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Being in a band is pretty cool.
Regardless of your age or type of music you play, letting loose with your bandmates and belting out classic songs is a great way to unwind and bond.
No many people realize that playing an instrument such as the drums can cause serious injury.
The most common injury that affects drum players is drummers elbow, often interchanged with the term tennis elbow.
Here’s what you must understand …
Your condition will simply not get better overnight.
For the simple fact that it took quite a while to develop and if you are like most drum players…
You ignored some early warning signs and continued on playing through the dull pain anyway.
Because that’s just what you do – right?
For the sake of the band – you don’t want to quite on them …
And the fans who are rocking out to your sweet tunes.
Here’s the thing.
The are basically 5 contributing factors and reasons why you have developed a bum elbow from playing drums.
Some of these may sound simple enough but if you play sets for hours at a time, more than 3 times a week, then it all adds up.
And look where it has you now.
Perhaps your condition has become so bad that you can’t even grip your stick tightly.
Make it through one song without severe outer elbow pain.
Am I right?
How about stiffness and tightness in your elbow?
If so, be sure to read my post on how to address and get relief from it.
Let’s get started!
1. Poor drum kit setup.
It’s not uncommon for bands to travel around and use other bands setup.
Not everyone is the same size and your setup should be customized to your height and reach.
Simply hoping onto a set and banging out a song or two sounds simple enough but you could definitely be doing more harm to your already injured elbow.
If you’ve just started playing the drums, it would be wise to have a professional look at your setup to ensure everything is ergonomically correct and you are not reaching with your arms to strike the high hats or symbols in particular.
Overreaching to hit a specific drum, high hat or symbol can really take a toll on the soft tissue structures that connect at your elbow.
Bad habits are hard to break.
We all know that.
But in this case, it really could be your drumming technique or lack thereof that is really the cause of your drummers elbow.
You could be over gripping your sticks or something as simple as finger placement on your sticks.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you need to make a complete overhaul of your technique but some very fine and minute changes could make all the difference in the world in helping you recover from your elbow injury as quickly as possible.
So you spend more time beating the drums instead of singing the blues.
3.Over tight snare drum or symbols can cause elbow pain and discomfort.
So what’s the deal with this one.
It boils down to basic science
Just plain common sense!
The harder strung your drums are OR the tighter screwed down your symbols are, the more force is required to generate power/sound.
In return, you receive a stronger vibration from the skin of your drum or symbol into your drum sticks, into your fingers, hands and eventually elbow.
Yes your elbow is the last stop and absorber of all this shock absorption.
Imagine how many times a set you hammer on your drum set.
Thousands most likely.
Multiply this over how many times a week you play or rehearse.
That’s a huge number…wouldn’t you agree?
It was simply just a matter of time before you started to experience the dreaded drummers elbow.
There is more great info here over at the drummer world forum – good advice to be found.
4.Change in speed of the music you’re playing.
Every genre of music has a different speed.
As a result, drummers are either used to the high tempo playing or they’re not.
For those who have started playing more aggressively and your beating the drums much harder than in the past, then this could very well be the reason why you are suffering with elbow pain.
5. Bad drumsticks
Try different sticks that can absorb more of the vibration.
The old school wooden sticks are not great for shock absorption, especially …
If you are a heavy and hard hitter!
You can purchase anti-vibration drumsticks.
I had no idea that such a product actually existed.
From the research that I did, the most popular ones are Zildjian 5A Anti Vib sticks.
The only negative thing I read about them is that the really hard hitters would sacrifice some rebound but …
If it saves your elbows and you no longer have to worry about the pain and discomfort, then I would say it’s worth it.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Pick yourself up a set, use them for a couple of nights and then switch back to your old sticks.
I guarantee you will notice a BIG difference – promise!
Here’s another forum’s take on this terrible injury and condition.
6. Over gripping your sticks
We never ever think of this one.
Gripping, holding and squeezing too tightly on your drumsticks is the MAJOR reason why your elbows are suffering.
Now before you call me out and scream …
You need to grip and hold the sticks to play!
Yes I agree but …
You don’t have to squeeze so tight as if you are going to suffocate your drum sticks.
What works to help dampen the vibration is tape that tennis players use on the handle of their racquets.
Sometimes referred to as tennis over grip.
It can be bought at any sports store or even perhaps Wal-mart for a couple of bucks.
Don’t knock it till you try it – seriously.
Now here comes the million dollar question.
Can you continue playing sets, attending rehearsals and hammer away on your drum kit…
All the while recovering from your injury?
The good news is YES.
Not many people know that drummers elbow is exactly the same condition as tennis elbow.
These names are used interchangeably but treatment is exactly the same.
And the best part …
Is that you can quickly heal and recover at home, for a fraction of the cost of going back and forth to Doctors or Physiotherapy.
As long as you follow the 5 simple steps shown in the video on the next page – you can continue playing gigs and your elbow pain will be a distant memory in a lot shorter time than you anticipated.
is the author of Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed which has been teaching individuals how to overcome their tennis elbow injury at home since 2005 with over 1,767,986 copies sold.
He is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Exercise Rehab Specialist based in Vancouver, BC, Canada