Thoracic spondylosis is a degenerative condition of the thoracic region of the spine. This pathological condition can include facet joint osteoarthritis, formation of bone spurs, or disc herniation. Thoracic spondylosis does not occur as often as cervical or lumbar spondylosis. Commonly, it happens in people over the age of 50.
The spine is made up of 33 individual bones called vertebrae. These are separated by intervertebral discs. The thoracic region of the spine is made up of twelve vertebrae, which are designated as T1 through T12. The thoracic vertebrae are joined by ribs to form the rib cage.
A typical thoracic vertebra consists of a body and a vertebral arch, which has several processes for articular and muscular attachments. Facet joints are located between each pair of thoracic vertebrae. They guide and limit the movement of the spine, providing stability and bearing a share of the load on the spine. The intervertebral discs between the vertebrae in the thoracic region of the spine are not as thick as those found in other spinal regions, but they act as shock absorbers.