The T7 vertebra
The T7 vertebra is one of the 12 vertebrae found in the thoracic (middle) region of the spinal column. The thoracic vertebrae play an especially important role in both the protection of the spinal cord and the body’s vital organs.
The thoracic region of the spine is attached to the ribcage, making it more stable compared to the relatively flexible cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) spinal regions. While this typically makes it less vulnerable to the development of degenerative spine conditions, middle back pain and other symptoms can be related to an issue with one of the thoracic vertebrae.
How the T7 vertebra functions
The T7 vertebra is located between the T6 vertebra and the T8 vertebra. Together with the other thoracic vertebrae, this region of the spine extends from the base of the neck to the bottom of the ribcage.
The thoracic vertebrae attach to the rib cage via transverse processes, which are bony protrusions on either side of each thoracic vertebra. This section of the spine stabilizes the ribcage, which in turn protects the lungs, heart and other important organs.
The thoracic vertebrae, including the T7 vertebra and their discs, are not as susceptible to injury as the lumbar vertebrae and the cervical vertebrae for several reasons, including:
- The thoracic vertebrae have the added protection of the rib cage.
- Because the thoracic vertebrae are stabilized by the rib cage, they have a much narrower range of movement than the lumbar or cervical regions and experience less wear.
- The thoracic vertebrae, including the T7 vertebra, become larger as they go down the back, which means their ability to support more weight also increases.
Although less common than in other parts of the spine, conditions such as herniated discs, spinal arthritis and bone spurs can develop in the thoracic spine. Many issues in this segment can be related to traumatic injuries, including automobile accidents.
Treatment for thoracic spine conditions
Upon diagnosis of a spine condition affecting the T7 vertebra, most doctors will begin with a course of conservative treatments that may include medication, physical therapy and spinal injections.
These treatments often take several weeks or months before lasting relief is felt, with surgery becoming an option if it is decided that conservative methods have been exhausted. If you are exploring spine surgery but have concerns about the risks and difficulties associated with traditional open neck or back procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures, offering our patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time.^
To learn more, reach out to our dedicated team today. We can offer a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.