Setup / Gear Tips for Those of Us Fighting Back Pain?


Senior Member
Hey Folks -

I'm hoping to tap into some advice, setup, or gear tips from those of you who either have been through or are still playing through back and leg pain.

To keep a long story short: I've been fighting chronic lower back and hip/leg pain since last March or April. It's gotten so bad that after an hour on the kit I almost can't stand up, and when I do, I hobble around like a drunkard with a couple wooden legs. When it got to the point that my wife had to start helping me get my socks on in the morning, I finally broke down and went to the doctor.

Three x-rays and an MRI later, I've been told that at 41, I have the back of a 70 year-old arthritic man (no offense to any 70 year-old arthritic men out there). 3 of my 5 lumbar discs are bulging, one is herniated, and 1 is thinning. On top of that, most of the pain in my hip and leg apparently has nothing to do with the disc problem and everything to do with the degenerative arthritis that has started in my left hip.

I've already made some changes to my setup; I've lowered cymbals and have added a backrest to my throne. My toms are no longer as flat as they once were, and I'm unfortunately thinking I may need to ditch the double pedal. I've got the linkage shortened as much as it will go, but that little extra stretch over to the hat pedal still hurts like hell.

To boot, I only managed 600 miles on the Hog last summer, and also fear for those long days on my second-favorite ride. But that's another story...

Any tips or tricks you may have to share that I haven't thought of would be sincerely appreciated...



Senior Member
I probably can't help you much as far as drumming goes because I just re-started a few weeks ago after 40yrs absent. I do have a bad back from logging and roughnecking and am 56. I also own 3 Harleys that are all rigid and generally put down 6-8,000 mi/year and that probably doesn't help things. Also had a rod put in femur from a mc wreck yrs ago and left leg is 1" shorter than right so back has a curve in it

Had to quit playing the kit last week because of pinched cyatic nerve that ran down leg. Things seem to have healed up some but I hammered the practice pad during the downtime.

When I ordered my kit I added a Roc-N-Soc throne because of my back. Can't compare it to any others but I think I made the right move on the throne......just something to think about if your throne isn't the most comfy. Sorry that's all I can add but good luck with the back and ride safe.........


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Number one is a good throne or a great throne. Do not skimp on this. Thick seat, steady build, etc. You need to have good posture. Have your thighs on a slight incline from hips down to knees. Set up your kit so that sitting up straight you can reach everything without stretching or reaching. Try not to get into the drummers slouch leaning to one side or the other. when your back or hips start to ache STOP. Do some stretching before you start. Whatever you stretch, do it slowly without bouncing. An uncontrolled bounce can pull something very easily. Best of luck from another old fart.


Silver Member
The Drum Frame was designed specifically for people with back problems. Could be a good idea if you don't gig too much:

If you use your hi-hat pedal more than the double kick, put it on the inside of the slave kick pedal so it's closer and easier to reach.


Senior Member
Arthritis isn't for the faint of heart. I get epidurals to keep the pain in my neck in check. It works pretty well for 3-5 months. The doc is a pain management specialist. The orthopedic doc says operations won't help and sent me to the pain doc. Downside is that the cortisone weakens the immune system. But I don't really want an operation anywhere close to my spine. Perhaps you can get a referral to a pain specialist.

I too have had a couple of mc accidents that add to the mix. last one in I have a nice metal rod and eight screws holding my shattered collar bone together.


Platinum Member
I had a "similar" pain problem over 15 years ago. I used to sit real high. Almost Mike Portnoy high. And after a few hours in the throne, yeah, I could hardly walk. Then, in a moment of clairity, it hit me. The throne is adjustable. And since I wasn't gonna be able to go "up" much further, I went "down". And I didn't have to drop more than an inch-and-a-half to find major relief.​
I also rode a bike. A crash in 1983 sent my to the hospital with my pelvis broken in 3 places, and both the bones in my right calf shattered. A "degenerative" left hip - avascular necrosis - has plagued me since 1989.​
You will figure out a way. We drummers are a stubborn lot. For the last 2 years, I don't go anywhere without a cane. Still, I drum. Someday, I'll be in a wheelchair, and I'll still drum. Hell, I plan on being burried in my 26x14.​


Senior Member
How do you recognise a good throne?
I read as much as I could on this site and then read a TON of reviews on other sites selling said product(s). "MY" conclusion was to go with the Roc-N-Soc to hopefully help with my back problems..... So far so good, or should I say, I'm glad I spent the extra dough for some comfort......


Senior Member
You have to look at Drumming as a sport in a sense. It is crucial that we stretch really well before we play. Positioning of the throne is important. Don't reach any further than you have to. Also remember that the top of the spine , i beleive it's the C2-C4 disks are responsible for all the nerves that are directly linked to your arms and legs. Merely sleeping wrong can cause pain, loss of feeling and fatigue in you limbs when doing anything, not only drumming. Sleeping on your stomach is not good for your back. Drink plenty of water and be concious of your overall health. Most of all, don't play past the pain. Good luck and hopefully this advice will help someone if not people with severe arthritis.


Gold Member
Do some stretching before you start. Whatever you stretch, do it slowly without bouncing. An uncontrolled bounce can pull something very easily.
great advice! I've recently started just doing some basic stretches before playing, and to my surprise I've found I can play faster and more consistently.

Also I'm sure having a roadie (if you have a son ;) ) to help with set-up/hauling would help you as well!

Have you been to a chiropractor? if not, at least check it out, they've done wonders for my Dad's back, and maybe they'll help your situation improve.



I had some really bad back muscle problems about a year ago... In high school I played Tenors in the drumline (the drums were about 60 lbs) and we had to support those with our backs for several hours a day, and I also never had a locker in high school so I was carrying around a 25-30 lb backpack (yes, i did weigh it) every day for 4 years.

Also, when I was drumming, I slouched a lot (almost at the buddy-rich level) which made my back hurt after about 20 minutes, but I would have to play long sets of 2 hours or so.

Anyway, my back issue eventually started causing me hip problems, where I was almost at the point where I couldn't walk more than 40 feet without experiencing sharp pain in my right hip. I went to a physical therapist and sat through many sessions of deep tissue massage in my pelvis (which I do NOT recommend... well, it definitely helped, and I would recommend it for people going through PT, but I wouldn't do that for fun :p), and also bought the Gibraltar Back rest for my throne. My back is much better now, I'm experiencing 0 pain in my hip, and I'm drumming for long periods of time with no issues.

If you don't have one already, I HIGHLY recommend getting one


Senior Member
Id had back surgery almost 2 years ago...Had 4 screws and plate put in to keep my L4
& L5 from flopping around...Fusion as well...Still major pain, numbness and waiting to get into Pain Clinic...But...When I play drums I have no problems or no increase in pain...My Kit is set as low as possible and I use a household "Ottoman" "Hassock" type chair so like sitting on hard sofa...When I use Drum Throne, I do get back pain...The stability and added width or size of my "Sofa King Throne" incredible difference...How low is my sofa.?.It is so fa king low that its great.!.

Late Bloomer

Senior Member
My back used to ache after 30 mins or so of playing. I recently bought a Tama Ergo Rider throne with the adjustable back rest. I can play for hours now with no back pain. Just love it.


Senior Member
Well, I am in bed as I type this as I am in severe back pain. It has been bothering me lately and I have gone to the chiro for years, usually only when my lower back was hurting. Well, after my Saturday gig, my back was killing me and load out was almost impossible. Sunday seemed ok but then today I could barely walk. I went to the Chiro and had the adjustment and he said I was having spasms, which are so painful they almost drop me to the floor. Once I got home I could barely get out of the car and now I am using my moms walker to even go to the restroom. I am really scared and only pray it gets better. I can't immagine being in a wheelchair or whatever. Damn I am freaking out and am not a pill popper or any of that to mask the pain. I sure hope my drumming isn't over!! This is a nightmare. I'm pretty tough but damn.


Gold Member
My back is pretty jacked, but it's way better after a couple years of chiropractic help. I find that stretching and exercise is the answer. Every morning I wake up stiff, but after stretching and running or playing racquetball my body is loose and limber.

If I don't use all these muscles they'll just stay tight for no good reason. Use it or lose it!

Oh, and my roc-n-soc nitro throne with the shock mount is great on the back!


Senior Member
My lower back is pretty bad, as well. I have sciatic nerve pain consistantly from a vehicle wreck two years ago. Stretches usually do the trick, as Bill Bachman said. I was given a list of stretches by my physical therapist. Those tend to help. I would say ditch and forever do away with the double pedal. That just puts more pressure on the lower back (raising legs). Other than stretches, just go with ol' faithful Ibuprofen.