I see the thread has aged some, but FWIW I have a T5-T6 mild herniation from lifting way too much snow with my bad-ass arms. Stupid thing to do. My doc is a non-surgical type who wants me to remain active as much as I can which includes lifting weights.
In October during my second relapse of nerve irritation I finally had to stop lifting for four weeks to let the irritation calm down while I was waiting to be able to get another epidural cortisone shot. I have been lifting again for about four weeks. I get the shot tomorrow! I am searching for a surgeon who does arthroscopic thoracic work. I have found one, possibly two but they are both not in my insurance plan.
I mainly try to avoid any activities that have much twisting, and the weights bother the injury very little unto themselves. It mainly gets bad by accumulation of activities. Swimming and biking are not too bad for it. Running is a little worse. My biggest complaint is that the shots only seem to last about 3 months tops so they are like a band-aid. I really do want arthroscopic surgery if it has a reasonably good chance at success. I do not want open back surgery as recovery is too long, and I don't want someone cutting through my back muscles.