Ailments of Aging Rock Stars: Phil Collins Leaving Music-NOT!

Citing health issues, Genesis drummer and front man, Phil Collins has decided to leave the music industry. Collins told FHM:

“I don’t really belong to that world and I don’t think anyone’s going to miss me. I’m much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely.”

The 13 time Grammy winner underwent surgery in April 2009 to repair a dislocated neck vertebrae. Since the surgery, the singer still has numbness in his hands and is unable to hold drumsticks. On the  Genesis website in 2009, Phil said:

“There isn’t any drama regarding my ‘disability’ and playing drums.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.”

Apparently things did not improve, People magazine reports: ” His back hurts from a dislocated vertebra. He’s lost some of his hearing. Nerve damage makes it hard for him to hold his drumsticks.”

The spine of the neck consists of 7 cervical vertebrae – the bony structures that supports the head and protect the spinal cord that passes through them. Between the vertebrae are cushions made of cartilage, called the intervertebral discs,which keep the spine flexible and act as shock absorbers. Strong fibrous tissue, called ligaments and bony protrusions of the vertebrae called facets further stabilize the spine. The spinal nerves pass through a second space, called foramen, between the vertebrae on each side of the spine, out to the neck and upper body.

A cervical vertebral dislocation refers to the displacement of one neck vertebrae in relationship to the ones above and/or below it. Disruption of the surrounding ligaments, either by trauma or degeneration of the discs, allow the vertebrae to move their positions. If the shift is slight, it is called a subluxation. If a greater shift occurs, it is called a dislocation. The most common place for cervical dislocation is between C5 and C6. Vertebral shift can cause pressure on the nerves coming through the foramen, leading to symptoms of pain, numbness, or weakness in the shoulder, arm, wrist or hand. This is called cervical radiculopathy.

For more information about cervical vertebral disease, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

UPDATE March 8, 2011

Contrary to earlier reports, People magazine reports that Collins is NOT quitting music, but is taking a long hiatus:

For now, the father of five, who lives in Switzerland, is contentedly enjoying his break. “I’m spending a lot of time at home with my kids,” he said last fall. “That’s really what I want to do and take some real serious time off.”

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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