Tennis Elbow

Ive had two injuries on my right Elbow in the past three years... Repetitive motion. I had to stop playing for 18 months . My Ortho gave me a great stretch called the waiter tip ... I wear an Elbow Brace, and i am adopting a softer hitting style... helping but not totally stopping the pain..
those help, but im wondering if anybody has something else to try.. TIA
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
I've had tennis elbow issues for the last 3-4 years (I believe due to some less than ideal technical issues that eventually caught up with me), and it's been frustrating trying to figure out how to heal. I did see a physical therapist for a few visits, and that helped. Obviously one of the most important things is trying to figure out what you're doing that's causing it and modify your approach; but even if you're able to figure that out now, it might not be enough to heal the damage that got you to this point. Here are the things that I have done that have helped me significantly (numbers 2 and 3 were also given to me by the physical therapist):

1. The "Tyler Twist" with a red or green Theraband flex bar--3 sets of 15, once or twice a day. There was a study that was done that showed that most of the tennis elbow sufferers who did this experienced significant reduction in pain after doing it every day for 6-8 weeks. Apparently this exercise focuses on eccentric strengthening of the forearm muscles, which has been shown to be most effective for healing damaged tendons. Here are a couple of videos demonstrating it:



2. Stretching--like those demonstrated in this video:

3. Weightlifting--the three exercises demonstrated here:
Also I would do wrist pronation exercises, biceps curls, and triceps exercises with dumbbells.

4. Self massage--this video has some helpful examples of this:

Additionally, prior to having the tennis elbow crop up, I had some other hand issues, and I found these exercises quite helpful. I'm not sure how specifically helpful they are to tennis elbow, but you might want to give them a shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdD7CgN5FGg&t=316s

Doing all these helped me immensely, and after doing all of them (especially the Tyler Twist), my pain and most of my discomfort went away. It took about a good 8 weeks of doing the Tyler Twist exercises every single day before I really noticed significant results, and this was after I'd already been to physical therapy and had been doing stretches and the weight lifting exercises for at least a few months. I've recently gone back to doing the Tyler Twist exercises, because I still feel some discomfort in my arm, although it's nothing like it was 3-4 years ago when it was really interfering with my drumming. It's hard to know if I've solved the technical issues that caused my problem in the first place, but I just still have lingering damage that needs to heal, or if I'm still causing more problems from the way I'm drumming. At any rate, the above exercises have helped a lot, although as you can see, this can be a long road to recovery, depending on how significant your case is. I hope this helps.
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
Great exercises! thank you. What kind of technique problem did you have? that may be an issue with me as well
Well, I'm not 100% sure, but this is my best guess: I think a lot of it came from doing gigs where I was called upon to play up tempo jazz ride patterns and/or a lot of shuffle ride patterns (something I've done a lot over the last 20+ years). Even though I try to practice to build up the chops for this kind of stuff, sometimes on the gig I think I ended up "muscling it out" too much when my chops weren't up to snuff but I was still trying to play the patterns as well as I could. Specifically, I learned a few years ago that I had developed (what I think is) a bad habit of bending my thumb when playing those patterns--I think I was unconsciously using my thumb to help motivate the stick to try to compensate for the fact that I didn't have enough finger strength to play what I wanted to play. My guess is that over 20+ years of doing this I overstressed my muscles and tendons, leading to the dreaded tennis elbow. The sad thing is that your body will compensate for bad technique for a while, and you may not notice it until a fair amount of damage has already been done, and THEN you feel the pain (when the muscles that picked up the slack can't deal with the load any longer). At that point, the road to recovery can be long, because you have to heal tissues that have been damaged over a long period of time.

So, in a general sense, I think my issues derive from gripping the sticks too tightly and not relaxing enough, and tensing up to play stuff that I couldn't play any other way. I've spent a lot of time and focus over the last few years trying to fix my faulty technique with my right hand; I avoid as much as possible using my thumb like I used to, and focus on using my fingers instead. I think I've made huge strides in this, and I can see and hear the results. But it's been a very long road, requiring a lot of patience, and I'm still not done with it.

Of course, this is mostly conjecture on my part, and perhaps a trained teacher and/or a medical professional would say my self-diagnosis is incorrect, but what I've stated above is my best guess at the technical source of my problems.
 

KenDoken

Junior Member
I've had classic tennis elbow but this mostly came from injury followed by overuse. It comes back when I'm busy with work but drumming does not make it worse

I treat it with press-ups on the backs of my hands, eating bone and colagen rich food like fish, fowl, stews, pies and broths etc and stinging nettle agitation but rest seems to be the best cure

By the way, I'm an idiot so use my "cures" at your own risk
 
Well, I'm not 100% sure, but this is my best guess: I think a lot of it came from doing gigs where I was called upon to play up tempo jazz ride patterns and/or a lot of shuffle ride patterns (something I've done a lot over the last 20+ years). Even though I try to practice to build up the chops for this kind of stuff, sometimes on the gig I think I ended up "muscling it out" too much when my chops weren't up to snuff but I was still trying to play the patterns as well as I could. Specifically, I learned a few years ago that I had developed (what I think is) a bad habit of bending my thumb when playing those patterns--I think I was unconsciously using my thumb to help motivate the stick to try to compensate for the fact that I didn't have enough finger strength to play what I wanted to play. My guess is that over 20+ years of doing this I overstressed my muscles and tendons, leading to the dreaded tennis elbow. The sad thing is that your body will compensate for bad technique for a while, and you may not notice it until a fair amount of damage has already been done, and THEN you feel the pain (when the muscles that picked up the slack can't deal with the load any longer). At that point, the road to recovery can be long, because you have to heal tissues that have been damaged over a long period of time.

So, in a general sense, I think my issues derive from gripping the sticks too tightly and not relaxing enough, and tensing up to play stuff that I couldn't play any other way. I've spent a lot of time and focus over the last few years trying to fix my faulty technique with my right hand; I avoid as much as possible using my thumb like I used to, and focus on using my fingers instead. I think I've made huge strides in this, and I can see and hear the results. But it's been a very long road, requiring a lot of patience, and I'm still not done with it.

Of course, this is mostly conjecture on my part, and perhaps a trained teacher and/or a medical professional would say my self-diagnosis is incorrect, but what I've stated above is my best guess at the technical source of my problems.
I over grip at times too.... my wife noticed it years ago. But like a dumbass i ignored her, lol
 

BGDurham

Well-known Member
In actual tennis tennis elbow is often relieved by switching to a racquet that is less stiff and/or switching to strings that are less stiff. The benefit is less impact shock going up the arm. I wonder if there are drumsticks that are somehow less stiff and/or made to absorb more shock. Maybe the brand Ahead makes some.

Or try switching your arms' work by playing open-handed.
 

Johnny2u2

Active Member
Ive had two injuries on my right Elbow in the past three years... Repetitive motion. I had to stop playing for 18 months . My Ortho gave me a great stretch called the waiter tip ... I wear an Elbow Brace, and i am adopting a softer hitting style... helping but not totally stopping the pain..
those help, but im wondering if anybody has something else to try.. TIA

I know the feeling. Arthritis in my hands among other places makes it a challenge sometimes. I flashback to the Charlie Sheen movie Platoon when the seargent tells the wounded guy “TAKE THE PAIN!”
 
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