Designated as T1 through T12, the thoracic region is a set of 12 vertebrae located above the lumbar region. The bones are angled downward and increase in size as they approach the lumbar region. These mid-back bones have limited motion -- their main function is to protect the heart and lungs. What makes them unique is that they are the only means of holding the ribs together. Additionally, the thoracic spine has overlapping spinous processes, bony projections on the back of the vertebrae, which provide extra support.
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