The T12 Vertebra

The T12 Vertebra

The T12 vertebra is the last vertebra in the thoracic region of the spine, which is generally defined as being the middle back. It is also the largest vertebra in its region because the thoracic vertebrae increase in size as they go down the back in order to compensate for an increasing weight load.

Conditions and symptoms

Although about 90 percent of patients who experience pain around the thoracic vertebrae say the pain goes away in a few weeks, there are still individuals who find that discomfort due to herniated discs, bulging discs or spinal arthritis at or around the T12 vertebra limits their ability to lead a full and active life. Sometimes, thoracic vertebrae pain can be difficult to diagnose because the pain is referred, meaning the discomfort appears to come from places other than the exact site of damage.

Understanding which areas of the body correspond to certain areas of the spine can help you to understand your symptoms better.

  • The 12 thoracic spine vertebrae extend from the base of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage.
  • The T4 vertebra is basically situated in the area of your pectoral muscles.
  • The T10 vertebra is in line with the belly button, or umbilicus.
  • Your T12 vertebra ends just above the pelvic girdle.

Treatment options

If you are experiencing pain in any of these areas, see your primary care physician. After a thorough examination and X-rays, your physician should be able to confirm a diagnosis. If your discomfort is not due to trauma, cancer, infection or scoliosis, then it is possible that you have sustained some damage to the intervertebral discs above or below the T12 vertebra.