Drummer's Elbow anyone?

Lisa O

Junior Member
Hi, I'm Lisa and I am new here. I joined today just so I could make a comment and start a discussion to get some ideas.
I developed tendinitis in my right arm early in June and believe it to be a combination of working out with my trainer and drumming. After a good rehearsal one evening with my band, my right arm felt like someone hit it with a baseball bat.
I made the mistake of reading about drummers and tendinitis several places online and by the time I was done I was just about convinced that my drumming days were over. Since i am a somewhat "seasoned" musician (old...lol) I really was depressed. My doc gave me some meds that made me feel like crap and I took a break for about 2 months as instructed. However, during that time I looked into physical therapy and began going twice a week.
I played my first gig this weekend (classic rock band) and had NO pain. I stretched between songs and iced my arm (like a quaterback, our bass player joked) and was fine!!
So, I just wanted to say...don't give up if this happens to you. Don't let them throw a bunch of meds at you and send you home. Get some help from professionals that know what they are talking about and get back on the throne! : )
I'd love to hear from anyone else who has had issues with tenidintis and/OR back issues.
There are some great videos on drumming ergonomics out there. I found out that I needed to move my crash cymbals in closer so I wasn't extending my arm too straight while hitting them. This was causing a great deal of stress on the tendons. Simple adjustements can make a HUGE difference!!
Thanks in advance for thoughts and more good advice
Hi Lisa!

I had a similar experience with my right elbow. I just started playing last fall, and after a couple of months I was disappointed that I was having pain and numbness in my right arm. For me it was a combination of crochet (including a furious amount amount of pre Xmas present making), belaying for indoor rock climbing, and my new practice routine.

Just like you, I went to see a physiotherapist and that did the trick. Physiotherapy is fantastic! Most will work with you to keep doing your activities instead of telling you just to rest. Now when I feel it getting achy I know what to do (stretching, exercises, etc) and how far I can push it without turning it into a major injury.

Interesting topic! I look forward to reading your other replies.

:) Leanne


Platinum Member
Yes, I have dealt with this and it's good to put information out there for others to let them know they're not alone. I don't know what it is, but when the prescription for a physical ailment is "rest," we all seem to worry that it won't work for us.

But I can vouch for the value of rest. I had some elbow issues that I think were brought on by my poor decision to try to adjust a heavy cymbal stand from an awkward angle. I was seated behind the drums and kind of trapped in the corner by my own equipment. Rather than do the sensible thing and climb out of there to move the stand properly, I took the lazy man's route and felt it in my elbow. By the end of the gig, it hurt like crazy, and it started affecting my playing in the weeks following. Going for a cymbal crash was really painful.

It took a couple months, but the pain did go away. I was able to practice lightly on the pad, which may have slowed my recovery time a bit (or maybe sped it up; who knows?). But my elbow doesn't hurt anymore.

Yes, our bodies can heal from overuse with a little rest.