T Nation

Diagnose My Deadlift

G’day,
During my dead-lift session today as I began my 3rd set I felt a sharp pain in my side, about the region of my lower rib but toward the back. According to my anatomy chart the pain is in the region of the 12th rib.

Whilst it feels muscular (thankfully) and I’d appreciate some comments on what injury I may have done (reasonably painful) I was hoping to get some feedback on what you guys think might have caused this type of injury.

Haven’t had a DL related injury before and I’m wondering if I lost form and maybe tried pulling with my back instead of driving my legs?

But if I did try to pull with my back, I thought the injury would be located more central to the spine and lower down the back.??

I think I might have tried to lift a bit more “explosively” or with a faster motion at the start, but I’m not sure how that equates to pain in the 12th rib region… ?

Rib muscle strain.

I’d rather teach you to fish than just feed you today. Check out Deadlift Diagnosis here:

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=586815

Cheers.

thats the same pain i am getting felt a pull while i was front squating,now its like a cramp at night i cant tell if its my kidney or rib but it hurts like a bitch,going to the doc tommorow.

You do pull with your spinal erector (lower back arched, hips high ENOUGH) AND your legs…imo diferent people will prefer different hip elevations depending on the back-leg strength ratio but there is no reason to turn it into a squat (unless you prefer to) or go the other extreme and stiff-leg it (again unless you prefer that).

Are you able to “fire” with your glutes when starting? Most people seem to get back/side pain with poor glute activation.

Could be an intercostal (rib muscle) or an oblique strain. Do you pull with a mixed grip? sometimes that can cause a little twisting.

[quote]kroby wrote:
Rib muscle strain.

I’d rather teach you to fish than just feed you today. Check out Deadlift Diagnosis here:

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=586815

Cheers.[/quote]

Excellent link, thanks kroby.
I should have searched for it myself but I was just so pissed off with hurting my side/back that I just posted the question.

[quote]rbpowerhouse wrote:
You do pull with your spinal erector (lower back arched, hips high ENOUGH) AND your legs…imo diferent people will prefer different hip elevations depending on the back-leg strength ratio but there is no reason to turn it into a squat (unless you prefer to) or go the other extreme and stiff-leg it (again unless you prefer that).

Are you able to “fire” with your glutes when starting? Most people seem to get back/side pain with poor glute activation.[/quote]

I try to get my hips as high as I can to load my hamstrings and generally I feel the ‘pump’ in my glutes and hamstrings after deadlifting. But I must have lost form on this one.

[quote]roofus_5 wrote:
Could be an intercostal (rib muscle) or an oblique strain. Do you pull with a mixed grip? sometimes that can cause a little twisting.[/quote]

Roofus, I’m no doc but the intercostal thing seems logical to me given where the pain is at and how closely it resembles a cracked rib (last years major injury)

My grip was overhand and because I have a weaker grip and no straps at the time, I’d locked my fingers over my thumb to strengthen the grip.

I think I tried to be a bit more explosive on the lift whereas I normally go steady to avoid injuries like this.
Perhaps in focussing on the quick movement, I’ve jerked the back.

If it is the intercostal injury, is it a fairly simple injury that’ll heal with time and rest?

I’m no doctor either, but I’d say it should heal with proper time and rest, there’s probably little else that can be done. Are you having trouble breathing? I would think that if it was really bad the expansion of the ribs when you breathe would cause pain.

[quote]roofus_5 wrote:
I’m no doctor either, but I’d say it should heal with proper time and rest, there’s probably little else that can be done. Are you having trouble breathing? I would think that if it was really bad the expansion of the ribs when you breathe would cause pain.[/quote]

Cheers Roofus, the pain has dramatically reduced overnight. Breathing isn’t a problem, sneezing is though hahhah, hurts like a bastard. I’m confident it’s just muscular now and will go away in a week or so. I can probably train lightly or do legs and cardio, which is good.

[quote]Duke wrote:
roofus_5 wrote:
I’m no doctor either, but I’d say it should heal with proper time and rest, there’s probably little else that can be done. Are you having trouble breathing? I would think that if it was really bad the expansion of the ribs when you breathe would cause pain.

Cheers Roofus, the pain has dramatically reduced overnight. Breathing isn’t a problem, sneezing is though hahhah, hurts like a bastard. I’m confident it’s just muscular now and will go away in a week or so. I can probably train lightly or do legs and cardio, which is good.

[/quote]

Good luck with getting it healed in a week. I had exactly this problem, took a month to fully heal. I could lift again after a week or so, but it still hurt like a bitch every time I sneezed. Unfortunately I also get hayfever.

Incredibly, I had an almost identical injury that occurred two weeks ago. For me, it was while doing good-morning exercises. There was no sudden burst of pain when the injury occurred. Rather, something just “gave” a little (like a pop) at the base of my back, but then slightly to the right side. The pain got worse throughout the day. By bedtime, I couldn’t take a deep breath without excruciating pain.

The pain persisted at its maximum level throughout the following day. Going from sitting to standing was tremendously painful. It began to subside by the third day. It reached, and has maintained, a pretty low threshold by the fifth day. But, it’s still there. It’s a weird pain that seems to traverse from my back to the front and feels like a cramp - just like you described.

I can deadlift about 275 now, and the pain increases for a couple of hours, but then goes back down to that “baseline” level within eight or so hours. I can do good-mornings at the same weight as when the injury first occurred and it doesn’t aggravate it at all.

When I read your post, I was struck by the similarities of our pains. You mentioned the pain below your “twelfth rib”. So, when I did some Internet searching to see if my pain was at the twelfth rib also, I came across something amazing…it’s called “Twelfth Rib Syndrome”!! See the following:

Also, Google the term for other articles on it.

I don’t know if there is a treatment, or if we’re just supposed to wait until it goes away.

I’m turning 44 in two weeks. Getting old is a bitch.

[quote]sharetrader wrote:

Good luck with getting it healed in a week. I had exactly this problem, took a month to fully heal. I could lift again after a week or so, but it still hurt like a bitch every time I sneezed. Unfortunately I also get hayfever.[/quote]

Thanks Sharetrader, I don’t mind if it takes month, as long as it heals okay. I can do other training in the meantime. The pain is 85% gone now but it still hurts to touch with any degree of pressure on that 12th rib area - straight down from the armpit about 250mm and then to the rear about 100mm.

By the way, did you have a go at QANTAS when it was undergoing the takeover bid?

[quote]jgundrey wrote:
Incredibly, I had an almost identical injury that occurred two weeks ago. For me, it was while doing good-morning exercises. There was no sudden burst of pain when the injury occurred. Rather, something just “gave” a little (like a pop) at the base of my back, but then slightly to the right side. The pain got worse throughout the day. By bedtime, I couldn’t take a deep breath without excruciating pain.

The pain persisted at its maximum level throughout the following day. Going from sitting to standing was tremendously painful. It began to subside by the third day. It reached, and has maintained, a pretty low threshold by the fifth day. But, it’s still there. It’s a weird pain that seems to traverse from my back to the front and feels like a cramp - just like you described.

I can deadlift about 275 now, and the pain increases for a couple of hours, but then goes back down to that “baseline” level within eight or so hours. I can do good-mornings at the same weight as when the injury first occurred and it doesn’t aggravate it at all.

When I read your post, I was struck by the similarities of our pains. You mentioned the pain below your “twelfth rib”. So, when I did some Internet searching to see if my pain was at the twelfth rib also, I came across something amazing…it’s called “Twelfth Rib Syndrome”!! See the following:

Also, Google the term for other articles on it.

I don’t know if there is a treatment, or if we’re just supposed to wait until it goes away.

I’m turning 44 in two weeks. Getting old is a bitch.[/quote]

G’day mate, yeah that’s an interesting article, thanks for that.

As I mentioned above, the area of concern is about 10" down from the armpit and about 4" to the rear from there, almost in line with your back right hand pocket in jeans. It’s still sore to touch with a bit of pressure but at least the main pain has eased and I have most of my mobility back.

it’s very interesting to note that when I had the pain I would feel it every time I bent over to pick something up and it would make me squat down and rise up with my legs instead, to avoid the pain, and I thought… that’s how I should be doing it all the time, but you just don’t notice when there’s no pain.

I’ll be trying to make conscious effort to squat for things now instead of simply bending over.

I won’t be dead lifting for another few weeks I reckon but I don’t mind as long as the healing is happening. I’m 42 and yes, the ageing thing sucks. It seems I spend most of my time recovering from pain and injury or too scared to re-injure myself.

I have 1, maybe 2, hernias that need repairing from doing inverted sit ups and the only cure is an operation, so that’s hampering me at the moment as well. When they don’t hurt it’s okay, I just avoid stomach training, which is more than obvious now, I’m a fat bugger again. I will have to have the operation soon I guess but I’m really nervous about it. When the hernia plays up, it can keep me out of the gym for weeks at a time.

Mentally, I to and fro between forgetting the whole weight training thing and just being without pain, or getting the surgery and returning to be better and stronger, maybe.

Rambling now, sorry. I’d be interested to hear of your progress in recovery though, seeing you’re 2 weeks ahead of me in recovery time :slight_smile:

[quote]Duke wrote:
sharetrader wrote:

Good luck with getting it healed in a week. I had exactly this problem, took a month to fully heal. I could lift again after a week or so, but it still hurt like a bitch every time I sneezed. Unfortunately I also get hayfever.

Thanks Sharetrader, I don’t mind if it takes month, as long as it heals okay. I can do other training in the meantime. The pain is 85% gone now but it still hurts to touch with any degree of pressure on that 12th rib area - straight down from the armpit about 250mm and then to the rear about 100mm.

By the way, did you have a go at QANTAS when it was undergoing the takeover bid?
[/quote]

Haha, no, I should be calling myself ex-sharetrader these days. Putting it all into super so I can draw it as tax-free allocated pension when I turn 55 (only two months to go!)

A quick update on this -

The pain went away completely by Monday the 14th. So, I crept up on a 275 LB deadlift in increments. There was a small amount of “irritating twinge” with the lower weights. By the third pull at 275 the pain returned more fully. I stopped there.

It hurt like a bitch for the remainder of the day. By next morning, the pain was about 85% diminished. As of now (early afternoon on Tuesday) the pain is 95%+ diminished. I twist, turn and bend my torso - no real pain. Just a twinge.

It looks like I must refrain from deads - even in a nearly no-pain condition - for some time before I’m able to do them again. Weeks, maybe.

I don’t understand the almost complete reduction of the pain - and then how severely it returns when deadlifting - and then how quickly it goes back down to nearly zero with a day-and-a-half of rest. I wonder if I’ve herniated something?

ive had the same thing before. I strained it on leg press when me knees were digging into my chest as I was breathing in.

Then I felt it on deadlift and squats. Basically its a tendon that got rolled over a muscle or a muscle strain.

you need to back off of any exercises that are bothering you and then get back to it.

[quote]jgundrey wrote:
Getting old is a bitch.[/quote]

You ain’t lyin there, brother.

DJ

[quote]jgundrey wrote:
A quick update on this -

The pain went away completely by Monday the 14th. So, I crept up on a 275 LB deadlift in increments. There was a small amount of “irritating twinge” with the lower weights. By the third pull at 275 the pain returned more fully. I stopped there.

It hurt like a bitch for the remainder of the day. By next morning, the pain was about 85% diminished. As of now (early afternoon on Tuesday) the pain is 95%+ diminished. I twist, turn and bend my torso - no real pain. Just a twinge.

It looks like I must refrain from deads - even in a nearly no-pain condition - for some time before I’m able to do them again. Weeks, maybe.

I don’t understand the almost complete reduction of the pain - and then how severely it returns when deadlifting - and then how quickly it goes back down to nearly zero with a day-and-a-half of rest. I wonder if I’ve herniated something?[/quote]

Sounds like a simple inflamation issue. You’ve popped a tendon. Like you’re experiencing tennis elbow in you back. If that’s the case, you’ll now be jacking with it for the rest of your life. I hate to say it, but you’re going to have to get used to it, and move on with your training. I have something similar that I’ve been messing with for about 3 years now (as a result of batting practice on an uneven surface). Some days are better than others, but it’s always there. One of the things that I’ve found that helps is keeping my feet closer together when I pull. Also, as stated b-4 glute activation is critical. You need to quit jacking around with that hernia crap, and just get it worked on., Without adequate core strength your condition will never improve to the point where you can progress.

DJ

[quote]djreef wrote:
jgundrey wrote:

Sounds like a simple inflamation issue. You’ve popped a tendon. Like you’re experiencing tennis elbow in you back. If that’s the case, you’ll now be jacking with it for the rest of your life. I hate to say it, but you’re going to have to get used to it, and move on with your training. I have something similar that I’ve been messing with for about 3 years now (as a result of batting practice on an uneven surface). Some days are better than others, but it’s always there. One of the things that I’ve found that helps is keeping my feet closer together when I pull. Also, as stated b-4 glute activation is critical. You need to quit jacking around with that hernia crap, and just get it worked on., Without adequate core strength your condition will never improve to the point where you can progress.

DJ[/quote]

Damn! I hope you’re wrong about the lifetime injury thing.
You are however, very right about me not stuffing around with the hernia thing. I simply must get it done. I have lost nearly all core strength.

I found another exercise that’ll kill the rib injury - chins or pull ups. I reached up and grabbed the bar, pulled up to half way and SLAM! pain searing down through my injured rib and back.
I should have known better but it wasn’t hurting at the time and I simply forgot about it… live n learn.