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The T12 vertebra is the twelfth thoracic vertebra in the spine of the human body. It is part of the spinal column, which supports the top of the human body. The spinal column extends from the base of the pelvis, and up the length of the back, ultimately connecting to the base of the human skull. The spinal column is a protective structure which provides housing and protection for the spinal cord. The cord is the structure that connects the brain to the rest of the body, and carries out the function within the neural network of sending signals to control breathing, heartbeat, and muscular contraction.

Each of the vertebrae in the spinal column has a specific shape which is designed to protect the spinal cord from injury. The T12 vertebra is located in the last position of the thoracic section of the spine, and sits just above the lumbar section. The portion of the spinal cord that the thoracic vertebrae protect is known as the thoracic cord. This part of the cord controls abdominal muscles. Injury to these vertebrae can cause several problems, including loss of feeling, permanent damage to the nerves, and difficulty walking or even paralysis.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: T12

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