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  #1  
Old 03-16-2015, 03:21 PM
futuresounds futuresounds is offline
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Default Left shoulder pain while playing.

Hello folks. First post here.

I've been playing drums again after a long hiatus. I've been deconstructing bad habits I had when I was playing more seriously, working on techniques I used to ignore, and I even switched to traditional grip as a result of of some arthritis in my left middle fingering (which causes the joint to stick).

Recently I've been experiencing some strain/pain in my left shoulder--more specifically the levator scapula. I'm sure it must be posture related, even though I don't slouch when I play. Perhaps this concerns snare drum height?

If any of you have experienced this I would really appreciate any insight into alleviating the discomfort.

Last edited by futuresounds; 03-16-2015 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 03-16-2015, 07:36 PM
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geezer geezer is offline
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Default Re: Left shoulder/shoulder blade pain while playing.

What's your kit set up like? Could you be over-reaching when hitting the cymbals or the rack tom?
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:06 PM
futuresounds futuresounds is offline
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Default Re: Left shoulder/shoulder blade pain while playing.

Don't think so. My left hand has not been venturing too far from the snare lately, as I've been working on straight grooves, rudiments, and jazz patterns. And my left arms has been pretty stationary for the most part. This has all been a fairly recent development, so I'm pretty mystified about what's going on. I will take a close look at the distance from the snare to the rack tom, however.

As far as the set up--basic four piece for a right-handed drummer.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:32 PM
sumdrumguy sumdrumguy is offline
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Default Re: Left shoulder/shoulder blade pain while playing.

Are you positive about your posture? I have seen a number of trad players dropping/compressing their left shoulder when they play, and not realizing they are doing so.

If you have not already done so, try to video yourself playing. It may reveal something.

Best of luck.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:44 PM
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GruntersDad GruntersDad is offline
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Default Re: Left shoulder/shoulder blade pain while playing.

Have you seen or talked to a Doctor
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:54 PM
futuresounds futuresounds is offline
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Default Re: Left shoulder/shoulder blade pain while playing.

Talking to a doc is never a bad idea. The weird thing is just how suddenly this has happened.

Sumdrumguy, can you explain what you mean by "dropping/compressing their left shoulder"? That very well could be what I'm doing. I also need to start stretching. I ain't no spring chicken.
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Old 03-17-2015, 05:57 PM
sumdrumguy sumdrumguy is offline
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Default Re: Left shoulder/shoulder blade pain while playing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by futuresounds View Post
Sumdrumguy, can you explain what you mean by "dropping/compressing their left shoulder"? That very well could be what I'm doing.
Check out the pics and videos in these profiles. Each is a monster player. They all drop the left shoulder when they strike the snare. Even more so when they dig for a roll. Vinnie Colaiuta does it. Keith Carlock does it. Jojo Mayer does it. The list goes on.

It is the asymmetrical nature of traditional grip. The left hand is driving the stick from below, while the right is driving it from above. Both limbs are based/connected to the same center (your torso), however they are being driven by slightly different mechanisms.

You mentioned your left arm "has been pretty stationary". Is it possible you are locking your upper arm/shoulder to achieve that? If you have been focused on your wrist/forearm, you may be doing so without realizing it.

Two other things to consider are the height, and relative position of your throne, and your snare; to one another, and your torso. With the snare, you might also want to explore the angle. Maybe try raising it, and angling the head away from you.

Hopefully some of that helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by futuresounds View Post
I also need to start stretching. I ain't no spring chicken.
You and me both :)

For some active release of that shoulder, try some of this. Be warned, this is intense... but it works!
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:02 AM
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konaboy konaboy is offline
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Default Re: Left shoulder/shoulder blade pain while playing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Have you seen or talked to a Doctor

^^^^^^ What he said. It may be drumming related, maybe something else. Only a Dr. and properly diagnose the problem ;-)

If you are curious about setup and posture, post a couple pics of you behind the kit
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Old 03-22-2015, 06:08 PM
futuresounds futuresounds is offline
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Default Re: Left shoulder/shoulder blade pain while playing.

I did make some adjustments to the kit, including tilting the snare down to the right. And yes, I do seem to be dropping the left shoulder somewhat, and seems to create an imbalance between the left and right shoulders.

Adjusting the snare has helped, but it looks like stretching and further adjustments in playing posture are in order.
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Old 03-22-2015, 06:17 PM
tamadrm tamadrm is offline
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Default Re: Left shoulder/shoulder blade pain while playing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Have you seen or talked to a Doctor
+1.Not much can be gained by asking for medical advice on a drum forum.Go see a medical professional.Even if there were Dr.drummers here,they certainly wouldn't give you advice,without first giving you a hands on medical examination.Do yourself a favor and seek medical attention.Pain is the bodies way of telling you,there's something wrong.

Steve B
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