The fifth vertebra in the thoracic segment of the spine, commonly referred to as the T5 vertebra in the medical community, is located in the middle of the torso. This bone is one of the 12 vertebrae in the thoracic spine that are tasked with the important role of supporting the rib cage and protecting the internal organs in the chest.
The vertebrae are unique bone structures because they must provide mobility while also being strong enough to support much of our body weight. While the thoracic spine in the middle back is not nearly as mobile as the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back), it still must provide a degree of flexion and extension. This is accomplished with the help of two key structures:
• Intervertebral discs – These soft, spongy pads exist at every level of the spine and prevent adjacent vertebrae from rubbing against one another. Intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers, limiting the stress placed on the neck and back, while also allowing the neck and back to be flexible.
• Facet joints – Existing in matching pairs on each vertebra, facet joints face upward and downward on the bone, allowing for the connection of adjacent vertebrae. These cartilage-coated structures are encapsulated with a thick lubricating fluid that help provides motion not unlike a hinge.
All told, the T5 vertebra is an important vertebra. It, along with the rest of the thoracic spine, provides a stable foundation for the rib cage. Additionally, the T5 vertebra houses the spinal cord as it stems from the brain down through the back.
To learn more about the thoracic vertebrae, including the T5 vertebra, as well as the specific causes, treatments, and prognoses of middle back pain, contact the renowned team of orthopedic spine surgeons at Laser Spine Institute today. We are happy to schedule a consultation at one of our conveniently located offices across the country and will review your MRI or CT scan.