There are 33 bones in the spine, which are called vertebrae. They are separated into five distinct areas: cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, sacrum and coccyx. The thoracic spine contains 12 vertebrae and is situated in the chest area. The thoracic spine is attached to the ribs, rendering it less mobile than the cervical or lumbar spines. This is significant in its function protecting important organs, including the heart and lungs. The ninth thoracic vertebra (T9) corresponds directly with the adrenal glands via nerves. Although relatively rare, a displacement of the T9 vertebra may cause severe symptoms in the kidney area, as the adrenal glands rest on the kidneys. The risk for displacement usually occurs in individuals over 40 years old, and is usually associated with common, age-related degenerative changes. Although relatively uncommon in the thoracic spine, most displacement occurs between the ninth thoracic vertebra (T9) and the twelfth thoracic vertebra (T12). Treatment is usually nonsurgical, using a back brace or analgesics.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: T9