Thoracic pain refers to pain in the thoracic region. The thoracic region is defined by the thoracic spine, which is made up of the vertebral bodies that have ribs associated with them. Doctors often refer to these vertebrae as T1 to T12. The thoracic spine starts at the base of the neck. The lowest vertebra of the thoracic spine, T12, connects below the bottom of the rib cage to the first vertebra of the lumbar spine, called L1.
The upper half of the thoracic spine is much less mobile than the lower section, making disc herniations in the upper thoracic spine rare. About 75 percent of thoracic disc herniations occur from T8 to T12, with the majority affecting T11 and T12.
Causes of thoracic pain are numerous. Please see specific pathologies to learn more about their respective causes.