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Thoracic nerves

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.

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

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