Please help with hand problem?

ELPdrummer

Junior Member
Dear drummers,

I was trying to read as much as I could when I found this website, regarding other drummers who have had problems with their hands while drumming.

I didn't really find anything that describes what I am suffering with, so, am hoping maybe someone will read this, and be able to help me.

My problem seems to be with the thumb and index fingers. I get this pain in the area between the thumb and index finger(where the "web" is), and, it seems to involve the muscle between the thumb and finger, and, I end up losing my grip strength in my thumb. I play the music of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, i.e. Tarkus, Pictures at and Exhibition, Karn Evil 9 1,2 & 3 impressions, etc. from the 70's and this stuff involves an enormous amount of stress on the hands.

Within the past year or so, I have been experiencing my thumb, index and middle fingers going numb on me, and I lose my grip strength.

Do any of you know what could be causing this, and whether or not there is anything I can do to stop this? I have been a drummer for 40 years. I don't play hard, so, I do know that it isn't from this.

Thank you, very much for your time.

Sincerely,
Steve
 

ocdrums

Senior Member
Steve,

Go to see a doctor. I had similar symptoms and found out my spinal discs were pressing on my spinal cord. I had to have surgery and can still play, without it I don't think I could walk, let alone grip a stick.

Don't wait, see the DR.

O'C
 

aaajn

Silver Member
yep, no doubt about it, go see a physician. same thing happened to me, numbness on my thumb and forefinger. It was on my right hand so it didn't effect me too much but I know numbness is never good unless you are having a tooth drilled. They did an electrical nerve conduction on my neck and arms and I had some nerve pinching. Some physical Therapy, neck traction and a some Ibuprofen and I got better.

Be warned, there are a ton of stories and advice is worth what you pay for it. So the only advice that I followed was to see a physician. This is more common than you think, ie you are not alone.

It will get better if you get it treated. That has been my experience anyway.
 

JRS

Junior Member
Dear drummers,

I was trying to read as much as I could when I found this website, regarding other drummers who have had problems with their hands while drumming.

I didn't really find anything that describes what I am suffering with, so, am hoping maybe someone will read this, and be able to help me.

My problem seems to be with the thumb and index fingers. I get this pain in the area between the thumb and index finger(where the "web" is), and, it seems to involve the muscle between the thumb and finger, and, I end up losing my grip strength in my thumb. I play the music of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, i.e. Tarkus, Pictures at and Exhibition, Karn Evil 9 1,2 & 3 impressions, etc. from the 70's and this stuff involves an enormous amount of stress on the hands.

Within the past year or so, I have been experiencing my thumb, index and middle fingers going numb on me, and I lose my grip strength.

Do any of you know what could be causing this, and whether or not there is anything I can do to stop this? I have been a drummer for 40 years. I don't play hard, so, I do know that it isn't from this.

Thank you, very much for your time.

Sincerely,
Steve
Hello Steve,

your complaints would match with a carpal tunnel syndrome. That means that the medianus nerve is under compression in its tunnel at the wrist. I would also recommend you to see a physician.

JRS
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I don't play hard, so, I do know that it isn't from this.
How's your grip though? You don't have to be playing hard in order to create tension by gripping too tightly.

A visit to the doc is a given, but let him tell you what you may or may not have. Medical diagnoses via a drum forum is a risky avenue for mine.

But there are some simple things that a drum forum can help you asses the possible causes of and tension is definitely one of them. Check your grip, if it's relaxed, loose and causing no pain, then see that doctor.
 

ELPdrummer

Junior Member
Wow! Thanks to all of you who have responded. It looks like I need to find a Dr. who can help me with this. Over the years, I have discussed this with Dr's, but they all sort of put me off about it. I got the impression that its no big deal.

I have had some people ask me how I grip the stick in my right hand. The answer has always been, "the way I was taught, when I first tried out for drums in grade school". Thumb and two fingers, just like we see in the Haskell and Harr Drum Method Book One. This is how I have played, since 1966. I hold the stick loosely, allowing it to teeter between the fingers and thumb--not stiff. The pain can be unbearable at times, until I have practiced for awhile. It all seems to stem from the thumb. Not the wrist at all.

Thanks again, for the responses.

Steve
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Google "hand muscles" And you will see the only major ones there are the ones that move the thumb and grip. The finger muscles are in the forearm. Any pounding at all will cause pain normally at the base of the thumb where it meets the wrist. Being able to move your thumb this way is what separates from the apes. Go see a doctor.
 

unfunkyfooted

Silver Member
Wow! Thanks to all of you who have responded. It looks like I need to find a Dr. who can help me with this. Over the years, I have discussed this with Dr's, but they all sort of put me off about it. I got the impression that its no big deal.

I have had some people ask me how I grip the stick in my right hand. The answer has always been, "the way I was taught, when I first tried out for drums in grade school". Thumb and two fingers, just like we see in the Haskell and Harr Drum Method Book One. This is how I have played, since 1966. I hold the stick loosely, allowing it to teeter between the fingers and thumb--not stiff. The pain can be unbearable at times, until I have practiced for awhile. It all seems to stem from the thumb. Not the wrist at all.

Thanks again, for the responses.

Steve
check to see how dead your heads are. i have found that when my heads are dead, 1) my hands move farther towards the middle of the stick and that 2) i hit harder to compensate for the lack of rebound. and being used to that ¨technique¨ (or lack thereof), i find it hard to find the correct balance one i get new heads that rebound all over the place.

that said, i too have pain problems. middle knuckles, wrist and back mostly. also knees (just below the knee where that pointy bone is). when i´ve played too much for two or three days in a row, my whole body aches and it´s hard to sleep. it´s not like a sharp pain - it´s like a deep throbbing BONE ACHE. most uncomfortable.

i too was not taken very seriously by my doctor, so i understand where you´re coming from.

my technique has changed for the better in that i no longer hold my elbows to the side when on snare - i now hold my elbows straight down beside me, with forearms straight in front of me. it was not a conscious decision, just evolution over time.

also arranging my kit a bit closer together under direction of my drummer helped. it took some getting used to at first, because it did not feel a natural placement (of the drums).

these modifications of technique / heads / drum placement have taken my pains down to about 75% of what it used to be. that is, a 25% decrease in pain.

but if i play for too long the back and joints still hurt real bad and i must not play for two or three days.

i do not understand people who say they drum for 6-8 hours a day.

not to mention that it ruins my hands for guitar and keys. there is a definite SHARP PAIN in my fingers when i try to play keys after playing drums.

i know i´m a newb at drums, so hopefully i will get it together in this area.

now that i can ¨Keep It In The Road¨ drumming-wise, there is no turning back.

i´m a drummer, dammit.
 

ELPdrummer

Junior Member
Google "hand muscles" And you will see the only major ones there are the ones that move the thumb and grip. The finger muscles are in the forearm. Any pounding at all will cause pain normally at the base of the thumb where it meets the wrist. Being able to move your thumb this way is what separates from the apes. Go see a doctor.
Thanks ever so much for this info. I will definitely check this out.
 

aaajn

Silver Member
i have been thinking about my day job. I spend a lot of time on computers. Not that I have ever made a dime drumming, its a hobby but I found out that computers and a lot of other devices cause hand and arm pain. Lately, I have found that my iPHone and its case are a major culprit.

Add that repetitive motion injury to drumming and you have real issues.
 

ELPdrummer

Junior Member
i have been thinking about my day job. I spend a lot of time on computers. Not that I have ever made a dime drumming, its a hobby but I found out that computers and a lot of other devices cause hand and arm pain. Lately, I have found that my iPHone and its case are a major culprit.

Add that repetitive motion injury to drumming and you have real issues.
Well...I didn't mention the fact that not only do I have hand problems, I also have "tennis elbow" in both arms. I had cortisone injections in 2001, and that helped with the pain. Funny thing, though, they don't hurt unless I am playing my timpani-- like the opening segment in this clip of me : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnA0vqTZtic Playing single strokes this fast really hurts! But, playing like this, doesn't: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZqim19fN7g The part of this solo that is the killer is at the 2:58 through 3:09 point.

Do any of you here have any physical warm-up exercises that you do before you practice?

Thanks so much,

Steve
 

Bertram

Silver Member
I don't mean to sound totally superior or anything like that, but maybe you're moving wrong according to physics. Try to watch the DVD of Jojo mayer, or whatever he's called. he demonstartes the right way to move the wirst.

- Like if you would shake somebodys hand, then just moving the wirst up and down is a correct movement.

- Also if you stretch your arm, with the palm facing the floor, and moves it up / down.

That is the basic movements all our movements come from when we play drums. Your fingers might be curved around the stick, or something, but it is still these movements. Try to make sure you can recognize them in the movements you're making now.

I of everyone knows that if you do something wrong very much or alot. it becomes the right way for you. But later on it is extremely hard to let go, almost impossible.
 

ELPdrummer

Junior Member
I don't mean to sound totally superior or anything like that, but maybe you're moving wrong according to physics. Try to watch the DVD of Jojo mayer, or whatever he's called. he demonstartes the right way to move the wirst.

- Like if you would shake somebodys hand, then just moving the wirst up and down is a correct movement.

- Also if you stretch your arm, with the palm facing the floor, and moves it up / down.

That is the basic movements all our movements come from when we play drums. Your fingers might be curved around the stick, or something, but it is still these movements. Try to make sure you can recognize them in the movements you're making now.

I of everyone knows that if you do something wrong very much or alot. it becomes the right way for you. But later on it is extremely hard to let go, almost impossible.
Thank you so much for your comment. I went to watch Jojo Mayer, and, also watched a lesson on You Tube, by a guy from the UK.

I hold my sticks the way the gentleman in this video shows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qqfvxc7tOcI

The thumb on the right hand pointing straight down the stick, and the index and middle fingers loosely around the underside of the stick. Wrists are left of center, not straight up & down, like when you shake someone's hand (which I've read is a bad habit to get into). If I were to use a clock, I would say that my wrist is turned to about 10 o'clock on the face of the clock.

If you watch this video of Carl Palmer, at 7:04--7:18 into the clip, note his right hand, this is exactly how I grip my right stick, as it is how I was taught in school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VatiVeHSss

I know exactly what you mean about getting used to doing something wrong, or a lot. My posture behind the kit is the pits. I need to sit up straighter, but, for years, I have had a sort of "slump" to my posture. I would really like to correct this big mistake I make.

Thanks again for your help.

Steve
 
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