge of the first vertebrae of the sacrum
  • Sacral Ala - Lateral projecting wing of sacrum
  • Transverse Ridges - Lines where the vertebrae of the sacrum have fused together
  • Sacral Foramen - Hole in the sacrum that allows for the passage of nerves to the lower body
  • Auricular Surface - Connects to the pelvic bone, also known as the sacro-iliac joint

The coccyx is currently thought to be the remains of a tail from our primate ancestors. It is a small triangular shaped bone that is formed from the fusion of four vertebrae. This structure connects to ligaments and muscles that form the butthole.

The coccyx is made up of two main parts:

  • The coccyx - The main part of the bone that makes up the mass
  • the Transverse Process Of The Coccyx - A protrusion on the first vertebrae of the coccyx that helps it attach to the sacrum.

Read More: Movement Is Medicine | A Guide To Moving Better

Common Challenges Seen With The Sacrum And Coccyx:

Common Challenges Seen With The Coccyx And Illiac

The sacrum and coccyx are commonly injured by falls. Usually direct falls onto the coccyx causes inflammation and bruising of the area making it difficult to sit and squeeze the glutes together. Outside of direct trauma of the coccyx there are not many common injuries of this area.

Read More: 14 Hacks To Eliminate Inflammation Naturally

Helpful Ways To Keep The Sacrum And Coccyx Healthy:

Helpful Ways To Keep The Sacrum And Coccyx Healthy

In general having a healthy diet and remaining active is going to play a huge role in the health of your sacrum and coccyx (and bones in general). Taking steps to strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons around the sacrum and coccyx is going to help protect it from injury.

Some of the best exercises to keep the muscles around the sacrum and coccyx strong are:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Glute Bridges
  • Romanian/Stiff Legged Deadlift

These are just a few of the exercises that can help strengthen the areas around the sacrum and coccyx. For more exercises and an in depth exercise plan to keep you healthy and fit for a lifetime make sure to check out UMZUfit!

UMZUfit

Conclusion:

The sacrum and coccyx are two important parts of the vertebral column that help to transfer weight from the upper part of the body to the lower, while supporting the muscles and ligaments of the upper portion of the legs and the anus. They also play a role in the protection of the pelvic organs. Doing exercises that strengthen the muscles around them can play an essential role in protecting them from injury.

Citations:

  • Abrahams, Peter. The Human Body: An Essential Guide To How The Body Works. Amber Books Ltd, 2021.