Hand goes numb

Hello fellow drummers.
I've been playing for about 30 years now, and in the past few years when playing
shows my right hand starts going numb about two-three songs into the set. Then I have to concentrate on gripping my stick so it won't fall out of my hand. The numbness does go away after a couple songs tho.
I use VF X55A sticks, should I try a bigger stick?
I do stretch before the gigs, but this happens all the time. Any help on this would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I have this issue now where both hands can start to go numb while playing (I'm 52 now).

For the last few years my chiropractor and I have been working on stuff. He has a theory that I'm not suffering from carpal tunnel (because then my hands would be numb all the time). But he's discovered I have a few kinks in my neck where the nerves pass through from the heart to the arms.

Have you ever been checked by a chiropractor? Numbness means blood is being blocked to get somewhere, and you may have a nerve pinch somewhere. The fact that your condition goes away after a few songs is interesting making me wonder if your body just gets used to it and works a bit harder to get the blood flowing to those areas - which I would think in the long run would mean something will wear out quicker because of the increased strain.

I'd recommend seeing your doctor now (before you get to be in your 50s) and maybe visit with a chiropractor to see if any vertebrae are pinching nerves. Couldn't hurt, right?
 
Thanks for the suggestion. I would rather talk to my chiropractor first and see if that would help. I know the first thing my doctor would want to do is anti-inflammatory meds.
 

Merlin5

Gold Member
I would check out a good drum teacher as well, to rule out any possible bad technique or habits. You might for instance need to loosen your grip and use a more flowing stroke such as moeller if you're not already. Unless of course you know your technique is correct and as relaxed as it should be. If you're cracking rimshots with stiff hands and hitting very hard, then that definitely needs looking at.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
That's the beginning of CTS, so preventive exercises, anti-inflamatory diet and rest.

Stretching is good, but exercises and really shaking loose is also good. It's all connected, though. So much of it is about circulation, so don't stretch you hands and arms, stretch everything.

Go see an expert. NOW!
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I presume your right hand is your cymbal hand? Sounds like a neurogenic Thoracic outlet deal-holding your arm up compresses the nerves-carpenters often have a similar problem. I'd go see an ortho. Lately I've been waking up with just part of my thumb and index finger numb on either hand, but, because of shoulder problems, I sleep hugging a pillow and I think I sometimes put pressure on my radial nerve with one arm-sort of like Wartenberg's syndrome. It could be carpal tunnel though but it happens infrequently so I think it's a sleeping posture deal and I compress one forearm with the other. What's really weird is the base of my thumbs no longer kill me all the time-I assumed it was arthritis and I"d have to get use to it-but lately no pain and hand strength has improved-I think it's because I've been practicing rudiments. Hmmm it could be vascular too-still TOS or Raynaud's syndrome.
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
I presume your right hand is your cymbal hand? Sounds like a neurogenic Thoracic outlet deal-holding your arm up compresses the nerves-carpenters often have a similar problem. I'd go see an ortho. Lately I've been waking up with just part of my thumb and index finger numb on either hand, but, because of shoulder problems, I sleep hugging a pillow and I think I sometimes put pressure on my radial nerve with one arm-sort of like Wartenberg's syndrome. It could be carpal tunnel though but it happens infrequently so I think it's a sleeping posture deal and I compress one forearm with the other. What's really weird is the base of my thumbs no longer kill me all the time-I assumed it was arthritis and I"d have to get use to it-but lately no pain and hand strength has improved-I think it's because I've been practicing rudiments. Hmmm it could be vascular too-still TOS or Raynaud's syndrome.
A hypochondriacs worst nightmare.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
" hypochondriacs worst nightmare." Guilty as charged. Started in elementary school reading my Dad's medical journals-some symptoms for god-awful stuff are quite generic. My Mom had to hide his journals-stated that all first year med students went through the same LOL. I never thought about it but perhaps thats why I married my wife=she was planning to attend med school and I ended up getting a PhD from a Med school which really makes me dangerous in self-anal-yzing hypochondriac bullcrap and she is great-like my father was=in telling me "there isn't anything wrong with you, except between your ears". I really have an irrational fear of cancer-which my whole family teases me I've been dying of for decades LOL. Damn too Freudian I married my father-another type A workaholic know-it-all who could keep me in line. OMG it all makes sense now. Wait oh crap I've gone from general health to mental health hypochondria-I'm screwed LOL.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
my right hand starts going numb about two-three songs into the set
Definitely get an X-ray of your spine! Insist to your doctor that you want this done.

It won't show nerve damage directly, but it can tell if the places where nerves pass have narrowed. In the short term, NSAIDs like ibuprofen or tylenol may get you through the gigs. It would be VERY helpful to know if reducing inflammation reduces your symptoms. After you've been accurately diagnosed, then it may be enough to get chiropractic treatment, or other physical therapy, to avoid worsening of your symptoms.

I'd recommend seeing your doctor now (before you get to be in your 50s) and maybe visit with a chiropractor to see if any vertebrae are pinching nerves. Couldn't hurt, right?
Having the X-ray first will definitely help the chiropractor do their thing.

Hey Bo, just out of curiosity, what sort of relief are you getting from the chiropractor? Are you doing therapeutic exercises? Do you think it's inevitable that you'll need to see an ortho at some point?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Definitely get an X-ray of your spine! Insist to your doctor that you want this done.

It won't show nerve damage directly, but it can tell if the places where nerves pass have narrowed. In the short term, NSAIDs like ibuprofen or tylenol may get you through the gigs. It would be VERY helpful to know if reducing inflammation reduces your symptoms. After you've been accurately diagnosed, then it may be enough to get chiropractic treatment, or other physical therapy, to avoid worsening of your symptoms.



Having the X-ray first will definitely help the chiropractor do their thing.

Hey Bo, just out of curiosity, what sort of relief are you getting from the chiropractor? Are you doing therapeutic exercises? Do you think it's inevitable that you'll need to see an ortho at some point?
Well, right now I think what we’re doing is just maintaining a certain level of numbness. As I get older, thinks just get tweaked more often, so weekly I go in to get straightened out so the numbness isn’t constant. We also ha e an acupuncturist in the same office and he deals with tightened muscles pinching nerves, so that helps keep me sane about the numbness too.

Another thing that helped, which was recommended by the chiropractor years ago was getting into using headworn microphones, and it is a great help!
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
Spud, does this numbness happen while hitting your ride? My hand used to get numb from wacking my ill-placed ride. Repositioned it and numbness went away. Hitting a drum never brought on the numbness, and I’m 70.
 
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Zunardo

Junior Member
I developed CTS in my right hand in the mid-1990's, well before I started playing drums. Finally had open-release surgery in 2003, which helped greatly.

Now I'm getting CTS symptoms in the left hand, since I started taking lessons eight months ago and am practicing regularly. Thumb, index, middle, and the inside of the ring finger typically go numb when I'm playing rudiments or Stick Control exercises for an appreciable length of time, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

Goes away as soon as I stop and rest, or when I start playing on the kit, but I'm keeping an eye on it. If it gets to the point where I'm developing symptoms in the middle of the day for no reason, I'll consider surgery.

I recommend the conservative options mentioned first, particularly chiropractic. I had issues with my whole left arm going numb about three years ago, turned out to be a pinched nerve in my neck. Chiropractor treated me from the neck down to the fingers, also had some very good exercises and stretches, really helped.

Best of luck, Spud!
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Hello fellow drummers.
I've been playing for about 30 years now, and in the past few years when playing
shows my right hand starts going numb about two-three songs into the set. Then I have to concentrate on gripping my stick so it won't fall out of my hand. The numbness does go away after a couple songs tho.
I use VF X55A sticks, should I try a bigger stick?
I do stretch before the gigs, but this happens all the time. Any help on this would be appreciated.

Thanks
As pointed out ,it could be a nerve issue that is being aggravated over the years by playing.
Phil Collins has it ,and it ain't pretty.
 
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