Shoulder Injury

mattmc3287

Active Member
For the last several months, I have had pain in my shoulder that has progressively gotten worse. It started with only hurting when I did certain things and moved in certain ways, but only sometimes. Then, it was pretty much every time I moved in those certain ways. Then, it was a constant dull pain that got worse when I moved in those certain ways. Went to the doctor today finally and found out I have two small tears in the muscles that support the rotator cuff. The supraspinatus (which is the one cause the most pain) and the subscapularis.

The timing of this injury coincides with me ramping up my practice frequency and duration. I am pretty certain this injury is drumming-related. Or, at the very least, the increase in drumming did not do me any favors. My question for you all is if any of you have had similar injuries and if you found that were cause by drumming. If so, what did you do to change your posture and technique so that you would not re-injure it? I refuse to stop practicing. I have made too many gains and improved my playing so much in the last year and I don't want to regress. But, I also don't want to injure myself to the point of not being able to play at all for a prolonged time.

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Paul Blood

Junior Member
I’d follow your doctors advice on this and when you’re cleared, study with a first rate teacher. Meanwhile, work those feet and listen, analyze and transcribe the music that interests you the most. I wish you a healthy recovery.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I notice this in my students when they are not using their muscles in the "correct order" as they transfer energy and power to the stick.

I am not a doctor, but used to also experience shoulder pain myself because I gripped too hard, did not use rebound properly, and moved more from my bicep first, rather than my wrist first As I relearned technique, the pain - from drumming - went away. I alo think some of the pain was a result of not sitting at the right height on my throne. I raised the throne years ago, and that also helped. I can now play a 3-4 hour show with no shoulder pain from playing.

I also have completely destroyed my shoulders from 30+ years of playing ice hockey, so I am constantly dealing with those issues as well, and the proper grip technique helps me get over that road block as well....
 

basset52

Senior Member
I had exactly the same injury, except I have one tear only. Currently seeing a physio and undertaking exercises prescribed by the physio. Nighttime is the worst as I can'y find a position without it hurting. The dull constant ache seems worse. I don't know if it is drumming related as I have a lot of scar tissue and arthritis from 50 years of baseball. It seems worse when I lift my arm and play the hats so I lowered my cymbals and use the lowered ride rather than the hats when it hurts a bit.I also have stopped daily practice except for some work with my left hand. ( my injury is R shoulder) I save myself for weekly band rehearsal. I can't stop playing as we have 3 gigs lined up in the next month or so. The daily exercises and massage by the physio on a weekly basis is improving mine.
 

aarono2690

Junior Member
Been having upper chest/shoulder pain and a tingling down to my fingers. Like you, it would come with certain motions, but now seems to come on more frequently. We’ve ruled out heart issues so going to do an EMG test next week to see if I pinched a nerve in my shoulder.

Like you I assume either my drumming or weight lifting caused this. I drum opened handed so I tend to use my left arm quite a bit.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Rotator cuff - if torn the only way out is surgery, but if you are a certain age that is at times not recommended. So only physio helps with that and I would NOT worsen it with over-drumming. Better to take time off and be able to still drum a year from now ....than not.
 
I'm no doctor, but I can tell you my experience. I had what sounds like the same injury about 8-10 years ago, before I started playing drums (probably from weight training and bad technique). The GP and surgeon told me that the only way to repair it was surgery. The pain was so bad that on weekends I strapped my arm to my torso with a belt to immobilise it (not convenient). I got put on a waiting list, and being a public health patient in Australia, this meant I waited for about 3 years. In the meantime, I went to physio and worked on building auxiliary muscles in my shoulder.

Sure enough, by the time my surgery was scheduled the pain wasn't there so I didn't go ahead. Basically the advice from the physio was to avoid exercise where you support weight with an arm that is fully extended horizontally.
 

mattmc3287

Active Member
Rotator cuff - if torn the only way out is surgery, but if you are a certain age that is at times not recommended. So only physio helps with that and I would NOT worsen it with over-drumming. Better to take time off and be able to still drum a year from now ....than not.
I don't have any shows booked with either band at the moment. So, just going to try and do as much active listening and charting for new songs as I can and play as little as possible while doing this litany of exercises the doc gave me. They are small tears so surgery isn't in the conversation at all at the moment. Hopefully, some rest and PT will do the trick!
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I did my rotator cuff last year thanks to years of weight lifting. Nothing too bad I just stopped bench pressing until it got better. I don't thing two years of lockdown and the gym being shut helped, I probably tried to do too much too soon.

The worst shoulder injury I ever had was when the chain snapped on my pushbike and threw me over the handlebars and I tore everything along my right collar bone but somehow didn't break it. That took months to heal and years for the aching to stop.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
Does your doctor recommending physical therapy at this point or at is he talking surgery and then physical therapy?
I was given a choice years ago of 70% either with the surgery, pain and suffering Etc or...
70% with physical therapy and no surgery.

That that was easy decision and without the surgery and 10 years later getting some additional physical therapy for a another issue which started me back doing my old PT for the shoulder again with 1 lb yoga balls... that was about two and a half years ago. My shoulders haven't felt this good in quite a while and I'm thinking 90% at this point.

Might be something to discuss with your doctor, or perhaps you're a already a candidate for the surgical orthoscopy and some PT to bring it back.
 

Fitzsy

Member
I have a full tear on my right shoulder. Rather than surgery, I did PT and the PT guided weight training to build up all the muscle around the injury and avoid surgery. I have now much less pain and am avoiding surgery successfully.
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
Been having upper chest/shoulder pain and a tingling down to my fingers. Like you, it would come with certain motions, but now seems to come on more frequently. We’ve ruled out heart issues so going to do an EMG test next week to see if I pinched a nerve in my shoulder.

Like you I assume either my drumming or weight lifting caused this. I drum opened handed so I tend to use my left arm quite a bit.
I have this same thing. I can actually make it happen if I turn a certain way. My doctor says its nerve compression from my spine. If I reach forward too fast (think punching, or striking a cymbal), I get a zap that travels down the length of my arm into my fingers.

I have gotten shorter by an inch since I stopped growing 3 decades ago. Apparently this is normal and part of my issue.
 

mattmc3287

Active Member
Does your doctor recommending physical therapy at this point or at is he talking surgery and then physical therapy?
I was given a choice years ago of 70% either with the surgery, pain and suffering Etc or...
70% with physical therapy and no surgery.

That that was easy decision and without the surgery and 10 years later getting some additional physical therapy for a another issue which started me back doing my old PT for the shoulder again with 1 lb yoga balls... that was about two and a half years ago. My shoulders haven't felt this good in quite a while and I'm thinking 90% at this point.

Might be something to discuss with your doctor, or perhaps you're a already a candidate for the surgical orthoscopy and some PT to bring it back.
Doctor gave me about a dozen stretches and some anti-inflammatories. Gonna do the at-home PT for 1 month and re-evaluate. I am one week in at the moment and starting to feel a difference so I'm very optimistic that surgery will not be necessary!
 

mattmc3287

Active Member
I have this same thing. I can actually make it happen if I turn a certain way. My doctor says its nerve compression from my spine. If I reach forward too fast (think punching, or striking a cymbal), I get a zap that travels down the length of my arm into my fingers.

I have gotten shorter by an inch since I stopped growing 3 decades ago. Apparently this is normal and part of my issue.
Nerve damage is a whole other ball game (I think anyway). I did something to my pinky a few years back when I was playing the cajon on a regular basis. Long story short, it hurts like a $%#$% when I play cajon so I don't play anymore and never will again. My very nice cajon is now a very nice piece of decor which is fine by me. It really is beautiful.
 

mattmc3287

Active Member
I did my rotator cuff last year thanks to years of weight lifting. Nothing too bad I just stopped bench pressing until it got better. I don't thing two years of lockdown and the gym being shut helped, I probably tried to do too much too soon.

The worst shoulder injury I ever had was when the chain snapped on my pushbike and threw me over the handlebars and I tore everything along my right collar bone but somehow didn't break it. That took months to heal and years for the aching to stop.
What exactly is a "push bike"? Do you push it? Doesn't that negate the whole idea of a bicycle? 🤔
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
Nerve damage is a whole other ball game (I think anyway). I did something to my pinky a few years back when I was playing the cajon on a regular basis. Long story short, it hurts like a $%#$% when I play cajon so I don't play anymore and never will again. My very nice cajon is now a very nice piece of decor which is fine by me. It really is beautiful.
I'm not sure if pinching is damage or not. Regardless, I dont have inflammation, rather compression. It may damage the nerve, I dunno. My doctor gave me a booklet of stretches to do as well.
 

aarono2690

Junior Member
I have this same thing. I can actually make it happen if I turn a certain way. My doctor says its nerve compression from my spine. If I reach forward too fast (think punching, or striking a cymbal), I get a zap that travels down the length of my arm into my fingers.

I have gotten shorter by an inch since I stopped growing 3 decades ago. Apparently this is normal and part of my issue.
What is the fix? Physical therapy?
 

basset52

Senior Member
Doctor gave me about a dozen stretches and some anti-inflammatories. Gonna do the at-home PT for 1 month and re-evaluate. I am one week in at the moment and starting to feel a difference so I'm very optimistic that surgery will not be necessary!
My Physio did the same - specific stretches and exercises with a rubber thero - band to build up the area around the injury. Coupled with his strong massage weekly, 4 weeks in and I'm improving each week. I would be very optimistic if I were you as well.
 
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