The long road back to drumming again

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've hinted at this in several threads, and I suppose future posts/threads might make more sense if I put this information somewhere:

My neck/shoulder issue has been an on going drama.

My right shoulder was injured when I was 14 in P.E. class, and again at 21 when a wave at the beach picked me and slammed into the ground on my right shoulder.

I've seen various people for it over the years, but for the most part, it didn't affect my drumming too much. About 8 years ago I tried a new chiropractor who really got me 100%.

Then last year, my drumming started going down hill. I party blamed on on having a desk job, two kids, and such. But the base of my neck kept hurting. I went back to my chiropractor, several times, but it didn't get better. Was it just a sign of age? Because the pain had been non-stop since my 42nd birthday.

I tried a few other people. I tried a guy who did cold laser therapy. It would feel better for a day, but the pain would come back. I tried to keep up recording, but takes were getting worse, not better.

So I made the decision to just stop trying to play through the pain, stop drumming and just let it heal.

Only, it didn't heal. Weeks, then months went by with no actual drumming, and the pain did not get any better. Recordings were put on hold. Jams and other playing opportunities were turned down.

I bought an expensive new bed that I couldn't really afford to see if that would help, and while it got rid of many other aches and pains associated with being over 40, the neck pain persisted.

I tried a new diet focused on green smoothies and more veggies to just inject my body with a ton more vitamins. I lost nearly 15 pounds, but the pain didn't go away.

I read that wheat glutten can aid inflammation, so I went on a glutten free diet to see if that would help.. Oddly, my asthma and allergies cleared up, but the pain in my neck didn't go away.

So after seeing multiple different chiropractors, I went to a Doctor of Sports Medicine who is a drummer himself, and has treated several well known name drummers. I hadn't gone to him previously because he's up in the next county, but I was getting desperate and it seemed worth the extra drive.

It took two weeks just to get an appointment. He did x-rays, but that didn't show anything. He ordered an MRI. It took two weeks to get the insurance company to approve the MRI. Then it took another two weeks to get another appointment with the Dr to go over the results of the MRI.

At this point I was convinced for nearly 6 weeks there was long term damage that would need surgery. I was fearful I just might never play the drums again.

And the MRI revealed that: there is nothing wrong with me.

Uh, what? What do you mean nothing wrong? Why I am in so much pain?

After another examination, we concluded my computer monitors sit to low for my height (I am 6'2") and sitting a desk all the time with regular height monitors has thrown off my posture, which is causing the pain.

So I immediately moved my monitors both at work and in my studio, on to shelves that are 9 inches above the desk. And the Dr prescribed physical therapy to get my posture straightened out.

I am grateful I don't need surgery, but wow, I'm upset that I've basically stopped drumming for almost a year over something so simple as the height of my computer monitors!

But now after several therapy sessions, I should be good to get back to the drum kit in a few days.

All that said, I really want to get a new drum kit that sits a bit lower, to reduce stress on my shoulders, and move to more playing from the wrists. Both my kits have power toms, so if I just went to traditional depths toms, that would do it. I will need to sell off one of my kits to raise some cash for another kit. I'm not selling the Signias because they have too much sentimental value, and they don't go for much on ebay. Which leaves the DW kit, which should still bring a decent amount on the used market. Oddly, my wife doesn't want me to sell the DW kit because she loves the color! HA!

On the movie music side, that's taken a turn.
The producer has said rather than have multiple people working on the music like last time, he's hiring just me to do it all the music. From the theme song, to the ending dance number, and all the score in between, it's all me Which means more money, but also a lot more work, on top of my day job. Which leaves little time to really get back to drumming until this movies comes out later this year. But I keep a practice pad next to my studio computer so I can sneak from rudiments in here and there.

Anyway, the moral of this long rambling mess of a story is:

Drumming aches and pains may be caused by something stupidly simple.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
That's good news that it was only your monitor height! Kind of a drag it took this long to figure it out but at least you did! I think the wife will understand losing the DW kit though.
 

poika

Silver Member
I've said it before - computer work is the root of all evil!

Seriously tho, these kind of problems can become huge issues so very cool for you to find someone who could help you out. Proper posture is everything!!

Good luck with getting back to business!
 

lowdowner

Senior Member
I had a similar issue.

Working at a computer up to 8 hours a day some days I didn't link the neck pain I was starting to get with that at all! I turned out that my monitor was at a slight angle and i wasn't facing it straight on all the time. Over the months and years this did some (fortunately reversible damage) to my neck and shoulders in some way.

Soon after realising this (after many years) I changed my monitor position and within weeks everything started to improve and is now 'normal' again.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Great news!!!! I've had some bad neck pain for a good while. Unfortunately there is a root cause that can't be fixed, but posture is such a contributor to these things. I need to make changes too, & your post has encouraged me to do something about my computer setup, so thank you!!!!
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Nice bit of blundering there, DED :) Yes, RSI and postural issues with computer work are a common problem. I'm scaling back because my right hand is suffering mouse pain (and the notion of having a life).

Another trap for middle aged people is wearing glasses with variable focus lenses. A friend recently noticed that I was tilting my head back at the PC - that was to read the screen more clearly through the lower reading portion of my lenses. I've had a tight neck and shoulders of late and now need to buy some computer specs.

Anyway, your time away from drums was well spent. You have a blog and picked up soundtrack work - talk about turning a lemon into lemonade!
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I notice all the bloody computer related injuries seem to be occurring amongst DW's most active too!! Anyone done a study on the link between RSI and persistent rambling on a drum forum before?

Good to hear you're back on the horse Drum. Like riding a bike mate.....you might get a bit of a wobble up, but you never forget how to turn the pedals.
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
Sounds like a crappy journey to have had to endure. I firmly believe, though I dont subscribe to it, that if we all went for a 5 mile walk every day and did 25 push ups and sit ups that we would all be inmuch better health over all.

We search for things "wrong" with us and its usually diet and exercise related. Just went mostly gluten free, which I dont think is the solution to everything, but I do feel better. I just wanted to start over with my diet and everything and I have learned a great deal about my body and how it reacts to certain foods.

Try giving up caffeine for 6 months or so. That may help.

You could also get someone to cut the power toms down (no reason to keep an invaluable/unplayable kit) to better sizes.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
Wow can I relate to all of this in some way. I also sit at a computer for up to 10 hours a day. I suffer from a continuous tight neck & shoulders as a result. I do have a stability ball I keep in my office which I use throughout the day to stretch and it does help immensely

I'm not a tall person by any means and my monitor isn't too height adjustable. I've been considering mounting it on a wall for flexibility purposes and may do so.


Nice bit of blundering there, DED :) Yes, RSI and postural issues with computer work are a common problem. I'm scaling back because my right hand is suffering mouse pain (and the notion of having a life).

Another trap for middle aged people is wearing glasses with variable focus lenses. A friend recently noticed that I was tilting my head back at the PC - that was to read the screen more clearly through the lower reading portion of my lenses. I've had a tight neck and shoulders of late and now need to buy some computer specs.

Anyway, your time away from drums was well spent. You have a blog and picked up soundtrack work - talk about turning a lemon into lemonade!
Those variable focus lenses do make in challenging. I should check out those computer specs.
 

MaryO

Platinum Member
What a journey! But at least in the end it was something "stupid" and not something more serious. Hope it all comes together for you now!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Wow Ian I had no idea...who would have guessed that right? I would think massage would be helpful too. I'm glad you laid your story out, I'm sure others can benefit from it.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've said it before - computer work is the root of all evil!!
Yes, it really is.

Great news!!!! I've had some bad neck pain for a good while. Unfortunately there is a root cause that can't be fixed, but posture is such a contributor to these things. I need to make changes too, & your post has encouraged me to do something about my computer setup, so thank you!!!!
No, thank you Andy!!!! You pushed me to keep going when I was on the verge of giving up.

I'm scaling back because my right hand is suffering mouse pain (and the notion of having a life).

You have a blog and picked up soundtrack work - talk about turning a lemon into lemonade!
I got rid of my mouse a while back on my work computer and bought a touch pad.
I plan to do the same on my studio mac, but I need to upgrade my OS first.

I notice all the bloody computer related injuries seem to be occurring amongst DW's most active too!! Anyone done a study on the link between RSI and persistent rambling on a drum forum before?
Yes, posting online all the time doesn't help.

Good to hear you're back on the horse Drum. Like riding a bike mate.....you might get a bit of a wobble up, but you never forget how to turn the pedals.
Hopefully! I wanted to revamp my playing anyway, now I have no choice! haha.

Sounds like a crappy journey to have had to endure. I firmly believe, though I dont subscribe to it, that if we all went for a 5 mile walk every day and did 25 push ups and sit ups that we would all be inmuch better health over all.

We search for things "wrong" with us and its usually diet and exercise related.
I agree! For the last year and 1/2 I've been riding a bike to work. It's 7 miles each way. 70 miles a week. I work out in the morning. I keep small weights at my desk for mid-day minie-workouts just to keep the blood circulating.

But the sitting at a desk all day is still a killer!

Just went mostly gluten free, which I dont think is the solution to everything, but I do feel better. I just wanted to start over with my diet and everything and I have learned a great deal about my body and how it reacts to certain foods.
I meant to only go glutten free as a temporary measure, but yes, I feel so much better, that I'm sticking with it.

Try giving up caffeine for 6 months or so. That may help.
I've considered it. But I don't smoke. I've been done drugs. I barely drink anymore. I don't eat junk food. I don't drink soda. I've cut out sugar and artificial sweeteners. I've given up all wheat products. I can't wrap my head around giving up coffee too, it's the last little vice I have left!

You could also get someone to cut the power toms down (no reason to keep an invaluable/unplayable kit) to better sizes.
I've considered it. I have made a thread about this concept a while back.

Thanks for the comments!
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
I just tried it all to see what would happen and where I would be without it all. Caffeine was the worst (I drank less than 2 smalls a day) and had headaches for almost 2 weeks which was a real eye opener for me as far as how much my body depended on it.

ANyway. Find a way to play. Even if its just kick/snare hats. Get a small kick (maybe make one from a floor tom you have?) and set it up very low. Use the method Anthony describes where you close your eyes and hit where you wold expect the tom to be and then set it up there. Remote mount your kick with a double pedal like abe laboriel jr.. I would also try a back on your throne (maybe before any of the above). Whatever it takes.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
That's good news that it was only your monitor height! Kind of a drag it took this long to figure it out but at least you did! I think the wife will understand losing the DW kit though.
Thanks. I hope your carpel tunnel clears up too so we can both get back what it we do.

I had a similar issue.

Working at a computer up to 8 hours a day some days I didn't link the neck pain I was starting to get with that at all! I turned out that my monitor was at a slight angle and i wasn't facing it straight on all the time. Over the months and years this did some (fortunately reversible damage) to my neck and shoulders in some way.

Soon after realising this (after many years) I changed my monitor position and within weeks everything started to improve and is now 'normal' again.
I am glad to know I am not the only one!

Anyway, your time away from drums was well spent. You have a blog and picked up soundtrack work - talk about turning a lemon into lemonade!
Well, neither of those had anything to do with time away. But at least getting the movie gig meant I would remain close to music, even if it's not drumming per se.

Wow can I relate to all of this in some way. I also sit at a computer for up to 10 hours a day.
In retrospect, it was going from 8 hour days to 10 hours that did it.
Although I suspect years of sitting on the couch looking down at a laptop started the process.

What a journey! But at least in the end it was something "stupid" and not something more serious. Hope it all comes together for you now!
Quite a journey. I could have done with the MRI! That was not a pleasent experience.


Wow Ian I had no idea...who would have guessed that right? I would think massage would be helpful too. I'm glad you laid your story out, I'm sure others can benefit from it.
Yeah, I was trying to not make a big deal out of it, but I did think others in the future might benefit from the story

Oh, I forgot to mention in the OP I did try your Borax do. Yes, you Larry are a part of this journey. I can't say it did anything for me, but that may just because I was "re-injuring" my neck every time I sat down behind a computer.

I just tried it all to see what would happen and where I would be without it all. Caffeine was the worst (I drank less than 2 smalls a day) and had headaches for almost 2 weeks which was a real eye opener for me as far as how much my body depended on it
I know I would be better off without it, but I can't imagine subjecting my wife and kids and co-workers to me going though with drawls. I'm pretty nasty when I don't get my coffee.

. I would also try a back on your throne (maybe before any of the above). .
I have a back rest. I've been using since the mid 90's. I can't imagine why anyone would a throne without a back rest. But thank you for the ideas!
 
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