The thorax is also called the chest and contains the main organs of respiration and circulation. The heart through its main artery, the aorta, pumps oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. The lungs provide oxygen to the cells of the body and eliminate carbon dioxide. Together these organs sustain some of the most critical life functions of the body.
Thoracic Outlet Anatomy
Thoracic outlet syndrome is a rare condition that occurs when there is compression of vessels and nerves in the area of the clavicle. This can happen when there is an extra cervical rib or because of a tight fibrous band that connects the spinal vertebra to the rib. There may be pain in the neck and shoulders, and numbess in the last 3 fingers and inner forearm. Thoracic outlet syndrome is usually treated with physical therapy which helps strengthen and straighten out the shoulders.
Thoracic Spine - The Bones Of The Upper Back
This part of your spine is your upper back. It is made up of 12 vertebrae. The rib cage of the chest is attached to the thoracic spine at each level. This gives a great deal of stability and support to the upper body. This in turn, limits the back's movement at the chest level.
Because the upper back isn't designed for movement, it is uncommon to have injuries of the thoracic spine. However, irritation of the large muscles of the back and shoulder or joint problems in the upper back can be very painful.
Anatomy : Thoracic Spine
Below the cervical spine, the middle back, or thoracic spine, is made up of 12 vertebrae (T1-T12). The ribs connect to these vertebrae to form the back wall of the thorax – the part of the body between the neck and diaphragm, which contains the heart and lungs. This region of the spine contains narrow intervertebral discs, which allow significantly less movement between vertebrae than in the lumbar or cervical regions.
The vertebrae that make up the thoracic region of the spine also provide less space in the spinal canal for nerve tissue. The thoracic spine curves backward, forming what is anatomically referred to as a kyphosis, or kyphotic curve.
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