The term “thoracic” refers to the chest, and the T9 vertebra is one of 12 bony segments that anchor the back of the thoracic cage, which is the protective armor that surrounds your lungs. In between each vertebra are intervertebral discs, which are protective pads made of cartilage. The vertebrae and these pads create one long cylinder through which the spinal cord runs.
The T9 vertebra, along with the other back vertebrae, is comprised of a solid mass of bone that faces the front of the body and a series of vertebral arches that face the back of the body. These arches form an open space called the vertebral foramen, which accommodates the spinal cord. There are two more open spaces on either side of the vertebrae, called intervertebral foramina, through which the spinal nerves pass.
As we age, a lifetime of wear and tear begins to take its toll on the intervertebral discs between thoracic vertebrae, , including those above and below the T9 vertebra. The disc walls become thinner and weaker, a degenerative condition that can cause any of the following conditions:
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Bone spurs
- Spinal stenosis
If you experience pain associated with a spinal condition, conservative, non-invasive vertebrae treatment will probably provide sufficient pain relief. Your physician may suggest anti-inflammatory steroid injections, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication, hot and cold compresses or gentle exercise to ease the pain around the T9 vertebra.