Questions? Call Toll-Free 1-

Contact us today. We're here for you seven days a week.

Contact Us By Phone 1-
Am I a Candidate for Surgery? Learn More
Request an MRI Review Submit Information

The T3 Vertebra


The T3 Vertebra

The third thoracic vertebrae, also known as the T3 vertebra, is a small vertebra in the upper middle back that plays an integral role in supporting the rib cage. The T3 vertebra is a strong piece of bone that interlocks with the adjacent vertebrae to provide stability and support in the thoracic spine, while still allowing for a measure of flexibility.

Structure and function

The T3 vertebra is comprised of:

  • A hollow spinal foramen that protects the spinal cord and allows for comfortable passage of spinal nerves
  • Vertebral foramina that allow nerve roots to branch off the cord and exit the spinal column
  • Matching sets of facet joints that connect the T3 to the T1 and T2 vertebrae
  • Additional facet joints that connect ribs to the vertebrae while allowing for slight articulation

The T3 vertebra, like the other 12 thoracic vertebrae that compose the thoracic spine, is tasked with providing support to the rib cage. This also means that the thoracic spine doesn’t offer the same degree of mobility as the more flexible spine segments in the neck and in the lower back. As a result of this stability, damage to the thoracic spine is less common than in the more active cervical spine and lumbar spine—although spinal deterioration at the thoracic spine can certainly still occur.

Problems and treatment

Within the thoracic spine, facet joints are prone to arthritis, nerve roots can become compressed and stenosis can narrow a foramen, all of which are leading causes of upper and middle back pain. These conditions can each result from regular aging, disease or injury, and are not mutually exclusive—meaning that if you experience pain resulting from foraminal stenosis, you are likely feeling the effects of nerve compression.

Need an immediate response?

Our live chat feature allows you to talk instantly with a representative.

  • - -

Download your free info packet on
Minimally Invasive
Spine Surgery

& receive our e-newsletter.



También disponible en español

What is Laser Spine Surgery? Can Laser Spine Institute Help You?

You can get these answers by attending a complimentary medical seminar.

Back to Health

Be inspired, informed and connected.

Expert answers, informational videos and inspiring stories of patients who returned to life at its fullest with Laser Spine Institute.


Laser Spine Wellness

Patient Reviews and Stories

Natalie Gulbis shares her story about her road to recovery from back pain after minimally invasive surgery.



Learn about Natalie Gulbis' Recovery

Meet our Physicians and Surgeons

Our medical professionals know that you expect excellence in terms of medical attention. We strive to go Above and Beyond your expectations and deliver quality, patient-centered care at each of our surgery centers.

Learn about our physicians & medical staff