The T5 Vertebra — overview and related conditions

The fifth vertebra in the thoracic segment of the spine, commonly referred to as the T5 vertebra, is located in the middle of the torso. This bone is one of the 12 vertebrae in the thoracic (middle) spine that supports the rib cage and protects the internal organs in the chest. The T5 is located in the upper body, between the chest and the collar bone.

Compared to the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) regions of the spine, the thoracic spine is less likely to develop painful conditions because it is fixed to the rib cage. However, injury and other problems can lead to chronic pain that can interfere with your life. If you are living with middle back pain, educating yourself about spinal anatomy and the full range of treatment options can be a crucial step in finding lasting relief.

Function of the T5 vertebra

The vertebrae are unique bones because they must provide mobility while also being strong enough to support our body weight. While the thoracic spine is not nearly as mobile as the upper or lower regions of the spine, it must provide a degree of flexion and extension. This is possible with these two parts of spinal anatomy:

  • Spinal discs. These rubbery pads exist at every level of the spine and prevent adjacent vertebrae from rubbing against each other. Spinal 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 covered with a thick, lubricating fluid that provides motion.

The T5 vertebra, along with the rest of the spine, supports the upper body and allows for movement while protecting the spinal cord as it travels from the brain to the rest of the body. While the thoracic spine is less vulnerable to age-related degeneration than the other areas of the spine, traumatic injury can lead to compression fractures and disc problems that can compress spinal nerves. Common symptoms of a condition affecting the T5 vertebra include upper back pain, as well as radiating symptoms in the chest and abdomen.

Treatment options

If you are considering surgery due to pain and other symptoms in the thoracic vertebrae, including the T5 vertebra, and extended conservative treatment has not provided relief, reach out to Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is an alternative to traditional open spine procedures and the many risks and difficulties that come along with them.

To learn more, contact our dedicated team for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient procedures.