Human Anatomy: Thoracic Vertebrae

The man is a curious creature. He is interested in everything that happens around. He asks himself questions: what, why and how? The most common question is understanding how a person works. It is noteworthy that the responses are admired. This article will focus on the spine, namely its thoracic part.

thoracic vertebrae

The structure of the spine

The core of the human body, or spine, resembles the English letter "S". For general development, I would like to note that the spine in its normal position has several curvatures - these are two kyphosis, the thoracic and the sacral, and also two lordosis (curvature in the opposite direction), the lumbar and cervical. Due to this there is a slight springiness. This consists in softening shocks, vibrations, strikes when walking and while running. To make this “device” the most reliable, muscles and ligaments charge a considerable amount of work, providing moderate pressure on the spine.

If you count the vertebrae that make up the spinal column, the amount ranges from 32 to 34. The vertebrae are located one on top of the other.

The role of the spine

Awareness of the role of the spine in the human body fundamentally changes its attitude towards it as a device and an “organ” as a whole. Thanks to him, the following goals are achieved:

  1. The head is safely supported, the skeleton is stiff.
  2. The body of the person is securely held in an upright position.
  3. Preservation of the spinal cord from damage.
  4. The spine is the part to which other bones of the skeleton and muscles are attached.

The list of spinal merit is incomplete, it can be continued. But I would like to draw attention to a separate part of the spinal column - this is a vertebra.

first thoracic vertebra


Vertebra - this is a vertebra, but in Latin. It is an integral part of the spinal cord itself. The vertebra has a spongy structure and a peculiar composition. This is the presence of bone beams, between which there are recesses. In these recesses is visible bone marrow. The shape of the cylinder - the front of the vertebra - this is his body. Behind you can see the arch of the vertebra and 7 processes.There is still a hole that is impossible not to notice. It contains the spinal cord.

The spine can be visually divided into several sections. It begins with the cervical spine, in which there are 7 vertebrae. The largest department is the breast one. How many vertebrae in the thoracic? Rigorous counting showed the number - 12. Lumbar - 5 vertebrae, the same in the sacral and 4 vertebrae in the tailbone. The last two departments are not so mobile. Consider the thoracic spine in more detail.

how many vertebrae in the thoracic

Thoracic spine

12 is the number of thoracic vertebrae. They differ markedly from the neck in that it is larger and thicker. The height of the vertebrae itself is increasing from top to bottom. The largest and most prominent thoracic vertebra is the twelfth.

Physiological kyphosis is what distinguishes this department from others. In normal condition, it looks like the letter "C". The roundness is turned back. This structure helps the spine to keep upright and rationally distribute the load of the body between all its branches.

The thoracic spine takes part in the formation of the posterior chest wall. To the vertebrae, namely to their bodies and processes, the ribs are attached. All this action takes place with the help of joints.The design of this cell would be incomplete without the sternum — it is the front that connects the ribs so that the frame is obtained.

The specifics of the department

The first distinguishing feature is the small height of the intervertebral discs. Therefore, all other spinal compartments are more mobile than this. Chest restricts mobility. The processes of the thoracic vertebrae, called the spinous, also take part in this. Vertebrae thoracic have another feature - a narrow passage of the spinal canal. This is fraught with the fact that compression of the nerve endings and even the spinal cord occurs if diseases such as a hernia begin to develop.

number of thoracic vertebrae

Thoracic vertebra design

Consider the thoracic vertebrae from the second to the ninth. From the side, on the back surface of the vertebra, one can observe the lower and upper costal semi-dips. There is a combination of semi-deepening, located at the top of the underlying vertebra, with that located at the bottom of the vertebra, which is above. Thus, for the rib heads, a surface is formed where the joint is placed.

Vertebrae thoracic from tenth to twelfth. Studying them, one can observe the following properties.

  • In vertebra number 10 there is only one semi-deepening, the location of this - at the upper edge of the body. Intended for rib.
  • The 11th and 12th vertebrae have complete recesses for the desired ribs. The vertebral foramen of the thoracic vertebrae are round, but noticeably smaller than those of the cervical ones.

I would like to pay attention to transverse processes, they are located on the vertebrae and thicken at the ends. On the transverse processes of the 11th and 12th vertebrae, there are no depressions.

It is noteworthy that the spinous processes of the thoracic vertebrae are longer. They have a pointed trihedral shape, are tilted down and superimposed one on another, which resembles shingles on the roof of a house. Due to this, the spine re-extension does not threaten. If you carefully examine the X-ray, then from the fourth vertebra to the tenth, the aforementioned “tile” is formed.

Switch attention to the processes of the joints. Their location is seen in the frontal area.

spinous processes of the thoracic vertebrae

In more detail it can be noted that the thoracic vertebra consists of:

  1. The body of the vertebra.
  2. Dougie vertebra.
  3. Vertebral clippings.
  4. Articular processes.
  5. Transverse process.
  6. Rib groove of the transverse process.
  7. Rib grooves (upper and lower).
  8. Spinous process.
  9. Spinal hole.

Separately, considering the first thoracic vertebra, it can be noted that its body is distinguished by the encapsulation of a full rib cavity at the top for articulation with the head of the first rib. And the semi-deepening, which can be found below, articulates with the head of the rib of the second.


Although the vertebrae of the thoracic do not feel a weight load, but the importance of the function of the thoracic section should not be diminished:

  1. The body is kept upright.
  2. The spinal cord located in the spinal canal is protected.
  3. Cushioning, softens the fall, blows.
  4. It is a place where the ribs are attached.
  5. Taking part in the creation of the chest, protects the internal organs.

The thoracic department is responsible for the preservation and functioning of such organs as the adrenal glands, bronchi, lungs, stomach, liver, and, of course, the heart. It should be noted in the described section some structures:

  • vertebrae - 12 pieces;
  • discs that are located between the vertebrae, joints and holes;
  • thoracic spinal cord;
  • some nerve roots;
  • muscle.

Because of the low mobility of the thoracic vertebrae are not often subjected to changes and diseases. But pathologies exist.

the thoracic vertebra consists of

The most common pathologies

Increasing loads on the discs, which are located between the vertebrae, increase the risk of osteochondrosis. Along with this, there are unpleasant, painful sensations in the chest area. This happens when the nerve endings are compressed.

Hernias appearing between the vertebrae, for our department - an atypical disease. But there are exceptions. This unpleasant thing usually settles on the sixth vertebra. Why is that? It is this vertebra that is central in the thoracic region and in the whole spinal column. The maximum load falls on the sixth vertebra. Therefore, he is more vulnerable and has a predisposition to injury. Accordingly, the seventh vertebra also takes part in the occurrence of the above-mentioned hernia.

Thoracic vertebrae are least likely to be injured. This can happen only if you deliver a strong blow directly to this department. Or a person will fall on his back from a good height. Since the vertebral canal is not wide here, rather the opposite, the body does not feel any special pain.Therefore, there is no acute desire to go to the doctor. But the consequences, unfortunately, are. So be attentive to your health and take care of yourself.

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