T1 – T12 nerve roots

The 12 nerve root pairs in the thoracic spine, otherwise known as the T1 – T12 nerve roots, refer to the location where nerves branch off the spinal cord in the thoracic spine (middle back) before exiting the spinal column.

Leaving the spinal column through openings between the vertebrae called foramina, the thoracic nerve roots are responsible for sending information between the brain, spine, torso and abdomen. These information signals include both pain receptors and muscle movement.

Function of the thoracic nerve roots

The spinal cord extends through hollow cavities in the vertebrae, beginning in the brain and extending to the lumbar spine in the lower back. In the thoracic spine, thoracic nerve roots branch off the spinal cord and exit the spinal column through small canals in the vertebrae — called foramina — before spreading out to the following areas of the body:

  • Abdomen
  • Chest
  • Middle back
  • Lower part of the shoulders
  • Inner arms and armpits

In the event that a T1 – T12 nerve root becomes compressed or pinched, the pain and symptoms can travel along the length of the nerve pathway, sending a trail of pain from the spine to the chest, abdomen and other affected areas.

Spine conditions that affect the T1 – T12 vertebrae

The thoracic spine, while not as prone to spine conditions as the lumbar or cervical regions of the spine, can sometimes develop spine conditions from degeneration or injury. These conditions can include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Facet disease or other disorders affecting the joints
  • Traumatic or mild injury
  • Regular aging
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Other forms of osteoarthritis

These conditions can cause nerve compression in the thoracic spine, which can lead to the symptoms mentioned above.

If you are experiencing this pain, your doctor will most likely recommend a conservative treatment program to help reduce your symptoms. This program should last several weeks or months and provide effective pain relief.

However, if you are still in pain at the end of a full course of conservative treatment, you should contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery, and in severe cases, minimally invasive stabilization surgery helps treat common degenerative spine conditions while providing safer and effective results than traditional open neck or open back surgery. This allows our patients to benefit from a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication.

To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures, contact our Care Team today and request a review of your MRI report or CT scan. Let us help you take the next step on your journey to wellness.