Collins’ drumming injury explained

On September 10, 2009 the Daily Mail (UK) reported that drummer/singer Phil Collins can no longer play the drums because of a spine injury. The article and dozens of others around the web stated that Collins could no longer drum because of a spine injury he has suffered because of the position he sits in while drumming. Collins has been quoted as saying he can’t even hold his sticks and at one point even attempted to tape them to his hands.

While these articles made the situation sound dire and as if Phil Collins suffered some major disability because of drumming Phil had this to say on the Genesis website:

“…Somehow during the last Genesis tour I dislocated some vertebrae in my upper neck and that affected my hands.  After a successful operation on my neck, my hands still can’t function normally.
Maybe in a year or so it will change, but for now it is impossible for me to play drums or piano.  I am not in any ‘distressed’ state, stuff happens in life.”

Clearly, the situation may have been overblown but in either situation an injury from drumming seems to be very rare and unusual. There have been no official reports of what specifically about drumming caused the injury though the quote gives the impression it may have been his posture while sitting behind the drum set.

Dr. Jessica Kuryla of of West Side Chiropractic says, “any type of repetitive motion that is done to the spine will cause stress to the spine in some way. For example, the constant sitting in a hunched over position and the repetitive movement of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders will eventually take a toll on the spine. Remember every bone in your body is connected to another, so affecting one will cause a chain reaction and affect others.  Also, when it comes to specifically drumming in a band of some sort, outside factors such as lots of travel, lack of sleep, and overall stress, can also be factor in the overall strain that may be put on the body.” Remember, while you’re drumming you should be as concerned with your posture and a warm-up or stretch as you are about your hands and arms and how they relate to striking the drum with your stick.

In the entertainment industry or in any field where you would be concerned with public opinion you may release information that would have you seen in the best possible condition. While it may not be entirely our business what happened to Phil Collins or the exact reasons for his inability to drum, it can be assumed that his statement about healing within a year may not be accurate. Collins may be putting the sticks down for good.

No matter his condition it is unfortunate that it has happened to a musician, best known for Genesis, who has performed for over 40 years and has even scored music for Disney films, voiced animated characters in others.