Man, today is the suck. I went to the ortho and got some pretty disturbing news. Sorry for venting and being long-winded. Apparently, I have a degenerating disk in my neck, probably due to one or several of the 4 concussions that I got in HS. This is a problem because heavy weight pulling down from my traps will cause it to get worse according to the MD. I remember back in college that very heavy shrugs would really get my neck acting up. It started acting up again a couple of weeks ago when I was doing shrugs with moderate weight. With squat and DL, I haven't held it there as long. Second, I have a piece of a vertebra fractured in my lower back, probably from a back injury I got when I was 17 playing basketball. From the side, there's a little triangular piece of bone just barely broken loose from the rest. This is causing the disk above it to degenerate also. He said he's pretty sure that the disk is bulging out and causing some problems and it will get worse if I keep putting load on it. Also, there's a facet joint problem like I predicted. It's at the same location, so he thinks it's due to the dysfunction in the area combined with the new loading. Rip says these guys are full of it when it comes to stuff like this, but it's hard to discount the opinion of a guy with 15 years of school who specializes in spinal issues. This MD has an extremely strong dislike of squats and deadlifts and believes that people should not be lifting anything heavier than what they can get 12 times. He said 16-24 for me because I'm more delicate, apparently. I told him that I could probably squat 300 in that range with some training in that rep range and he said to just forget squat and deadlift, period. His opinions are extreme enough that I tend to not trust him. Then again, the other guys like Rip have extreme opinions in the other direction and has a financial stake in promoting weight training as a safe and smart activity. I need to find a MD who believes in weight training. If a guy like that tells me to forget it, then I should head over to the side of the gym with the elliptical machines. No clue how to find a guy like that. Who is a guy supposed to trust?! Where does one get info to make informed decisions on issues like this? Rhetorical questions, obviously, because I don't think there's an answer other than guessing. One take-home lesson that I've learned over the last 6 months or so is to watch out what the kiddies do in sports. I now have three moderately irritating and probably degenerative health issues (counting double vision from nerve damage from the 4 concussions) that all stem from injuries when I was a teen. I was too stupid at 15-17 years old to know better. My teenage self screwed my 39 year old self. Now I'm thinking that I'd better be careful that my 39 year old self better not screw over my 50-70 year old self.