The T9 vertebra
The term thoracic refers to the middle of the back that is aligned with the chest, and the vertebrae in this section are denoted with a T.
The T9 vertebra is the ninth of 12 bony segments that anchor the thoracic spine to the rib cage to help support the upper body. Because this section of the spine is fixed to the rib cage, there is not as much movement or flexibility allowed by the vertebrae compared to the lumbar (lower back) and cervical (neck) areas of the spine.
The T9 vertebra, along with the other back vertebrae, is comprised of a solid mass of bone that faces the front of the body and a series of vertebral arches that face the back of the body. These arches form an open space called the vertebral foramen, which makes space for the spinal cord. There are two more open spaces on either side of the vertebrae, called intervertebral foramina, through which the spinal nerves pass.
In between each vertebra are elastic, sponge-like discs, which are protective pads made of cartilage. The purpose of the discs is to cushion the vertebrae during movement and impact to help prevent injury. However, over time these discs may begin to deteriorate, which can lead to a number of degenerative spine conditions.
As we age, years of wear and tear begin to take its toll on the discs between thoracic vertebrae, including those above and below the T9 vertebra. The disc walls become thinner and weaker, which can lead to damage within the spine, such as:
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Bone spurs
- Spinal stenosis
If you experience pain associated with a spinal condition, conservative, noninvasive vertebrae treatment will typically provide effective pain relief. Your physician may suggest anti-inflammatory steroid injections, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication, hot and cold compresses or gentle exercise to ease the pain around the T9 vertebra.
If you’re still searching for pain relief after a round of conservative treatment, you may be a candidate for spine surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer patients a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive spine surgery reduces the risk of complication and shortens the recovery time* compared to traditional open spine surgery.
Depending on the severity of your condition, our team may recommend a minimally invasive spine surgery to help treat your pain. To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a review of your MRI report or CT scan.