Can't apply pressure / no control w/ double bass any more. Nerve damage? Old age? 2 years going.

danwind86

Junior Member
Hey all,

I'm at a loss and have been trying everything to get back on track with double bass. I'm 32 and have been playing drums for 27 years. Never had any issues like this. I'm actually feeling tingling in my tibialis and top of my foot (think it's extensor digitorum longus muscle) right now after playing today. There has never been an injury or pain - just tingling and inability to apply pressure with my weak (right) foot - I play left-handed.

About two years ago, I noticed struggling to play double bass in songs I could once play with ease. Usually, I could warm up and always play up to crazy double bass songs like As I Lay Dying - Nothing Left. Once I was able to work up and play Nothing Left, my legs were warmed up to play almost anything for the rest of the session. It seems like it was a steady decline but I'm having trouble playing 140bpm at a click now. There's no control and I feel like I cannot apply any pressure to the pedal with my right foot.

I play dw9002 pedals and always have (outside of trying to replace them with trick dominators for six months to see if it were dead pedals). I was able to play trick dominators up to 200bpm but still felt unnatural, so I went back to a new pair of dw9002. With both pedals, nothing felt right since two years ago.

I've tried all settings, replacing beaters, switching positioning of pedals, moving around drums, messing with throne height, practicing steady BPMs to warm up, tuning bass and resonant, etc. The only thing I hadn't tried is buying a new bass drum. Nothing feels right and the simplest patterns now feel like I'm fighting to even make contact with my right foot.

Is this nerve damage? Should I see a neurologist to check this out? I've done stretching and all that to no avail and just can't seem to have stretching or warm up benefit my playing any more.

Here is a video playing Nothing Left without much issue from two years ago for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-8I5AJPyBU#T=45m25s

Here is a recent video of my trying to work on my right foot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpiJPEYjjGc=25m51s

Here is a video of me playing Lamb of God's - One Gun, which used to be a joke to keep up with that double bass but you can clearly see I can't even play it any more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UzXCCf2qNY#t=27m31s

TL;DR - Am I getting old? Should I see a neurologist for nerve damage? Should I do more technique practice? I cannot apply any pressure / have no control when I play double bass any more and have tried all settings, adjustments, throne height, etc.


Thanks so much in advance!!!
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I feel for you my friend.
I’d rather not guess what is causing this.
You need to see a medical specialist ASAP. Don’t wait.


.
 

Peedy

Senior Member
If it were more serious like ALS or something you should notice it in your hands too. If it’s local to one foot it’s likely inflamed nerve or tendon.

Could be you body is telling you it’s time for some easy listening music once in awhile. Geez, I hope not.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Nothing to do with age.

You might want to see a doctor/physio and get a real diagnosis - don't come onto an Internet forum expecting a miracle cure.

What's your fitness level like? Do you exercise and stretch? Might be worth doing some leg and ankle stretches (target ankle, achilles, upper calf, front of shin, quads, hamstrings and glutes) to see if you notice any particular tight or painful spots or body positions. But still see a specialist to get a proper diagnosis - don't wait too long and cause yourself more damage.
 

danwind86

Junior Member
Nothing to do with age.

You might want to see a doctor/physio and get a real diagnosis - don't come onto an Internet forum expecting a miracle cure.

What's your fitness level like? Do you exercise and stretch? Might be worth doing some leg and ankle stretches (target ankle, achilles, upper calf, front of shin, quads, hamstrings and glutes) to see if you notice any particular tight or painful spots or body positions. But still see a specialist to get a proper diagnosis - don't wait too long and cause yourself more damage.
Wasn't looking for a miracle, I was looking for some guidance on where to start looking for the root of the problem and if anyone would be familiar with maybe what I am experiencing. I exercise and stretch and work out / drum usually 4-5 days a week. I've worked with my friend who is a PT and continue to do recommended stretches without any improvement in playing.

Just was wondering what specialist to start. Go straight to neurologist to check for nerves? Or just start with my PCP and get their recommendation? I've already visited a podiatrist and they found nothing but only did observation and consultation.

I don't feel tinging anywhere else - just in my right leg. However, I intermittently feel back pain (mid / upper back on left side) probably from bad posture.

Thanks everyone!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Do you sit on a wallet in your right back pocket? Sometimes that can press on a nerve. I can't sit with a wallet in my pocket. Maybe try a different throne. I'm just trying to think outside the box a little. A chiropractor's input might be useful here too. You yourself suggested bad posture. Change that. Move your belly button to the most forward position when you're sitting, and not just sitting while playing drums, all sitting. Straight back, not hunched.
 

danwind86

Junior Member
Do you sit on a wallet in your right back pocket? Sometimes that can press on a nerve. I can't sit with a wallet in my pocket. Maybe try a different throne. I'm just trying to think outside the box a little. A chiropractor's input might be useful here too. You yourself suggested bad posture. Change that. Move your belly button to the most forward position when you're sitting, and not just sitting while playing drums, all sitting. Straight back, not hunched.
I do sit with my wallet in my right pocket - that'd be wild if that were the cause. I appreciate your help. Definitely will try better with posture! Going to probably start with just visiting my PCP since neurologist probably need a physician reference anyways.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Dan generally we get lots of over-use injuries but none of what you describe sounds like that. I'd go see your primary doc who will likely forward you to a specialist. Are you having any vision or speech issues-or just these motor skills playing drums? In any case go see a professional pronto-I'd err on the side of caution and hopefully it's nothing. Heck we are all just a bunch of drummers-and we can't even agree on anything having to do with that LOL.
 

danwind86

Junior Member
Dan generally we get lots of over-use injuries but none of what you describe sounds like that. I'd go see your primary doc who will likely forward you to a specialist. Are you having any vision or speech issues-or just these motor skills playing drums? In any case go see a professional pronto-I'd err on the side of caution and hopefully it's nothing. Heck we are all just a bunch of drummers-and we can't even agree on anything having to do with that LOL.
I've had some recent vision issues just with unfocused sight. I've seen an optomologist (getting all my adulting with check ups this year) and it checked out fine. I'll go to my PCP then and try and escalate from there. I appreciate the help buddy!
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Ophthalmologist or Optometrist? The latter might be limited with broader concerns-if former and a MD -Ophthalmologist then I trust they would pick on something that would be on my list of concerns. Get it checked out in any case and let us know what's going on with you my friend-I hope it's nothing=at your age it should be.
 

danwind86

Junior Member
Ophthalmologist or Optometrist? The latter might be limited with broader concerns-if former and a MD -Ophthalmologist then I trust they would pick on something that would be on my list of concerns. Get it checked out in any case and let us know what's going on with you my friend-I hope it's nothing=at your age it should be.
Just an optometrist at Lenscrafters for annual checkup. Everything checked out to be okay. Thanks for the advice!
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
Go get checked by your Doctor. What you're describing could be a number of things. Could be you're diabetic, could be that you have a lateral version of tarsal tunnel syndrome compressing the nerve, could be your foot is protesting the fact that you aren't playing Saturns.
It does sound like it could be an overuse issue, but that's for the professionals to figure out.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Go get checked by your Doctor. What you're describing could be a number of things. Could be you're diabetic, could be that you have a lateral version of tarsal tunnel syndrome compressing the nerve, could be your foot is protesting the fact that you aren't playing Saturns.
It does sound like it could be an overuse issue, but that's for the professionals to figure out.
Be careful taking advice regarding your medical issues from a guy with the name "Symbolic Death".

(Although, I completely agree with his comments.)


.
 

danwind86

Junior Member
Go get checked by your Doctor. What you're describing could be a number of things. Could be you're diabetic, could be that you have a lateral version of tarsal tunnel syndrome compressing the nerve, could be your foot is protesting the fact that you aren't playing Saturns.
It does sound like it could be an overuse issue, but that's for the professionals to figure out.
Some family members are saying to start with an ortho. Seeing a lot on here just going to PCP to escalate. That seem the best choice? Appreciate the help again.
 

danwind86

Junior Member
I have a similar problem, turned out to be the disks in my back, pressing against nerves (aka herniated disk). This happens as we get older and are exposed to the relative gravity of earth for longer periods of time. For drummers its very much related to their posture when they play.

There are many things which can help:
Changing your setup to avoid slumping over to play will help out.
Also using a drum stool which has some type of posture support for your back will assist
Giving it a rest will assist also and letting your back relax into its natural position
Needless to say ... loose a few pounds will take the stress off of one back if they be overweight..... (part of my problem)
Exercise... get outside and walk .... just walking will strengthen up your back muscles....

You ain't 21 any longer ....
Thanks for the tips!
 

danwind86

Junior Member
Just an update!

Went to podiatrist with nothing found. Went to neurologist and mentioned symptoms (and they referred MRI for lower back, neck, and brain - all found nothing) and also did a nerve test on my leg with nothing found. I'm going to get a massage Sunday and might just go back to podiatrist and get an X-Ray to make sure it's not something related to bones.

I feel like I can't balance when playing double bass at ALL any more. It's getting more and more regressive. If I focus on my left foot, I can play to moderate speeds with 16th. With my right foot, I can't play with any power or control - I resort to having to move my entire leg. If I try double bass, my body is so resistant that I lean back.

Here's my most recent video of playing (don't judge singing lol - it's for workout): https://www.twitch.tv/videos/492007892 Any ideas on my posture at all? I just can't feel natural any more and my right foot is now useless after 2 years of regression. Thanks in advance!
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've had similar issues with my shoulder. Went to all sorts of specialists.

The only thing that ever came back was muscles froze up due to too much sitting at a desk.
Getting away from a desk job, and lots of regular massages has helped. But it's been a long process.
 
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