T Nation

Starting Waterbury, but Pain Around T6

I was about to try out Chad’s advice to me from another thread and start a 6 week go at TBT.

However, over the week it has become apparent to me that I have strained something on the left side of my spine, around T6.

Not really bad, but I feel some discomfort during some bending and twisting motions, or if I inhale extremely deeply. Not wanting to make this any worse, I went and talked to my M.D. today and he told me simply to hold off doing anything too heavy for the next while, and he felt it would probably just heal itself over the next 2-3 weeks. I actually noticed the problem last weekend the day after a heavy session, and I am blaming it on a breakdown of form. Over the week I feel that it has been improving bit by bit.

Do I lay off completely for a couple of weeks? (This I certainly don’t want to do, I’d been making good gains!)
Do I start my total body training but just lay off attempting anything that might hit this particular area, like no heavy deadlifts for a few weeks?
Do I schedule time with a chiro and/or ART person?

Help! Please advise!

(I have, of course, vowed to be more vigilant of my form.)

You may have the worlds greatest sports medicine MD, I have no idea. However, in my opinion most MD’s are almost totally ignorant when it comes to sports injuries. They will typically give you a pain killer or muscle relaxant and tell you to do nothing for two weeks. This is what they teach them in med school apparently.

If you are going to stay in this game you need two things: The first and in my opinion the most important, a good massage therapist. I am not talking about a run of the mill gloss over wam bam you are finished massage therapist. I am talking about a good sports massage therapist who understands muscle and is not afraid to work deep tissue massage.

the second thing is a good Chiropractor. Someone who works on athletes and understands the concerns of a hard working weight trainee.

Find those two people and get some good advice! In the meantime ice works wonders…it really does.

Take care and good luck with your injury.


This type of question comes up a lot, people with what appears to be a minor injury trying to find ways to continue training anyway.

You can obviously train “around” the injury, choosing lifts that don’t directly impact the affected area. Also, you could train very lightly, working on form.

Whatever you do, my thought is always for the long term. A couple weeks of lost training is nothing compared to a lifelong injury. Don’t sweat a short layoff period from time to time, in the big picture it is insignificant.

Anyway, I’m probably not even qualified to eat breakfast, so listen to me at your own peril…

What were you doing heavy when you noticed the pain?

Without seeing you firsthand it’s impossible to say for sure, but it sounds like a misaligned rib. This is a very common injury for athletes. Pain in the mid to upper back, but not completely debilitating pain that is irritated by bending or twisting as well as deep inspiration, coughing or sneezing. This is often combined with a strain of the muscles that run alongside the spine (paraspinals) and/or the muscles between the ribs (intercostals). You’ve already received some good advice, get yourself a good muscular therapist, ART practitioner and a chiropractor.


The advice of my doctor was exactly that summarized by ZEB. He suggested pain killers, muscle relaxants, and time as the first round of treatments. He does not strike me as someone who would have much first hand knowledge of athletic needs, if I were to guess, I’d say he’s perhaps a jogger and/or golfer.

The common sense advice I’m receiving here is think long term, apply ice, find good massage, ART, and chiro practioners. And maybe it’s a rib. I’d buy that.

I saw a local chiro advertising that he had completed different levels of ART training. I guess if I were to choose any one person to deal with, someone with those two specialties would be a solid choice.

The pain didn’t hit me during any paritcular set of any particular exercise. However, I noticed it the day after I had been doing some deadlifting and some squatting. I had also been playing with a homemade dragging sled a couple of times during the week. I’m blaming some combination of tight hamstrings, fatigue, and being a bit overzealous. This just goes to underscore the necessity of being patient and thinking long term, and that if you have an imbalance or some chornic issue like a particularly tight muscle, prioritizing such weaknesses can only be a good thing.

Hey kcsportsdoc1,

Assuming you were right and it was a misaligned rib (etc.), what would be a typical treatment prescribed for that?

I really am not in a position where I can go out and hire or consult with 3 additional professionals, so I’m going to see any one besides my GP, I’m looking for the “best bet”.

Now after a couple of additional days of rest it is continuing to feel better bit by bit. In other words, I’m not even aware of it at all unless, for example, I perform a side bend to the right with my left arm held in the air.

At this moment, I’m tempted to just try to work around it and be cautious to avoid any bending movements or erector training for a couple of weeks.