Hands, Wrist & Forearm Issues

leftear

New member
Greetings All,

I have been battling an on-going issue for several years now and hoping someone can provide some insight. Every time I begin to play whether at practice, or performance, my hands and forearms tighten up and hurt. Soon enough, it gets very difficult holding on to the sticks. Sometimes I find myself holding it with my index finger and thumb when ending a song. Sometimes I'll position the stick between my index and middle finger just alleviate the tension (but that only goes so far). I’ve done my research on Tendinitis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but I don’t think I have either of these. I don’t have issues like this holding anything, varying degrees of sharp pain in wrists and arms during the day, etc. I only have these issues when playing drums. I am a heavy hitter and have talked to various drummers about this. Some suggested it’s technique, some say I am not warming up properly before I begin to play, some asked if I was holding the stick too tight, etc.

I’ve done the following so far to try and improve the situation:

1. Warm up before practice with rolls, etc. This hasn’t worked whatsoever. Maybe I am not doing the appropriate warm up techniques, I don’t know.

2. Change my Techniques – I just starting working on this by using more of my pinky and ring finger and trying to let the drumhead do the work (rather than my arm.) It’s hard to tell if this has improved the situation as I just started, I think it’s going to take sometime. I will say this is very hard to do since I play rock (and it’s heavy, fast straight rock, in your face with attitude)

3. Playing lighter and trying to relax – Like I said, I am heavy hitter, but my band hates it when I play light, I shouldn’t have to do that as I never had before.

4. Started squeezing a ball to strengthen the muscles in my wrists and forearms.

5. Changed from 5B stick to 2B.

If I play straight 40 minute set on stage, I usually have these issues on going throughout the set, which sucks. The odd thing is when we begin playing at practice. The first ten minutes into our practice, the issues are totally there (wrist, arms and hands tighten up.); however, if I break and cool down for 10 to 15 minutes right after we begin, I absolutely, positively have no issues whatsoever. I can jam out for hours with no issues.

Based on my experience, it seems these issues only come up when I start to play (and most of the time ongoing on stage for 40 minutes set because there are no 10 to 15 minute breaks).

Can anyone provide any insight? Any help, suggestions, comments would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris
 

screamkevin

New member
Chris,

Sounds to me like your muscles are just warming up. We all go through it. I do a 30 minute warmup before I play, because if I don't, by the time my band hits the 3rd song in our set, my arms feel like 2 pieces of re-bar, LOL.

It doesn't sound like anything is wrong medically, but it sure couldn't hurt to talk to your family physician about it, or a sports doctor. I'd suggest lengthening your warmup period, and making sure to incorporate stretching techniques into your warmup. You want to make sure to stretch out and acclimate your forearms, fingers, and wrists for the tasks you're about to ask them to do.
 

leftear

New member
Thanks man! Maybe I am not doing the proper warm up and muscle stretch, I don't know. I've tried warming up for an hour, hour and a half a couple of times doing rudiments, stretches, using drumpad, etc., but that didn't seem to do the trick. Still had issues. If you or anyone can direct me to a good proper warmup, let me know. I gotta solve this issue and open to just about any suggestions. Thanks!
 

MikeRowland

New member
I had similar problems last year. What I discovered works for me (not necessarily everyone) is to use a large stick with a loose grip. I let my wrist do the work rather than my forearms. As a matter of fact, my grip is so loose, you can easily take the stick out of my hand. The mass of the stick, coupled with the reboound from the drumhead, makes my job easier. I can play with power, precision and speed (relative to my previous technique) without muscle fatigue. My stick of choice is the Vater Piccolo. It is a maple stick with a large diameter (similar to a 2b I think) and a short taper to the tip. Being maple, I do go through quite a few, but the tradeoff makes it worth the cost.

As I say, this doesn't work for everyone, especially if you have sweaty hands. I also warm up my hands for about 15 minutes prior to playing.

Hope this helps.
 

GeorgeDemise

New member
I had/still sometimes have the same problem, same with my legs too. I just make sure i stretch as much as i can and loosen up before i play, then try not to play too hard. Pretty much what everyone else has said haha!
 

wombat_drums

New member
I've had alot of trouble with my hands and wrists. I have actually done some serious damage to the tendans in my wrist on top of RSI in my hands. I'm, also a hard hitter. Alot of this was due to bad technique, where i was letting the wrist do alot of the work rather than the stick. i actually went from 2B's to 5B's to take some of the stress off the tendans because i wasnt throwing as much weight around with my wrists. I also practiced a different grip. It works great but it took a bit of time to get use to. I do a warm up before every practice and gigs. just stretching and air strokes as well as a few parradiddles on my knees. until i my arms are warm and loose. then rest them for a bit before playing. thats just what i do. it helps me. Sometimes it doesnt take away all the pain but it's enough to keep playing. good luck and dont give up! :p
 

VR4Drummer

New member
dude, you should be doing two things that I think will help you alot. the first is get yourself an NSD powerball...it is a gyro ball that you hold in your hand and you move your wrist around in a foreward and backward motion...the faster you go, the more momentum it builds and the harder it is to control. THIS WILL DO WONDERS FOR YOUR HAND, WRIST, AND FOREARM STRENGTH. I bought the top of the line metal one for a hundred bucks but you can get the plastic ones for thirty or forty on ebay and those should still give you a hell of a workout. Get the metal one if you can afford it though, it will be one of the best investments you ever make...I use mine atleast every other night for half an hour to an hour while I watch TV. At first, it will be grueling and you will wake up in the morning with all kinds of pains in your fingers, wrists, and forearms, but stick with it and I promise in two weeks your forearms will feel like they are made of steel, you will have zero pain, and you will notice an increase in both speed and stamina of your hands. Also, you should get marching sticks and practice single and double stroke rolls over and over on a practice pad with a metronome of course...you should be doing a check pattern for the single stroke rolls...RRRR, LLLL, RRRRRRRR, LLLL, RRRR, LLLLLLLL and letting them rebound all the way back, each stroke the exact same power. Also the bucs accent exercise is a great one. I really just think your hand, wrist, and forearm muscles are underdeveloped and that is why you are having problems...hope this helps.
 

leftear

New member
wombat_drums":1c5crjip said:
I've had alot of trouble with my hands and wrists. I have actually done some serious damage to the tendans in my wrist on top of RSI in my hands. I'm, also a hard hitter. Alot of this was due to bad technique, where i was letting the wrist do alot of the work rather than the stick. i actually went from 2B's to 5B's to take some of the stress off the tendans because i wasnt throwing as much weight around with my wrists. I also practiced a different grip. It works great but it took a bit of time to get use to. I do a warm up before every practice and gigs. just stretching and air strokes as well as a few parradiddles on my knees. until i my arms are warm and loose. then rest them for a bit before playing. thats just what i do. it helps me. Sometimes it doesnt take away all the pain but it's enough to keep playing. good luck and dont give up! :p
Yes, totally! This is exactly where i am at now. I've been doing proper stretches and warm up about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes before practice. I also switched to a 2B stick and started wrapping my sticks with Promark Stick Grip. Although pain and fatigue are still there, it's not NEARLY as bad. Shit, I feel like I can play drums now for the first 20 minutes when starting (eventually all of it goes away and there is no pain at all, it only starts when I begin to play.)

I am going to check out the NSD Power thing that was recommended. That sounds like a good idea. Yes, for whatever reason (even after playing 15 years), my muscles are under developed, atleast that's what is seems like. I am willing to try anything.

But, so far so good with proper stretches and warm ups before practice, This has helped out SOOO much. I am really glad I posted this subject, all you dudes have been a huge help and I appreciate your feedback and recommendations. I am starting to see the light ending this crap real soon, I am really stoked about it.
 

veklynvhyz

New member
ive got the perfect thing for this, i was taught by my instructor who was taught by ralph hardiman himself. the exercise is very simple and its called IPMROVING. basically you start at a low dynamic, piano or mezzo piano, and play eigth notes with both hands at the same time at a comfortable speed, slowly grow stronger in volume while keeping the tempo the same, eventually your muscles will start to burn if youre doing it right, but dont stop, this is when you start bucks, instead of accenting on 1 and 3 you accent on 1,2,3 and 4, at this time you speed up but do not change dynamics, you should be at about forte, your arms ought to be killing you now, now you move to all up, accenting every note and increasing volume to fortissimo. youre not going to be able to do all of this right away so i suggest starting slow and soft.
i hope some of this was any help. good luck
 

Howepirate

New member
Just try opening up more at first and practice powerfully and economically to get all your muscles to stretch and relax. Then you should be able to go on.
 
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