Anyone have “frozen shoulder”?

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I’ve been having a lot of pain in my left shoulder the last three months. I finally went to the doctor and found out I have frozen shoulder. Apparently I’m in the first stage, which is pain. This can last up to eight months. The next stage is the stiff phase, where the pain goes away but I will have trouble moving my shoulder. This can last a year. The final thawing phase can last months as my mobility comes back. The whole process can take up to two years. I’m wondering how this will affect my drumming? Gigs are starting to come back and I have 10 or so on the books. I guess I’ll just have to deal with the pain at first. How much playing mobility am I going to lose in the second phase? I suppose as long as I can get my arm over the snare I should be able to make do. I’m a little worried that playing through the pain will prolong the recovery. I’m wondering if any of you have experience with this and can let me know what to expect?
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Oh, I had this bad. To the point, I had to stop playing for a long while. Apparently, it came from sitting at a computer for too long, on top of some previous injuries. And made worse by denial of how bad it was getting.

What really helped: Changing careers so I didn't sit at a desk anymore

Regular massages. If I had embraced regular massages earlier in life, I likely could have avoided many of the problems I had. I used to not much like the idea of a stranger touching me for that long. I wish I had gotten over that sooner because it helped more than anything else. Now, even though I'm better, I still have a once-a-month massage just to keep it from coming back.

Regular chiropractic visits: This is the tough part because I've found only maybe 1 out of every 10 licensed chiropractors knows what they're doing. Too many only focus on "what hurts" and not the whole body. One thing off in your body can throw everything else off, and fixing one area may not solve much. But a good chiropractor is worth their weight in gold.

Lots of stretching.

What never helped:
Physical therapy. Despite their best intentions, I never found physical therapy to really work. It was too much like putting a bandaid on without addressing the source of the problem.

Acupuncture: OK, acupuncture did help some, but it never helped me as much as massage did. I personally found it too much money (and pain) for only small improvements.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
Did the doc prescribe any treatment? I've read that increasing blood flow to the area can speed up recovery...massage, wrapping it and some gentle exercises/stretches, but all have to be done in moderation and the right way. Otherwise, you risk more pain and prolonged recovery.
 

s1212z

Well-known member
Reminds me of Joe Russo's story which almost ended his drum career due to frozen shoulder. He almost got surgery but was able to skirt around it. Here is an interview along with the book he is referencing.

Just a drum reference if not familar, his work w/ Benevento/Russo Duo is great



 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Had it about 15 years ago.
They don't know what causes it (autoimmune?).
It tightens up the first couple of months ,then loosens gradually.
Went through therapy 3 times a week.
Hurts like heck when they do the stretching and such.
The ice and stim sooth the pain a bit ,but don't last that long.
Shot of cortisone helps for a day or two.
Ibuprofen is so so.
When it gets real bad ,I suggest popping an oxy or hydrocodone.
Your doc should be able to write you a script as I've had broken bones that weren't as bad as FS.
Sleeping is the problem as the pain at night can be intense.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I had it about 15 years ago. For once I went straight to a doctor when I lost mobility in my right shoulder (usually I tough it out over three to six months hoping whatever I have will just go away). I was fortunate to have an incredible doctor and some great physical therapists. Within three months I was good as new and no reoccurrences since. With all the advances in modern medicine it's funny that no one knows what causes frozen shoulder.
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
I had this as well. It's extremely painful and can last quite a while if not treated properly. Deep tissue massage helped me the most. A couple of nights the pain was almost unbearable. Make sure you don't stay in one position too long whether it's on a computer, watching TV etc. Biofreeze is a good rub to help with the pain. I hope you have a full recovery mate...nasty stuff indeed.
 

Peter256

Junior Member
I had it twice, in one shoulder and then the other several years later. I was in my 50s when it happened. Physical therapy both times, don't think it really helped, your mileage may vary. Eventually went away with no lingering effects. I think stretching is about the only thing you can do.
 

EssKayKay

Senior Member
Frozen Shoulder – YES. I had rotator cuff surgery (in my 50’s) and all of sudden I could not move my arm up much without pain. I went to rehab twice a week for over two months with marginal (more like zero) improvement. I worked on it at home for another two month and gave up – no improvement. After about 16 months it improved and I have had marginal if any problems since – that was about 10 years ago. Good luck. . . .
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Well I hope that's what I have. That way I at least have some hope for recovery, right now I feel like I will be in pain for the rest of my life. The Dr. just said it's getting worn out and gave me naproxen to take. Its hurt for over a year. If I lift anything I have to keep it real close to my body, if I try to hold it out in front of me I can't lift it up. Before I gig I take a naproxen and a couple of Tylenol so it doesn't hurt so much using the ride cymbal.
 

michaelg

Member
Wow, so many drummers have had this ? It it common to drummers or just a coincidence ?

I've been having problems with my shoulder the last few months as well. Went to physio and been working on it since. Stretching is good and so is building muscle. I'm a lot better than I was but just cant seem to shake the last 10% of it.
 
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SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I started doing gym rings workout. They had a huge impact on my drumming:

Especially, skin the cat.

You don't have to do very much of it to see the results, its like weight lifting 20minutes every three days is enough. Its really cool because they are inexpensive, and can be done just about anywhere. I use my foyer.
 

MazdaRex

Member
A few years ago, I got this overnight with no apparent cause and it lasted almost a year before clearing up over a week. I suspect this was a fairly mild case. Was not drumming at the time, just traveling a lot for work with different hotel beds.

Lots of on-target advice here, but I'll emphasize what DrumEatDrum said in Post #2. The physical manipulation of massage definitely helped.

Good luck and wishing you a rapid recovery...
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I have had "frozen shoulder" 4 times in my life...2 in each shoulder; but it was due every time to being checked into the glass/boards playing hockey...one rotator cuff tear and three seperations resulted in "tons of fun" currently - 8 years after playing. I had to quit b/c of a massive leg muscle tear when my blade got caught in a big rut in the ice as I was flying backwards...that was the end of 35 years of being a rink rat....so sad...

my right shoulder is worse off, and locks up unexpectedly sometimes, especially if I lean on it too long. I have not had enough range of motion in my right shoulder to throw a ball for ever...you can hear things popping and scraping when I try to move it in that fashion

also had my right elbow shattered when I was 23, taking a point blank slapshot there right between where my shoulder pads and elbow pads meet. It is also still "crunchy" when it moves
 

michaelg

Member
I have had "frozen shoulder" 4 times in my life...2 in each shoulder; but it was due every time to being checked into the glass/boards playing hockey...one rotator cuff tear and three seperations resulted in "tons of fun" currently - 8 years after playing. I had to quit b/c of a massive leg muscle tear when my blade got caught in a big rut in the ice as I was flying backwards...that was the end of 35 years of being a rink rat....so sad...

my right shoulder is worse off, and locks up unexpectedly sometimes, especially if I lean on it too long. I have not had enough range of motion in my right shoulder to throw a ball for ever...you can hear things popping and scraping when I try to move it in that fashion

also had my right elbow shattered when I was 23, taking a point blank slapshot there right between where my shoulder pads and elbow pads meet. It is also still "crunchy" when it moves
sixmillion.jpg

We can rebuild him.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member

wraub

Well-known member
I have a long history of choulder issues traced back to a separated collar bone years ago. I always have stiffness and crunchyness there, some pain too.
Recently, it seems as if my shoulder muscles are more swollen than usual, and I'm wondering if this is related to the subject of this thread.

Is it a drumming thing?

edit- additional question to those who have this/had this... Was the Vagus Nerve a factor in your diagnosis?
 
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GeoB

Gold Member
I went through an encapsulated adhesion of the left shoulder which came on from inactivity due to a shattered left wrist. Resistance bands, lots of additional PT and a couple of cortisone injections, and time.
 

OSDrums

Well-known member
I had it in my left shoulder a year ago and it got worse and worse from week to week. Finally I couldn‘t raise my arm more than 90 degree from the body… Doctor checked with ultrasonic and roentgen and found no physical defect. prescribed me physical therapy. It didn‘t help the first three sessions until my PT came around with “Medical Flossing“. He wrapped a rubber band around my shoulder joint and I had to do exercises with the blood flow near to zero for a minute. Then wait a minute and do the same exercises again without the rubber band. 2x repeated after that per session. What shall I say - after the first Flossing session my pain was gone (but I had a serious bruise at the elbow). After 6 more sessions of flossing my arm was able to get straight in the air and the pain was gone forever. Highly recommend this!
https://www.physio-pedia.com/Tissue_Flossing
 
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