Hey fellow Rush-heads, David here…
For those of you who have been around for a while, you know that, every band I’ve been in since I’ve had kids, I always make sure we take Thanksgiving through the first of the year off from gigs. This is family time, and the overhead from gigs just takes too much of a toll on me.
But heading towards the end of this year really sucked; the last two gigs were canceled so we ended up starting the break way earlier than intended. But for me, it turned out to be a much needed break.
I’ve had soreness in my forearms for as long as I can remember, just part of playing drums. But it got much worse this last August. My family doctor kept telling me it was lateral epicondylitis, or tennis-elbow, and I needed to let it rest.
For those of you who, like me until recently, don’t really know what tennis-elbow is, it is repetitive stress injury from overuse of the forearm muscles. There are small tears in the fibers of the tendon that attach the forearm muscle to the bone. Drummers are naturally quite susceptible to this injury, and in my case, by continuing to play, I made it much worse, to the point that I went to see an orthopedist in November. His conclusion was that the tennis-elbow had so inflamed the forearm muscle that it had caused the muscle to seize on the radial-nerve in my forearm (radial tunnel syndrome), and thus the pain had gotten much worse. My first thought was surgery, but fortunately he suggested we try physical therapy. So I went 3-times a week for a couple weeks and had someone torture me by rubbing my forearm right where the nerve was compressed (yes, it hurt like hell, but I had vicodin to take before each session). During this time, I was not to play the drums, and I did not.
In early December I went back to the orthopedist and he was able to determine that the physical therapy had worked and the muscle had released the nerve, so the pain now was from the tennis-elbow. He gave me an injection directly into the elbow-joint to help the heal the tears in the tendon. This, my friends, was one of the worst things I have ever had done to me on purpose!!! And I am still off the drums for at least another 3-weeks, when I will re-visit the orthopedist for an update, just after the first of the year.
I am really looking forward to the new year and my return to playing the drums. I always say that there are few things I enjoy more than playing the drums and I explained this to the doctors and that it was very important to me to be able to play pain-free. I am hopeful that all will work out in the end.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
P.S. One of the things I am often asked about my drumkit is, “…how much did all that cost???” So I am going back through all of my receipts and putting together a price list for my kit…I’ll try to get it out before Christmas so that it can help with some last minute gift ideas…