There are twelve bone segments or vertebra that form the middle portion of the spine -- between the neck and lower back. The sixth thoracic vertebrae (T6), located just below the shoulder blades, works in conjunction with the remaining 11 segments to protect the nerves of the spine. Each vertebra is larger than the one above it, increasing in diameter as they run the length of the spine. The larger the segment, the more weight it supports. All vertebra contain two stalks (pedicles) that envelope the vertebral foreman, which is nothing more than open space that the spinal cord runs through. Each vertebra contains additional open spaces called vertebral foramina that house smaller nerve roots. The ribcage protects the sixth thoracic vertebrae (T6). But this does not mean that injury or degeneration is impossible. Neural compression, stenosis or herniation can result in radiating pain, localized pain, instances of numbness and feelings of weakness. Because this vertebra is in close proximity to the stomach, problems such as heartburn, dyspepsia and indigestion are not unusual.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: T6

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