T9 vertebra overview

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 the 12 bony segments that anchor the thoracic spine to the rib cage to help support the upper body and is considered one of the largest vertebrae. 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. Read on to learn more about the structure of the T9 vertebra as well as the spinal conditions and treatment options associated with this segment of the vertebral column.

T9 vertebra structure

The T9 vertebra, along with the other spinal vertebrae, are 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 in people over the age of 40 years old.

Types of spine conditions associated with the T9 vertebra

As we age, years of wear begin to take their toll on the discs between thoracic vertebrae, including those above and below the T9 vertebra. The disc walls begin to lose their elasticity and thickness, which can compress the surrounding structures and cause degenerative spine conditions, including:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Spinal stenosis

Treatment options for spine conditions at the T9 vertebra

If you experience discomfort associated with a debilitating spine condition, conservative treatment options will typically provide effective pain relief. Your doctor may suggest noninvasive therapies such as anti-inflammatory steroid injections, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication, hot and cold compresses or gentle exercises to ease the pain around the T9 vertebra.

You may be a candidate for spine surgery if the conservative treatment plans recommended by your doctor prove unsuccessful after several weeks or months. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery, as well as a reduced complication rate of 2.08 percent and no lengthy recovery.^ We are pleased to have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from their chronic neck and back conditions.

Depending on the severity of your condition, our team may recommend a minimally invasive spine surgery to help treat your pain. Contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a no-cost MRI review* to learn if our outpatient procedures would be effective in relieving the debilitating symptoms associated with a T9 vertebra spinal condition.