The second vertebra in the thoracic spine, known as the T2 vertebra, is responsible for helping to support the rib cage. One of the smaller vertebrae in the thoracic spine, the T2 vertebra possesses facets that create joints with two of the ribs, thus helping to keep the thoracic spine far more stable than the cervical spine in the neck or the lumbar spine in the lower back.
The thoracic spine refers to the 12 vertebrae in the upper and middle back. These vertebrae grow in size as they move down the back and are all separated by soft intervertebral pads to stabilize the bones. Each of the thoracic vertebrae also has a large spinal foramen to allow the spinal cord to pass through and vertebral foramina for nerve roots to branch off into the body. The T2 vertebra is connected to the T1 and T3 with facet joints, which are encapsulated with a lubricating liquid to allow for limited motion.
Problems and treatment
While the T2 vertebra is a stable segment of the spine, it is still prone to deterioration—often leading to nerve compression and potentially painful symptoms. Some common causes of T2 vertebra degeneration include:
- Bone spurs
- Herniated, bulging or prolapsed discs
- Facet disease
- Other forms of osteoarthritis
- Traumatic or sports-related injury
If you are experiencing back pain or other symptoms of nerve compression like muscle weakness, numbness in your torso or traveling pain, contact your physician. In most cases, problems at the T2 vertebra level can be handled with a conservative treatment course of strengthening exercises, painkillers and heat packs over several weeks.