“Well, in my neck I have so much inflammation from headbanging that it’s producing this fluid. And that stuff is hardening, so my neck is starting to fuse together. In the morning when I get up, if I don’t crack my neck, my range of motion is about 25 percent. And during the course of the day, I probably crack my neck 100 times. It’s terrible for me, I know that, but the alternative is what?”
On July 30, Mustaine’s pain management doctor gave him a cortisone steroidal injection to alleviate the pain. It was the first in a series of procedures he will undergo in the foreseeable future. “It was kind of like an epidural, and it worked really well,” Mustaine says. “We’re having things done that will be the least invasive to my back and we’re going to try everything before we go to [full-blown surgery]. I don’t want to get fixed, I just want to stop hurting. I know I’m going to be uncomfortable for the rest of my life, and I’m OK with that. I just want to stop the pain.”
Mustaine is especially frustrated by his back problems, because, for years, he has lived a healthy lifestyle that he had hoped would help him avoid his current predicament.
“I still do everything I can,” he says. “I work out seven days a week, I do yoga, I do martial arts, I do all kinds of exercises for my back. I take nutrients. I’ve gone to a life extension clinic to get my back healed. You name it. This is just stuff that happens when you get a little older and you experience nerve damage. It has a lasting effect. Now granted, I don’t understand for the life of me how I healed when they said I wasn’t going to be able to play guitar again, and I’ve actually healed and play better now than before I got hurt. So if that’s the case I would recommend that everybody go out and fall asleep on their arm. But it’s not supposed to be like that.”
Contrapuntist mentioned in his previous post about healthcare that I have also suffered a musical injury. Now, I can’t claim that mine is anything like Dave Mustaine’s. But I’ve had a long road back, and there are still days where I don’t feel so great. There were even days where I wondered why I was still putting myself through the rehabilitation process. It can be slow and frustrating, but for those of us who are musicians, it goes to show how we’ll do just about anything to keep on playing.