The T6 vertebra

The T6 vertebra is located in the thoracic (middle) region of the spine. 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 spine.

Because of 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 stenosis are more common in the lumbar and cervical regions of the spine, these conditions can still develop in the thoracic spine due to injury or degeneration with age.

Function

The T6 vertebra is situated between the T5 vertebra and the T7 vertebra. 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.

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

Problems and treatment

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 of radiating pain, localized pain, traveling or stationary tingling and numbness, or sensations of weakness.

These symptoms can often be managed with a physician-recommended series of conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, pain medication and stretching. In some cases, if the conservative treatment is not effective, spine surgery may be recommended.

The minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute is often the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional open back surgery. Our minimally spine surgeries offer shorter recovery times§ and lower risk of infection compared to traditional open spine surgery.

To see if you are a candidate for our treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a review of your MRI report or CT scan.