There are twelve thoracic vertebrae and they are intermediate in size between the cervical and lumbar vertebrae; they increase in size going towards the lumbar vertebrae. They are distinguished by the presence of facets on the sides of the bodies for articulation with the heads of the ribs, as well as facets on the transverse processes of all, except the eleventh and twelfth, for articulation with the tubercles of the ribs. By convention, the human thoracic vertebrae are numbered T1–T12, with the first one (T1) located closest to the skull and the others going down the spine toward the lumbar region.

Thoracic Nerve

The thoracic nerves refer to the cluster of nerve fibers found in the upper body, particularly within the chest region. These nerve fibers are considered spinal nerves, which carry and transmit information between the spinal cord and parts of the body.

The nerves stem from portions of the vertebrae. Eleven of the 12 nerves are situated in spaces located between two ribs. These are known as the intercostal nerves. The last thoracic nerve, known as subcostal, is found just below the final rib. Collectively, these nerves communicate with various parts of the chest and abdomen.

The fibers of the first two thoracic nerves extend to the shoulder and arms, and the next four nerves direct signals to the chest. The lower five thoracic nerves are found in the chest and abdomen. The last thoracic nerve supplies the abdominal wall and the buttocks, specifically the skin.

Each of the thoracic nerves is divided into anterior and posterior branches known as the dorsal ramus and ventral ramus. These fiber extensions direct signals to various parts of the upper body, including muscles, deep tissues, skin, and blood vessels.

Common conditions of thoracic nerves include:

  • Thoracic Nerve Injuries
  • Thoracic Spinal Stenosis
  • Thoracic Radiculopathy.

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