Topic: arthritis at base of both thumbs.  (Read 6812 times)

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Offline Hank Gagnon

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arthritis at base of both thumbs.
« on: March 07, 2010, 08:57 PM »
i am having a workers comp issue where i work. i have been a repairman and painter rehabbing vacant apts. for past 28yrs. i have been drumming for 6yrs. i play about 2-3.5hrs a week sometimes less.  my employer is trying to claim that my arthritis in the thumbs is from drumming and not painting,cleaning, sanding walls. i use a match grip when playing and i have good technique. workers comp did cover my carpal tunnel surgeries to my hands. any thoughts?
y orthopedic told me my cartilage is gone in my thumbs. i find it hard to believe drumming would cause this so fast and not 28yrs of painting,sanding and repair work.

Offline KevinD

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Re: arthritis at base of both thumbs.
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2010, 09:28 PM »
Hey Hank,

While I can't give you an informed medical opinion, I can relate to you my story which might help you in some way. My situation is somewhat opposite of yours.

I've been playing drums for about 33 years (with some time off here & there) At certain points I hit pretty hard but also worked to develop good technique. Over the years I never had any problems other than a few blisters.

But last May I moved into a house that was a fixer upper, I spent the summer and part of the fall rehabbing the house. Lots of demo work, lots of hammering, sanding, lots of painting, a couple days of using a jackhammer, and general wear and tear on my hands for about 12 to 14 hours per day.

By August I had developed some pretty bad tendonitis in both wrists and a constant numbness as well as occasional sharp pain in the two middle fingers of my right hand to the point where I couldn't sleep at night. I'm not a kid anymore, obviously I overdid it, but didn't have much choice in that matter. Some rest (and the completion of the rehab) fixed the problem though.

So I think the wear and tear of doing that kind of work is much more strenuous on the joints (especially over 28 years) than playing drums, even if you had the worst technique in the world.

That isn't to say that drumming couldn't give you some trouble, but depleting the cartilage in your thumbs in 6 years of playing less than 4 hours a week? I can't see how that can be blamed on drumming.

"If it weren't for Thomas Edison we'd all be watching TV in the dark." - Attributed to various people over the years.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: arthritis at base of both thumbs.
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2010, 09:34 PM »
Sounds like you need some serious legal advice.
My gut feeling is the painting is to blame.
On the other hand, I've been told to expect arthritis in my wrists and other drumming related joints - nothing more than a little stiffness some mornings at present thank goodness. But I've been playing long hours daily for upwards of 30+ years.

Offline Big Yummy

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Re: arthritis at base of both thumbs.
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2010, 07:25 AM »
Do you have access to a clinic that specializes in treating music related ailments?  (We have one in Toronto.)  If not, do you have access to a sports medicine clinic?  Any doctor with relevant training should be able to verify that your drumming isn't causing arthritis.
"Some people say I ain't so super groovy.  Why don't I leave the music alone?"  Black Uhuru

Offline Hank Gagnon

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Re: arthritis at base of both thumbs.
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2010, 08:58 PM »
my orthopedic had already told me it was work related. my employer doesn't agree. now were going to a formal hearing at a later date. i have aN ADVOCATE FROM workers comp advocate division who i have dealt wikth before. i'm wearing a glove like support on hands . gives  some support to thumbs. sometimes depending on task the thumb joint seems to slip.

Offline Hank Gagnon

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Re: arthritis at base of both thumbs.
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2010, 08:50 PM »
update. am now on modified work duty. orthopedic rehab has fitted me with some thumb splints that help stablelize the thumbs. operation on thumbs is still an option.


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