Carpal Tunnel

HeadRush

Senior Member
over my years of drumming, I have developed carpal tunnel because as a young drummer I used terrible technique. This was also brought on from playing other instruments like guitar. I guess a reason I used bad technique was that I had no formal training at all. I would like to know if anyone else has had problems with your hands or carpal tunnel brought on by drumming or something else?
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
over my years of drumming, I have developed carpal tunnel because as a young drummer I used terrible technique. This was also brought on from playing other instruments like guitar. I guess a reason I used bad technique was that I had no formal training at all. I would like to know if anyone else has had problems with your hands or carpal tunnel brought on by drumming or something else?
I've been drumming for a little over two years and after my first year, I developed severe tendonosis (chronic tendonitis) due to several hours of drumming everyday w/ so-so technique.

I went to physical therapy and they used a technique called ASTYM - which gives IMMEDIATE results. It's based on the ancient Chinese practice of Gua Sha. This applies to any type of RSI - including carpal tunnel.

In a nutshell, you lubricate your arms w/ some type of lotion or cocoa butter and "scrape" in a linear motion with a plastic tool.

I can't rave enough about it, it allowed me to go home and start playing again after the first session. The pain was nearly gone immediately after he was done.

It has taken the past year to improve my technique to a point where I no longer need anything and the pain is about 95% gone. For a while, however - I just did this to my own arms with Gua Sha tools I bought off of eBay, whenever the pain came back. It was simple enough to learn from watching, after a few therapy sessions.

Gary Husband posted here about another method called "Active Release Therapy". I don't know anything about it but it's another non-surgical option.
 

HeadRush

Senior Member
oh thank you
I was wondering if I was the only one who had problems haha
I will be sure to look into that method because surgery is definitely out of the question
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
Just out of curiosty, how come the sugical procedure was not an option for you guys? A bandmate of mine recently developed it, but almost immediately got the operation booked - 2 months later, he's free of it. It's apparently a very minor operation.

Edit - I forgot zambizzi has tendonitis - sugery doesn't look so minor there!
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Edit - I forgot zambizzi has tendonitis - sugery doesn't look so minor there!
Yeah, even the doctor told me that they avoid surgery 9x out of 10 because of the resulting buildup in scar tissue. It could make things worse than they already are, permanently.

It's going away and I still practice at least 2 hrs. a day. I've learned some patience and measure progress month-by-month now.
 

HeadRush

Senior Member
Just out of curiosty, how come the sugical procedure was not an option for you guys? A bandmate of mine recently developed it, but almost immediately got the operation booked - 2 months later, he's free of it. It's apparently a very minor operation.

Edit - I forgot zambizzi has tendonitis - sugery doesn't look so minor there!
I know a few people who have actually had procedures done and they did absolutely nothing to help. and plus I like to avoid surgery as much as possible considering I hate the thought of being put on any kind of pain killer.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Since tendonitis is caused by your muscles retaining tension for long periods, it's best addressed by halting and redirecting the subconcious thoughts that are telling those muscles to do that. I mean, who's in charge of the body here?
Actually, I've quite recently discovered EFT, which is an amazingly simple, useful and most importantly free tool which can be used to solve almost any physical or emotional problem. I heartily recommend it to you, my friends!
 

Drumsword

Pioneer Member
I had the surgery, Mine was so bad I couldn't hold eating utensils half the time but I had cts for 15 years.Mine is 100% better. Haven't had a single sympton in 5 years now.

And Now am heading in for rotator cuff surgery........ Yayy.
 
I had a skateboarding accident a little over a year ago now and broke the scaphoid of my left wrist. Its a little tiny bone in the middle of that cluster that allows your wrist to bend up and down. Supposedly its the hardest to break and the hardest to heal, and I cracked it clean in half.

Had to wear a thumbsplint and an Ace wrap for two or three weeks, followed by a surgery to put a pin and a wire into my wrist to hold it all together, then a hard cast and stitches for a couple of months and another splint for a couple of months. Post-surgery was way more painful than the broken wrist (Percocet and Vicodin helped a lot), but the other option was to wear a cast for 9-12 months and hope that it healed right, which it probably wouldn't have.

By now, I've regained the muscle and control in my left hand that I lost by not using it at all for all that time, and most of the mobility in all of those fingers. My wrist will probably never flex as far as it did, and my thumb lost about 30% of its range of motion, but I can still play. It only starts to hurt after about 2 or 3 weeks of tour.
 

HeadRush

Senior Member
problems

my left arm has begun to really kill me.
but this is actually because of playing the trumpet. today I was having major problems and shooting pain with it.
but it's luckily not affecting my drumming.... yet

I'll be sure to get it checked out as soon as I can
 

grannydrums

Senior Member
my teacher suggested using a power ball before playing to warm all the muscles up, I bought the one with a light cos it looks fun. It has a counter so of course the rest of the band all have a go to see who can do best. The guitar player says he thinks it helps him loosen up. It is advertised as being good for carpel tunnel
 

HeadRush

Senior Member
well I guess I don't have carpal tunnel
it turns out it is tendinitis
and even though it doesn't hurt to drum at all or after drumming, I have terrible (I mean absolutely excruciating) pain whenever I play the trumpet
I know that my tendinitis was brought on by drumming long ago but I just am not sure if my drumming is furthering my problem. (keep in mind that I have completely changed my technique and suffer no problems during or after drumming)
I'm just extremely worried that maybe I should stop drumming or I'll make the problem worse.

thank you
-Erik
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Here is what you have to look forward to when you get older. Arthritis. I have experimented with different things and found the following to help. I use to use heavy sticks on my practice pads thinking it would help to get stronger. However after a few weeks my hands were killing me. I also found out that the tighter my snare head the more my hands hurt. So for practice I loosen the snare head and use lighter sticks on the practice pad. Also I will wash or soak my hands in hot water to loosen things up before I play and found that has helped.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Here is what you have to look forward to when you get older. Arthritis. I have experimented with different things and found the following to help. I use to use heavy sticks on my practice pads thinking it would help to get stronger. However after a few weeks my hands were killing me. I also found out that the tighter my snare head the more my hands hurt. So for practice I loosen the snare head and use lighter sticks on the practice pad. Also I will wash or soak my hands in hot water to loosen things up before I play and found that has helped.
Your advice is good advice.

Those weighted sticks can be dangerous, though I am using them again; but I don't use my hands at all to generate any of the exercise. Actually, my hands hurt now, so your post may be a godsend.

I was working out a lot a few years ago and my hands started to get really sore. I got some advice from a guy on the street selling books on arthritis. It turned out it was my back that was out of whack. I think I have come to know when enough is enough. If I spend five or six hours playing in a day, I can feel it. I don't do that as much any more. It's also what you are doing for five hours. If your playing constantly at 220 BPM, you may want to slow down. :)
 

joshisaces

Gold Member
Here is what you have to look forward to when you get older. Arthritis. I have experimented with different things and found the following to help. I use to use heavy sticks on my practice pads thinking it would help to get stronger. However after a few weeks my hands were killing me. I also found out that the tighter my snare head the more my hands hurt. So for practice I loosen the snare head and use lighter sticks on the practice pad. Also I will wash or soak my hands in hot water to loosen things up before I play and found that has helped.
hm, I think I'm gonna try that!
 

spirit

Senior Member
I have had the same for years- but I cant put this down to drumming as it started after I used a hand prunner to trim down a long overgrown hedge- the day after my right hand was locked up when I woke and I had shooting pains going up my arm when I used the hand at all.
Simple actions like filling the caar with petrol would cause so much pain- I eventually had to have steriod injections at each joint where the fingers meet the palm of the hand- very painful!
this stopped it for about 2 years- I have had repeat injections every couple of years as it returns.
I think drumming makes it worse on occasion, I find when I do three or four back to back gigs it will flare up. I have been offered an operation with no promise of success and a risk of nerve damage- so as youd expect- I declined!
 

HeadRush

Senior Member
I have had the same for years- but I cant put this down to drumming as it started after I used a hand prunner to trim down a long overgrown hedge- the day after my right hand was locked up when I woke and I had shooting pains going up my arm when I used the hand at all.
Simple actions like filling the caar with petrol would cause so much pain- I eventually had to have steriod injections at each joint where the fingers meet the palm of the hand- very painful!
this stopped it for about 2 years- I have had repeat injections every couple of years as it returns.
I think drumming makes it worse on occasion, I find when I do three or four back to back gigs it will flare up. I have been offered an operation with no promise of success and a risk of nerve damage- so as youd expect- I declined!
awe geez that must really suck
I really really hope my problems don't go that far
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I have had the same for years- but I cant put this down to drumming as it started after I used a hand prunner to trim down a long overgrown hedge- the day after my right hand was locked up when I woke and I had shooting pains going up my arm when I used the hand at all.
Simple actions like filling the caar with petrol would cause so much pain- I eventually had to have steriod injections at each joint where the fingers meet the palm of the hand- very painful!
this stopped it for about 2 years- I have had repeat injections every couple of years as it returns.
I think drumming makes it worse on occasion, I find when I do three or four back to back gigs it will flare up. I have been offered an operation with no promise of success and a risk of nerve damage- so as youd expect- I declined!
Geeze, that's terrible man! I remember when my arms were bad enough to prevent me from putting gas in the car, tying shoes, etc. Cortisone and steroids just make the problem worse over time. Cortisone actually weakens tendon tissue and breaks it down! I hope you find a solution, soon!

I feel like I should make a little YouTube of the Gua Sha/ASTYM thing that I would do when I got sore - which I explained earlier.

I'm not a physical therapist but then again, this is basically a massage and can't cause any damage. It's hardly rocket science and gives *instant* results (complete pain relief and accelerated healing).
 

Glum

Member
Geeze, that's terrible man! I remember when my arms were bad enough to prevent me from putting gas in the car, tying shoes, etc. Cortisone and steroids just make the problem worse over time. Cortisone actually weakens tendon tissue and breaks it down! I hope you find a solution, soon!

I feel like I should make a little YouTube of the Gua Sha/ASTYM thing that I would do when I got sore - which I explained earlier.

I'm not a physical therapist but then again, this is basically a massage and can't cause any damage. It's hardly rocket science and gives *instant* results (complete pain relief and accelerated healing).
Im interested in a video of this Gua Sha =)
 

rolander

Member
i'm having a lot of trouble with this over the past few weeks. started after overdoing it on a gig. was at work the next day ( i'm a waiter/barman) and my whole right hand seized up. kept dropping shit. it's subsided somewhat in that my hand isn't completely seized up now, but having said that, it's really painful right now as i type this. i had to get my hours cut at work. i'm getting physio at the mo, she's treating it with acupuncture. i'm also on anti inflammatories, which i have to say, i have zero faith in. it's really cuttin me up. i had chronic groin pain for nearly three years and that stopped me playin intermittently over the years, now that that has cleared up, along comes this. pain in the ass. i'm also trying chinese meditation balls to see if they help loosen up my arms or whatever, and i've also been reading the somewhat controversial works by a doc called john sarno, 'the mind body prescription' and 'the divided mind'. they're basically about psychosomatic illnesses, which some people may find hard to swallow, but i've been hit with so many aches and pains over the past few years that i felt it was something i had to investigate, especially since i managed to alleviate most of my chronic groin pain through meditation and deep breathing exercises. the mind is an immensly powerful thing. anyone else have anything to say on this. i really want to get back giggin and playing again. i used to find it hard to sit down and practise, but now that i actually can't, it's killin me! u don't know what u got till it's gone....
 
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