Forearm pain! Drumbing related???

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by John Bigboote, Jan 22, 2013.


  1. John Bigboote

    John Bigboote

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Okay, so a few months ago I decided to re-entertain my lifelong love of drumbing, perhaps to gig with other projects (I played as a teenager, and I've seen/played with enough drumbers to know that, while I would never be great, I could certainly hold my own in a cover/tribute band situation).

    So after working on rudiments etc. on my own, I started working with a pretty well known and respected teacher in the area. Of course, the first thing he did was "fix" my grip. Where I had always used a "fulcrum" grip that's long on the thumb/forefinger, he worked on getting me to use a "screwdriver" grip where all four fingers, and particularly the pinkie, contact the stick, taking much of the pressure off the thumb and using more of the large muscles of the forearm.

    Important to stress here: I'm *not* criticizing or questioning his knowledge, or his skills. He's a hell of a drummer, and has been doing this for nearly half a century (!).

    So for the better part of a month I practiced rudiments and focused on that grip. It was very different from what came "naturally" to me, but I worked on it. And I showed some improvement. But I never had any issues while practicing, with fatigue or pain.

    Still, I noticed *during that time* (and not while I was practicing) that I was developing a pain/weakness in my forearms, particularly noticeable when grasping and pulling things (like plugs, or blankets). Nothing major, just annoying and odd, and I didn't think about it too much.

    On NYE I played a full night (bass), and at the end of the evening I could barely use my hands, particularly my left, if it meant grasping anything (lifting gear, moving lights, etc.). My forearms hurt like hell. And since then, it hasn't gotten any better.

    I cancelled my drumbing lessons for January, and have hardly touched the bass or drums since then. Our project is breaking in a new guitard, so practicing really isn't too necessary for me. So it's been easy to give my arms all the rest and time to recover they could possibly want. But the problem has persisted. We had our first full rehearsal since NYE last night, and my left forearm hurts a bunch again today.

    Honestly, although it seems obvious, I didn't think it was related to the drumbing. For one, my forearms never got sore when practicing. Second, this doesn't feel like ordinary muscle strain or overuse. Third, it's not getting better. It took me a while to figure out how to describe it: it feels a lot like shinsplints, but of my forearms rather than my shins.

    Anyone playing both drums and bass? Have you found that playing both causes these kinds of problems? I'm really baffled by this because, as I said, practicing/playing either has never caused problems. And this isn't getting better; I would think all the rest I've taken would allow time for it to heal.

    So you know, the pain is on the outside of my forearm (imagine you're riding a motorcycle; this would be the very outside edge of the forearm), from about midway up to the bone of the elbow. The inside, including my wrist, is perfectly fine, so I don't imagine this is in any way related to CTS.

    Experienced and/or medical expert and/or PT thoughts welcome.

    -jb
     

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