Function of the T6 vertebra

The T6 vertebra is situated between the T5 vertebra and the T7 vertebra, in the thoracic (middle) region of the spine. Like the vertebrae in the rest of the spine, the thoracic vertebrae are bony segments that serve to protect our spinal nerves and give support to the body. This part of the spine is unique for several reasons and plays an integral role in the protection of the spinal cord. The thoracic spine connects to the rib cage to help support the upper body. Because the T6 vertebra and other thoracic vertebrae attach to the rib cage, there is limited movement in this section of the spine.

Due to this limited mobility, spine conditions are not as common in the thoracic spine. Although spinal conditions such as herniated discs, bulging discs, facet disease and spinal stenosis are more common in the lumbar and cervical regions of the spine, these conditions can still develop in the thoracic spine as a result of injury or degeneration with age. Read on to learn more about the role of the T6 vertebra as well as the treatment options available for any associated conditions.

T6 vertebra function

The T6 vertebra has several characteristics that differentiate it from others in the spinal column, 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, with one branching off from either side, allowing the thoracic region of the spine to attach to the rib cage
  • The thoracic vertebrae increase in diameter down the back because they support an increasing amount of weight the lower down the back they are located

T6 vertebra conservative treatment options

Although the rib cage lends added protection to the T6 vertebra, there are many people who still develop nerve compression in the thoracic region. Thoracic nerve compression may result in symptoms such as radiating or localized pain and traveling or stationary tingling sensations as well as possible numbness or weakness.

Symptoms associated with the T6 vertebra can often be managed with a doctor recommended series of conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, pain medication and stretching. In some cases, if the conservative treatment is not effective, your doctor may recommend seeing if you are a candidate for spine surgery.

Minimally invasive options for T6 vertebra conditions

The minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute provides many advantages over traditional open back surgery.^ Our state-of-the-art procedures at Laser Spine Institute have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain.

The minimally invasive spine surgery we offer provides a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery, by using a less than 1-inch incision which carries a lower risk of complication and results in no lengthy recovery.^ Contact Laser Spine Institute so we can help you make a confident decision about the course of treatment that will work best for you.

Request a no-cost MRI review* today to learn if our outpatient procedures would be effective in relieving your chronic back pain.