Pain in the lower back

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Hi Folks

Well this is my first thread.

I’ve been playing drums for 30 years; I’m 53 now (I know I started the drums late, but had a try at guitar before that), music and drumming are the love of my life.

About two years ago, I noticed that I started to feel pain in my lower back and knees, especially the right knee, at the beginning I ignored it, but it never stopped, so I went for medical advice and an X-ray. The Fact is that I have two worn out collapsed discs in my spine.

I felt quite bad about that, but given the fact that I wasn’t feeling any pain when I was not playing, I thought that maybe I’ll find a solution.

I did research on the web, read magazines and gathered as much information as possible. I even found an article about drummer’s pains in the French “Batterie Magazine”.

So, armed with my infos and facts, I started the process that could eventually stop or minimise my pain.

Body and drums position are the most important factor when playing the kit. There is only one rule to follow: eliminate all sources of tension.

You need to seat correctly on the throne with a straight spine and a straight head, if you curve your back while playing; the shoulders are curving forward restricting arms movements.

Adjust the height of the seat so that your legs are not bending more than an angle of 90° minimum.

Then I started to position the drum elements, one by one starting with the snare, then the bass and Hi-hat. The rest of the kit is build in a manner that I don’t have to turn my body while playing, everything is within easy reach and the highest elements being the crash cymbals and the china just below eye level.

The kit is build like a three storey building:

On the “ground floor”: the pedals (that was easy…)
On the “first floor”: the snare and the floor toms, same height and same angle
On the “second floor”: the two hi-hats (L&R), rack tom, ride cymbal, same height, tom and cymbal same angle
On the “third floor”: the two crashes and the china, same height same angle (except for the china)

I also replaced the Tama Camco bass drum pedal after 22 years of faithful playing (worned out spring and bearings) with a Mapex Falcon to give a new lease of life to my foot and knee.

The good thing about it: it’s working… no pain anywhere, even after 3-4 hours on the drums.

That has taught me a lesson (a bit late, you might say) about the importance of the body position in relation of the instrument.

NB: If you’re reading music while playing, place the sheets in front of you if possible, not on the side, long play with your head turned to left or right is creating torsion in the spine.
 

MemphisBeat

Junior Member
The ergonomics of drumming are one of the most important issues. You have to set up to accommodate your own size, height, reach of arms and legs.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
The ergonomics of drumming are one of the most important issues. You have to set up to accommodate your own size, height, reach of arms and legs.
Agreed, I thought I did that during all these years, but with the "new" conditions with my collapsed discs in the spine, I had to review, not only the set up of the kit, but also my approach to playing, no other choice (or stop playing altogether, not really an option)
 

MemphisBeat

Junior Member
Just like Olympic cyclists. They get the frames of their bikes sized to their body. The more drums you use the more complicated settting up can be. That's why I prefer to play with one rack tom. Although it's alot of fun to set up with three rack toms. Less is more on most situations
 

triumvirate

Junior Member
That is so true. Bad posture often leads to back problems. We often have to slouch to get the right position instead of adjusting the instruments. It may lead to sclerosis and scoliosis. You should try to maintain a proper posture and also physiotherapy is a miracle worker.
 

marko138

Silver Member
My back hurt too...until I got a quality throne. I wish I'd gotten one sooner. I waited almost 6 years to get a good throne.
 

bonzolead

Platinum Member
Exactly what I was going to say what kind of throne....my roc-n-soc nitro saved my back i'm 41 & been playing since I was 4 so I understand where you're coming from.

good luck,
Bonzolead
 

marko138

Silver Member
Exactly what I was going to say what kind of throne....my roc-n-soc nitro saved my back i'm 41 & been playing since I was 4 so I understand where you're coming from.

good luck,
Bonzolead
That's the throne I bought just after Christmas this year.
 

bonzolead

Platinum Member
That's the throne I bought just after Christmas this year.
My dumb-ass sat on a old 71' Rogers throne that my dad gave me for years..lol then I got the roc-n-soc & pops liked it so much that's what he uses now..lmao

Bonzolead
 

rjvsmb

Senior Member
It's also helpful to incorporate an execise routine that promotes flexibility, joint stability and mobility, strength and conditioning.

The more conditioned the body, the more capable it is in avoiding injuries,doing work, and handling stress.

Cheers,
-r
 
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Otto

Platinum Member
Makes me wish Phil Collins would stop by and share his experience...bet we would all benifit!...especially at his medical budget level...
 

DrWorm

Member
Sorry to hear about your back pain, I hope you find a fix that alleviates it for you. Pain can suck the fun out what would otherwise be a tremendously enjoyable experience.

For me, I noticed I was leaning into my hats ever so slightly and this was causing me a fair amount of pain. My back feels much better when I get up from the kit when I make a conscience effort to sit up straight while playing.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Sorry to hear about your back pain, I hope you find a fix that alleviates it for you. Pain can suck the fun out what would otherwise be a tremendously enjoyable experience.

For me, I noticed I was leaning into my hats ever so slightly and this was causing me a fair amount of pain. My back feels much better when I get up from the kit when I make a conscience effort to sit up straight while playing.
Thanks Doc, but since working on my new setting for my drumkit I do not feel anymore pain while playing, and because I'm aware of my back's condition, I take precautions when I have to undertake physical effort. :)

Yes, sorry to hear about your back, bad habits and bad postures can be very damaging, I'm glad that you're conscious of having a good posture while playing. :)
 

J4X

Junior Member
About two years ago, I noticed that I started to feel pain in my lower back and knees, especially the right knee, at the beginning I ignored it, but it never stopped, so I went for medical advice and an X-ray. The Fact is that I have two worn out collapsed discs in my spine.
My drum tutor, who is about 62 now (and still capable of playing the drums amazingly) had something like this a few years ago.

I think he had to have an operation or something, i cant really remember, but i do know it can get quite serious if nothing is done about it.

I used to get pain in my coccyx (tailbone) from bad posture, and suffered for about a year of pain when sitting and pain when standing after sitting for long periods of time. Its sorted itself out now though. But i could never practice the drums for longer then 30 minutes, as i would get these painful shocks and cramps from sitting down too long in the same position.

Hope your better now though, I wouldn't wish back pain on anyone.
 

resohead

Silver Member
Happy you figured it out, Henri. I used to have a cheap throne and after a 45 minute set I had very sore lower back. I looked over the throne at practice and noticed the slightest wiggle where the seat attached. It doesn't take much of that to mess with your back. I replaced it, no prob.

I just recently started looking at my set and noticed that my hi-hat was way left. I moved it in and forward as much as feasible. Anything I could do to look forward. I'd like to have hats on the right also.

I used to see a massage therapist every two weeks as a gift to myself. She was very holistic and had many years experience. She taught me more about mechanics and what to do to avoid or fix problems. I think she had more knowledge than most doctors or chiropractors

Finally I might work on open handed playing. We;ll see how far I get..
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Another reason to rid your self of the flat rack toms where you have to reach or lift off of your seat to hit them properly. Looking cool will not be cool down the road when you too are aching.
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Henri, I'm very glad that you've been able to relieve your back pain. An injured back sucks, I've torn muscles in mine before! Posture and ergonomics are definitely vital aspects of the drumset for me, because I value my health. I try to instill those ideas in my students very early, and the steps you've listed are essentially the same ones I take for myself.

As an aside, this is your first thread? How have you never created a thread before!
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Henri, I'm very glad that you've been able to relieve your back pain. An injured back sucks, I've torn muscles in mine before! Posture and ergonomics are definitely vital aspects of the drumset for me, because I value my health. I try to instill those ideas in my students very early, and the steps you've listed are essentially the same ones I take for myself.

As an aside, this is your first thread? How have you never created a thread before!
Yes, posture and ergonomics are essential... however, I don't think my back problems are related to drumming, it's more bad posture when carrying physical efforts in the many day jobs I had which required such tasks, either lifting heavy goods or standing for very long hours.

Haha, this was my first thread about a week after I joined the forum last year, I have created a few more threads: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/search.php?searchid=7994121
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Yes, posture and ergonomics are essential... however, I don't think my back problems are related to drumming, it's more bad posture when carrying physical efforts in the many day jobs I had which required such tasks, either lifting heavy goods or standing for very long hours.

Haha, this was my first thread about a week after I joined the forum last year, I have created a few more threads: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/search.php?searchid=7994121
Well, that shows you how carefully I check dates on posts! Now it makes more sense, lol. I feel a tad dense right now.
 

resohead

Silver Member
Update. I stay online almost all day. More often than not my posture is terrible. I tend to put a lot of pressure on the left armrest, lean to the left, and type with my right hand. Pitiful.

I don't sit up straight on the drums and turn to the left. My lower back on the left side now makes playing uncomfortable. So I'm getting an adjustment from a chiropractor today and then commit myself to good posture.

This stuff just catches up with you.
 
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