Left elbow tendinitis

EricT43

Senior Member
Hi everyone.

Over the last few months I have been having trouble with my left elbow. Based on the Googling I did, I believe I have medial tendinitis, commonly called golf elbow, as opposed to the more commonly known tennis elbow. Basically, the inside of my left elbow hurts. It hurts a lot more after playing a gig, so much so that it makes putting my gear into the car somewhat difficult.

Based on what I've read, I believe this comes from strain on the tendons from hitting my snare drum. The leader of the band I'm in is a big fan of playing loudly, and has pushed me from Day 1 to beat the drums. Over time I've developed a harder playing style, but I think I may be pushing it a bit. I find that I really focus on putting power into my playing, and I don't know if that's something I should really have to think about during a performance. We're not playing metal, and I'm always amplified, so honestly I'm ready to tell the band leader to stick it up his ass and that I'll play how I'm want.

I have gigs Friday and Saturday this week, and I'm planning to try playing at a moderate volume to see if that helps. I'm also going to loosen my snare head a bit, as I've read that a tight head will aggravate the issue. I'll be practicing my downstroke technique as well.

I'm wondering if you guys think using heavier sticks would help? I use 5A normally, thinking about 5B to get more volume with less effort, but I don't know if that might cause other complications for me.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Perhaps adjust your snare height, getting more loudness out of a rimshot.
5b sticks a good idea.
Yes tell band leader it's not his elbow. My guess is the dude won't have a clue how hard you're hitting (or not) anyway.
I have to admit I can't stand other band members telling one another how to play. The guitarist in my blues band told me to start this song with a flam, but he didn't know what a flam was.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Based on the Googling I did, I believe I have medial tendinitis
Perhaps you should do less Googling. :)

Haha, no really, I had a problem last year as well, undoubtedly tendonitis, although it never hurt nor was it worsened when I played. Very odd. After about 3 months, it had gone away on its own.

Bermuda
 

EricT43

Senior Member
Perhaps you should do less Googling. :)

Bermuda
Haha, this is what happens when I don't read through my text before posting.

My elbow hurts today, even though I haven't played since Friday. I'm trying to rest it as much as I can. I did get some relief last month when we had a 2-week stretch with no gigs, but then it got worse again.

I'll try using 5B's this weekend to see how that goes. I've tried telling my band leader that lower stage volume is better for everyone. But to him rock needs to be loud, and more louder means more rockin'. You can't reason with someone who thinks that way.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Before you say something to your bandleader, you should go see your doctor and get our problem properly diagnosed. Your doctor may have some solutions you can use while you play that will help with the pain.

Searching Google for medical issues is like using a Drum dial to tune your drums; it may head you in the right direction, but it cannot verify your problem with any accuracy.

All anyone can do here is give advice based on you description and we are not M.D.s.

FWIW, that's my advice.
 
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rtliquid

Senior Member
I have "tennis elbow" in both arms, but it doesn't bother me while playing. I play in some pretty loud bands, and I derive my power mostly from my wrists and fingers. It seems to me that if you're using your elbows that much, you might already be at max volume and anything beyond is just choking the drums. What about heads/muffling? Maybe a change there will produce more volume/resonance/projection.
 

BeyondClarity

Junior Member
I had golfers elbow as well, lasted about 6 months. Left elbow. If I remember correctly it was worse if I bent my wrist and extended my arm.

Obviously first step would be to see a specialist. Physio's can be crap unless you find someone who has seen injuries like this.

Once I started lifting weights again my tendonitis cleared up. Mainly focused on light tricep work (tricep extensions, skull crushers). And probably some forearm work. I'm only giving my own anecdotal evidence here.. so take it with a grain of salt. But everytime I'm injured I find the fastest route to recovery is to always get back into some light strength training.
 

evogel

Senior Member
I actually currently have lateral epicondylitis. Tennis elbow, drummers elbow, whatever you want to call it. It's a benign name for a painful condition and it's also a fairly widespread condition.

My diagnosis was confirmed by MRI. You need to see a physician to diagnose it, and/or get some testing, as mentioned.

If proven, it requires rest, NSAID medication, a brace, a possible steroid injection into the joint, proper physical therapy, etc. It can take a long while to resolve and it can also reoccur. If it doesn't resolve, it can require surgery.
It's a benign name for a true, painful condition.

Don't attempt to diagnose or treat it yourself, especially if you care about drumming long term.

My day gig is health care so I've also seen many others with this condition.
 

EricT43

Senior Member
Thanks, everyone. I will make an appointment with my doctor as suggested - that is certainly solid advice.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
If proven, it requires rest, NSAID medication, a brace, a possible steroid injection into the joint, proper physical therapy, etc. It can take a long while to resolve and it can also reoccur. If it doesn't resolve, it can require surgery.
It's a benign name for a true, painful condition.

Don't attempt to diagnose or treat it yourself, especially if you care about drumming long term.

My day gig is health care so I've also seen many others with this condition.

Good advice here!
I did all of the above.
Mine took a very long time to resolve and also reoccurred.
NSAIDs were bothering my heart so I switched to high dose fish oil, and with lots of exercises like assisted eccentric wrist curls it finally went away, but it took a long time.
It was really annoying and really painful.
 
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