Function of the T12 vertebra

The T12 vertebra is the last vertebra in the thoracic region of the spine, which is generally defined as the upper-middle back. It is also the largest and strongest vertebra in its region because the thoracic vertebrae increase in size as they go down the back in order to compensate for an increasing weight load.

The thoracic spine is largely responsible for supporting the rib cage and the posture of the upper body. While many of the thoracic vertebrae connect to the rib cage, the T11 and T12 vertebrae do not. These two vertebrae are sometimes more often associated with the function of the lower back, which is stability and support, than with the limited mobility of the thoracic spine. Learn more about the symptoms and treatment options for conditions located at the T12 vertebra in the following article.

T12 vertebra conditions and symptoms

The T12 vertebra is the most vulnerable level for stress-related injuries to develop and cause pain in the back and around the rib cage. Sometimes, thoracic vertebrae pain can be difficult to diagnose because the pain is referred, meaning the discomfort appears to come from places other than the exact site of damage.

Understanding which areas of the body correspond to certain areas of the spine can help you to understand your symptoms better. For instance, the 12 thoracic spine vertebrae extend from the base of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage, with the T12 vertebra ending just above the pelvis. Furthermore, the T4 vertebra is situated in the area around the pectoral muscles, while the T10 vertebra is located in line with the belly button.

T12 vertebra treatment options

If you are experiencing pain in any of these areas, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. After a thorough examination and X-rays, your doctor should be able to confirm a diagnosis for the cause of your pain. If your discomfort is not due to trauma, cancer, infection or scoliosis, then it is possible that you have sustained some damage to the discs above or below the T12 vertebra.

T12 vertebra conditions can often be treated with conservative methods of treatment, such as pain medication, physical therapy and chiropractic treatment as directed by your doctor. If spine surgery is needed after conservative treatment has been exhausted for several weeks or months, you may be a candidate for the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

To date, our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization surgeries have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. Our procedures offer a lower risk of complication and no lengthy recovery.^ Our team of dedicated surgeons is able to perform muscle-sparing procedures which use a small incision in order to alleviate your debilitating symptoms and help you get back to your daily routine.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a no-cost MRI review* so we can help you take the next step on your journey toward pain relief.