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Is my thumb and forearm pain due to drumming ?

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Practicing since : 2001
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I am a veteran drummer in a hard rock band and Im 51. I have gotten back into playing alot this last year. I gig alot too. I have been having severe achy pain in my mid forearem area on top midway between the wrist and the elbow for 4 days. Had shoulder pain too, like an autoimmune reaction I once had to tetanus. Forearm is worse if I try to grip things. Very tight, like top-part-of-the-arm carpal. Radiates up and down if I use it. It started up after a night at a club when I had 3.5 beers and felt icky the next day.Thinking tendonitis aggravated by dehydration or poor metabolite clearance from the muscles,but thought that tendonitis would be at the joint, like elbow, etc. Took some anti-inflams, but I am sensitive to them-had a gastric bypass, dont do advil unless desperate and in tiny dose. Do have some stuff that is supposed to enable you to take ibufrofen, misoproteranol or something liek that, had it for several years since bypass. I have some prednisone for emergencies Im asthmatic . I have got a huge gig Fri nite I CANNOT cancel--no sub available--what ya think? Ice? Heat? Couldn't be a clot or something worse like a compartment could it? I did not know you coul get in the middle of the lower arm pain like that, not at a regular "joint"
Posted Mon, 16 Apr 2012 in Environmental and Occupational Hazards
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 4 hours later

Thanks for writing to us.

Drumming is always associated with an overuse of arm and forearm. From your description it seems that you are having tendonitis most probably at the level of elbow something like a tennis elbow. The compartment syndrome is almost always associated with a history of trauma.

1. Since you are sensitive to analgesics, you can use only mild analgesics for it like acetaminophen.
2. Give rest to your arm.
3. Do a warm compress in the area to relieve pain and apply local analgesic ointment in the area.
4. Avoid doing any twisting screw like movement of your arm.
5. Apply a crepe bandage firm around your forearm.

If these simple measures do not provide any relief then it is best to consult an orthopaedician who after complete examination will be able to choose the best drugs for you.

I hope you have found my answer and recommendations to be both adequate and helpful. Should you have additional questions I am available to address them.

Wish you a speedy recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is my thumb and forearm pain due to drumming ? 5 hours later

Thanks Dr. Tayal,
Firgot to mention I have a similar but shrper pain in the thumb at the base (De Q'somethings tendonitis??) Do I need t0 immobilize it? Also I notice typing makes my arm worse (not doing much just with this question) IS that usual with tendonitis to be in multple saites? I am converned about acetomenophen, witht he liver history--any alternatives, maybe ayervedic, herbal or lat medicine? Thanks so much, Dr.
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 4 hours later

Thanks for writing back.

For the tendonitis at the thumb base, you need to immobilise it (wrist splint) also and warm fomentation will help there also. Typing makes the pain worse means it is actually tendonitis only.

It is not very common to have tendonitis at multiple sites but it does happen sometimes.

If you want to avoid acetaminophen then apply a local analgesic ointment at the site of pain.

Sincerely hope it will help.

Wishing you an early recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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