Middle Back Pain on Left Side

I have been experiencing some middle back pain on the left side. The way the pain acts suggests muscular in nature. It is sharp under certain motions. It isn’t on the spine but to the left in the ribs. The two exercises that trigger it are RDL and lateral raises. All other exercises like pull ups and OHP don’t seem to hurt. The seated spine twist stretch seems to really target it. I was wondering what this pain might be and how to best rehab it. I have ceased all exercises that hurt it at this time but have continued exercises that don’t hurt. I tried indicating location here:


@j4gga2 Any thoughts?

The most likely issue would be an intercostal strain, which is super common and recovers well.

The intercostals are respiratory muscles, and parts of them will contract during both inhalation and exhalation. Thus, they will often be irritated by exercises needing a strong brace. They can also be irritated by loaded rotation.

I would recommend:
1 - Swap to lots of machine exercises for this week only (e.g. smith machine RDL, hip thrust machine, hack squat etc) to reduce your bracing in training and let the intercostals calm down
2 - Do the banded thread the needle for 2-3 sets of 10 every other day to load the muscles
3 - Start to gradually re-introduce IAP activities. E.g., instead of 4 sets of RDLs, do 1-2 sets on the bar and 2-3 sets in the smith machine. Progress like this for 0.5-2 weeks
4 - You’re good to go

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This sounds exactly like it. I described it to people as if the pain were to be in the ribs. Also, it hurt initially when I coughed which makes sense if it is a respiratory muscle. I’ll follow this rehab program you outlined and let you know the progress. Thanks a ton @j4gga2!!!

No problem, sorry for the delayed response :slight_smile: