The T6 vertebra is located in the thoracic (middle) region of the spine. This part of the spine is unique for several reasons and, although spinal conditions such as herniated discs, bulging discs, facet disease and stenosis are more common in the lumbar and cervical regions of the spine, plays an integral role in the protection of the spinal cord.
The T6 vertebra is situated between the T5 vertebra and the T7 vertebra. Like the vertebrae in the rest of the spine, the thoracic vertebrae are bony segments that serve to protect our spinal nerves. Each vertebra is comprised of a cylindrical solid mass of bone called the vertebral body, and branching off of that mass are two bony arms called the pedicles that surround an open space called the vertebral foramen. Once stacked, the open spaces form a long cylinder that houses and protects the spinal cord. On each side of the thoracic vertebrae are smaller open spaces that act as passageways for the spinal nerve roots to pass through—these are called vertebral foramina.
The T6 vertebra, along with the other thoracic vertebrae, also has several characteristics that differentiate it from others of the spinal column vertebrae, including:
- Each thoracic vertebra contains a spinous process, which are the bony protrusions that you can feel if you run your hand down your spine.
- Each vertebra, including the T6 vertebra, contains two transverse processes, one branching off from either side. These allow the thoracic region of the spine to attach to the rib cage.
- The thoracic vertebrae increase in size down the back because they’re forced to support an increasing amount of weight.
Problems and treatment
Although the rib cage lends added protection to the T6 vertebra, there are plenty of people who still develop neural compression in the thoracic region. They may experience symptoms of radiating pain, localized pain, traveling or stationary tingling and numbness or sensations of weakness.