20th June, 2018

Top Tips to Steer Clear from Drum Related Hand Pain

By Rachael S

Most drummers, who are true to the art of playing, know that drum related hand pain is imminent the longer you play a set. It is quite frustrating, whether you play a lot or you are getting older when the dreaded drum pains start to course through your hands. 

Your hands are essential when holding drumsticks and keeping the rhythm going strong. Fortunately, there are ways to help with this pain, so you can rock out exactly how you like!

There's no need to reach for the Ibuprofen. Consider these top tips to help you eliminate pain moving forward...

#1– Limit Your Phone Use

As phones take over our lives more and more every day, our bodies are starting to break down quicker than ever before. Texting and swiping left and right is causing tendonitis and carpal tunnel in people that are way too young to exhibit these problems. 

Try spending less time on social media and more time honing your skills on the trap. Your hands will thank you in the long run. 

#2 – Pick Some New Sticks

Some people stick with the same sticks over time. However, as you get older, it helps to add new sticks to your repertoire. 

Thin sticks are big culprits for making human hands hurt. Sure, they might be comfortable to use, but new, heavier sticks can help lessen the blow. Furthermore, limit your use of slick lacquer drumsticks and use more matte finishes. Drumsticks with a matte finish allow for better grip instead of the traditional slick lacquer which can get slippery when the hands start to sweat.

#3 – Play With Gloves and Tape

If you’d rather stay with the same classic lacquer sticks, then consider using gloves to help with grip. Many of these gloves are breathable with great grip to help you hold sticks properly. Also, drum tape is a real thing, believe it or not. Drum tape works similarly to a hockey player who uses tape on his or her stick. Same can be said about using tape on drum sticks to help limit shock that reaches the hands.

#4 – Grip Changes

If all has failed to this point, you may need to change your grip. Over time, bad habits can be created and it can wreck your hands when drumming. Make sure to grab the drumsticks lightly and release tension from any tight grips. Because hand muscles cramp over time, relaxing the hand is key to allow the hand to work properly when drumming.

#5 – Consistent Stretching

Just like before and after exercise, it is important to stretch, so the hands can be warmed up before drumming. 

Try as many stretches that involve the fingers to prime your drumming hands. Cross your fingers together like you are praying, and stretch the arms out in front of you to limber up your hands for drumming. Essential oils, like Cyprus, can help with circulation as you do your stretches. Just rub a few drops on your hands, and you will start to reap the benefits.

#6 – Hydration is Key

Just like with any sport, it is imperative to stay hydrated. The same can be said with drumming. Now, hydrating properly really only involves water. Stay away from beer and other alcoholic beverages. Imagine lights on a stage to have the same potency as the sun shining on athletes. Staying hydrated will help you stay focused and energized throughout your drumming set.

#7 – Remember R.I.C.E

This is a common sports treatment, but it can also be used for a drummer with hand related pain. 

Next, you should ICE the hand that is throbbing in pain. Do not put ice directly on the hand, but wrap an ice pack in a towel and place it on the hand. Also, you can fill a bag with ice and wrap with a paper towel. 

Then, you should COMPRESS the ice to the hand. Leave the ice on the hand for a minimum of 5 minutes up to 10 minutes. That should be enough time to help your hand while limiting the swelling. 

Lastly, you should keep your hand that is hurting ELEVATED. This allows for blood flow to get to the hand quicker, and your hand will feel better in no time.

With just a few tips, there should be plenty of ways to try and solve your drum related pain. Remember that it is very important that you think about your health when drumming because your body needs to be at prime health, so you stay on beat and stay accurate during awesome fills. Good luck and to give your hands some rest.

Author bio

My name is Austin and I'm the founder of Consordini, a comprehensive music advice guide. I have a true passion for music, and have been playing the drums for the last 8 years (I now the dreaded drummers hand pain all too well!)   

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