Getting back into drumming, shoulder issues

Fishnmusicn

Senior Member
I've really enjoyed browsing the forums here recently reliving my love of the drums. I stopped playing about 10 years ago. I had played in a few bands back in the 90's and thought I'd got it out of my system, plus had always lived in apartments so was limited to my practice pad or playing in a space once or twice a week where my band practiced, but it wasn't really the best practice situation. I moved out of the area where I had played, to another apartment, and have focused on keyboards since and came up with some nice stuff.

Still, once a drummer always a drummer - I tap relentlessly when I drive and get excited like most drummers I guess at the groove, etc. I think with drums it feels like its in your blood. In all my dreams, musically its always about the drums - So what I'm getting to is I've really been all consumed with the dream again for the past few months and really want to get back into it. I live in a mobile home now where it still won't be conducive to play an actual acoustic set except for maybe when I'm lucky once in a while. But I still could get an electronic setup and be happy with that for practice, and play the real set when I can, maybe even eventually get a gig.

My other issue, however, is that I had a severe shoulder dislocation back in March of this year, and after 2 operations, my shoulder is still not right, but a lot better. My range of motion is just about fully restored, but where I had the shoulder labrum reattached is a constant soreness and discomfort especially at night. If I do too much, it lets me know and at this point I don't know if I will need another operation or can continue and try to let it heal and not do too much. The timing is not the best right now for drumming again. So my question is twofold, I guess - has anyone else had or been able to play with shoulder issues and got through it? Pretty general question, but your experiences appreciated.

And as far as getting back into drumming, there are so many resources now which would make it more enjoyable. Also, when I was playing, I was dealing with somewhat of a confidence issue that I'm sure I'll come up against again. When I nailed the parts and played well, it came across. At other times, my drumming was kind of fragmented with uneeded fills, etc. One of my friends who is an excellent lead guitarist always kind of reminds me that I was not as good as the other drummers he played with, and I have to admit I was kind of mediocre. With my limited practice facilities, it didn't help.

But, new goals are meant to overcome that kind of thing, especially when you have passion and desire, and want to commit. So coming back to this is exciting and a little unnerving, but I want to do it. Thanks for listening to my situation, any pointers or advice really appreciated.

Fishnmusicn
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Welcome back! It took me 28 yrs. to finally *start* playing but now that I have...I know I can never let it go.

I would think that with proper technique, warm-up, and generally easing back into drumming would help your shoulder more than it would hurt? As long as you don't sit down without a proper warm-up and just go ape on the kit, the exercise might be just what you need.

Obviously, if there's any pain...you should stop immediately.
 
M

Mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
The shoulder motion may not be an issue. If it's your right shoulder, there are technical solutions and setup solutions that might help. One suggestion would be a central ride and hi-hat (you can get excellent remote hi hats these days) which means that your shoulder movement would be kept to a minimum if you were to play on either of these surfaces. Obviously you will have to move your shoulders at some point, but it's not something that can stop you if you're dedicated enough!

The confidence issue is just a personal thing. I suffer from the same - but the trick is to always play what you feel you can. I was in a band last year and I could've played some very technical material - instead I did completely the opposite because I knew I could absolutely nail it. A simple part played well is infinitely better than something difficult played badly. If you can play, you'll pick it up again and once you get a few hours of practice under your belt (with yourself and other musicians) you might find that the confidence issues just disappear.
 

Leadfoot

Senior Member
I dislocated my left shoulder twice back in the early 90's, had minor surgery on it. It no longer dislocates, but I do have a somewhat limited range of motion upwards with it. It hasn't been an issue while playing, I just know my limits & stay within them.
 

Fishnmusicn

Senior Member
Hey, thanks for the responses. I just put my avatar in, which is right around the time I stopped playing. I think if I take my time and with my current practice space, it will help ease me back into it. I still always think of myself as a drummer, even though I haven't played in a while, it stays in your blood when you have the passion. Any other insights appreciated, thanks.
 

Old Doc Yak

Senior Member
It took me 50 years to get back to drumming. I've got a bit of arthritis in my hands and an unrepaired torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder. I've have found that there are ways to work around the problems. Slightly different grip, slightly different motions, warm up before any playing or practicing, etc. We may not be the drummers we were back then but with some adjustments we can get a groove back. Like the song says: "I'm not as good as I once was but once I was as good as I ever was". Good luck and keep drummin'.
 

sticksnstonesrus

Silver Member
Stretching and warm up...both the most super-important part of being able to survive after having bankhart shoulder repair. I've had the repair once about three years ago and am about to go under the knife again for a Bankhart revision. This is a labrum thing too and yes, while range of motion is affected, living with pain is just part of the life. Try to mitigate it as much as possible by not beating yourself to death and consider what you play and how you play it. It'll mean a lot after a ten song show....

Definitely continue to play. You aren't getting any younger and it isn't going to get any easier to recover. Consider the drumming, excercise.
 
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GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
My hands hurt, my elbow hurts ( not drumming related) my shoulders hurt( too much competitive swimming) but my mind feels great when I sit down and play after 32 years off.
If playing isn't going to re-damage your shoulder, I say just grin and bear it. You may want to have your technique analyzed and try to play a little softer maybe.
 

Leadfoot

Senior Member
I failed to mention that after my shoulder injury (which was from a speedskating wipeout) I took 8 years off from drumming. Partly because of the shoulder, & partly burnout & desire to get away from some bad habits I picked up along the way as well as the people I picked them up from.
It took me about 4 months or so of serious woodshedding to get back to a level of playing where I felt comfortable to gig again, but I was better than when I stopped.
 

Ekim

Silver Member
I can sympathize. I'm having major nerve issues in my left arm. I'm sure they're ultimately being created by something wrong in my back, but I have no idea how to fix it. The ortho doc immediately said surgery and I'm not going that route. Everyone I've ever talked to about repetitive stress issues got worse after surgery.

I just wish I knew how to fix myself. Back to the chiropractor, I reckon.

It's very frustrating because it's keeping me from the drums AND bass / guitar. I have way too much fine gear (ESPECIALLY in my drums!) for it to be gathering dust and I really don't want to sell any of it.
 

drummerchick435

Silver Member
I don't have an injury story for you, but I just wanted to say a little something. I wouldn't worry too much about your shoulder because drumming is mostly in your wrist, fingers, and forearm. Not a whole lot in your shoulders unless your bashing at your drums. Just set up your drums and cymbals low and you won't even need your shoulder.
 

Fishnmusicn

Senior Member
Hey thanks for all the replies. I'm going to take it slow. Right now I'm just practicing on a pad and it may be a while before I get a real set to practice on - man, this economy really sucks... Anyway, appreciate all the insights..............

Fishnmusicn
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Also posture..Put your pad where its comfortable, not to high or low. I found with the pad my hands were taking a beating since the pad was much harder than a drum head. Just some other thoughts.
 

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
Fortunately we're in an age where hardware can be adjusted to a degree that you can minimize your movements by careful thought of setup. maybe use toms only in front of you, no floor tom to strive for with a small kick so you won't have to raise them too high. and also, it'll be lighter on the shoulder to move it to set up and transport.

I know a drummer in a wheelchair, he uses a single rack tom and it works out great!
Check it out, if HE can do it YOU can do it!!

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__________________
Most respect the badge, but all fear the drum.
 

danh

Junior Member
Hi, I have had numerous reconstructive repairs to both shoulders following a snapped left humerus, a shattered right humerus, I've snapped all the tendons in my right shoulder and dislocated both shoulders 50+ times. In the 30 years of those injuries I've never stopped playing longer than its taken for the surgeries to heal enough to get me back behind my kit.

On a positive note its helped my independance enormously as my left hand and foot have had to compensate, as mentioned in previous replies drumming should primarily be in the wrists and fingers, if not then trying playing with your forearms touching, force yourself to not move your arms.

The one issue I have always struggled with is posture, weakness in the rotator cuff can lead your body to compensate with other muscles and that can cause a lot of pain. I would recommend finding a good physio and getting his advice.

Just NEVER stop playing!
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I think you set a record wirh revisiting a thread 10 years after the fact. Your prize is a free pair of air drum sticks
 
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