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Vertebrae of the Week: T4 Vertebra

The T4 vertebra, the tenth vertebra down in your spinal column, protects a nerve root that impacts your gall bladder and your common duct. As such, misalignments here can cause problems with liver and gall bladder function, including jaundice and shingles, among others.

This vertebra is located in your torso, and is a major supporting bone for your rib cage. Your ribs strategically slot into this vertebra, which is larger than the T3, with smaller foramen (these continue to grow smaller as the spine descends into your lower back region). Its spinous process is large and can be both seen and felt pointing significantly down.

Your Gall Bladder Function

The function of your gall bladder, which is located in your right upper abdomen, is to store the bile produced by the liver. This bile serves the purpose of breaking down and digesting fats. You may have heard of gallstones, the most common illness associated with the gall bladder, and which occur when cholesterol and bile combine and harden.

While gallstones can be painful, they are treatable. However, many people don’t realize that a misaligned spine in the T4 region can be responsible not only for gallstones, but for other ailments directly related to your gall bladder.

Jaundice and Shingles

Jaundice is a disease caused by having too much bilirubin in your blood. This chemical turns your skin yellow, and is an indicator of a number of very serious maladies related to liver function, including liver cancer, hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatic cancer, biliary tract blockage and gallstones. When your gall bladder is not functioning properly it can lead to any of these conditions.

Likewise, shingles can be related to the gall bladder, but are caused by the same virus that creates chicken pox in children. They are painful and can be very serious among those with weakened immune systems.

Protecting your T4 Vertebra

As with any other bone in your spine, your T4 vertebra, when out of alignment, can put an undue amount of stress and pressure on the thoracic nerves in this region, which can lead to impaired gall bladder function and, in turn, to any of the ailments here. Having it adjusted can prevent these illnesses, and help to heal faster if they present.

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