Advice for a Drummer with an Injured Arm

RyanLovesDrums

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So I’ve had a bad right arm for almost 20 years now. I hurt it by lifting weights and drumming too much. I probably need surgery but I don’t want to do it. My question is, is there any way to tune your drums so they are extra sensitive and don’t require a lot of arm effort so I maybe won’t aggravate my arm as much when I play? If I have to tune them up high like jazz style that’s OK. Also, my drums have primarily die-cast hoops and my snare has the DW Truehoops so I’m not sure if that makes a difference or not.
 

RyanLovesDrums

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Go see an ortho, get it diagnosed at least before there is any further injury. First step IMO.
I’ve been to several doctors including orthopedics over the years. The last one had me do physical therapy and that didn’t work. He also mentioned surgery. That was a couple years ago.
 

Squirrel Man

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I’ve been to several doctors including orthopedics over the years. The last one had me do physical therapy and that didn’t work. He also mentioned surgery. That was a couple years ago.
What kind of surgery? Shoulder or down further?
 

RyanLovesDrums

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What kind of surgery? Shoulder or down further?
Well he didn’t really say. I had an MRI but he didn’t make a big deal about the results. He did say he thought maybe it had something to do with the nerve. My pain isn’t in the shoulder. It’s from elbow throughout the forearm and hand.
 

Squirrel Man

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Well he didn’t really say. I had an MRI but he didn’t make a big deal about the results. He did say he thought maybe it had something to do with the nerve. My pain isn’t in the shoulder. It’s from elbow throughout the forearm and hand.
ok, I'm not a doc nor did I stay at a Holiday Express last night. I figured you were a little older, 40's maybe or something. Just don't mess around with that for a long time, you could be doing more damage by jerryrigging it with play setup. My only advice now.

Peace, brother.
 

dcrigger

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Well he didn’t really say. I had an MRI but he didn’t make a big deal about the results. He did say he thought maybe it had something to do with the nerve. My pain isn’t in the shoulder. It’s from elbow throughout the forearm and hand.
No magic solutions on the tuning front that I'm aware of.

Which leaves me with being the old guy telling the young guy (66 vs. what? 37??) to, if all possible, don't mess around ignoring this for too long... because stuff like this only gets worse over time and recovering from anything just gets harder and harder as you get older.

My advice - find a better doctor, one who will "really say" what's going on and what can be done. If physical therapy doesn't work (hasn't worked) then that means something beyond that needs to be done.

Back in the day, folks had to just live with a bunch horribly debilitating stuff.... today is no longer that time.

Anyway - best of luck - I hope you find your way to a better place, so you can get back to playing the way you like.
 

JDA

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definitely play left handed and keep your right arm close

It'll come back
Keep your mind positive
 

JDA

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tune your drums so they are extra sensitive
I'd keep away from the rims and rimshots. If wood hoop weren't so expensive I'd recommend one for the snare drum.
But stay away from the rims

Also: Maple sticks anything from a Vater 8A sugar to a Vater Fusion Maple to a 7A maple/ what ever you like/ Maple is sweet round and soft (plush & lush : )
Left hand lead No rims (unless ya gotta crosstick ; ).... Vic Firth SD4 !
also have a pair ..or dust off your Rods (bundle sticks etc)
 

RyanLovesDrums

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I'd keep away from the rims and rimshots. If wood hoop weren't so expensive I'd recommend one for the snare drum.
But stay away from the rims

Also: Maple sticks anything from a Vater 8A sugar to a Vater Fusion Maple to a 7A maple/ what ever you like/ Maple is sweet round and soft (plush & lush : )
Left hand lead No rims (unless ya gotta crosstick ; ).... Vic Firth SD4 !
also have a pair ..or dust off your Rods (bundle sticks etc)
Recently got two nice pairs of maple sticks. Wood hoops sound like a good idea.
 
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JDA

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also I'd do trad grip in the right hand/ trust me on that.. fingers
(50/50 at least /experiment with it)
want to get gentle with that elbow/nerve/ they Go away..
 

studrum

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Mr. Crigger has been around the block a few times. He has been a full time professional for decades - zillions of hours behind the drums, and it has been his livelihood. I, too, have some physical "stuff," and I love playing the drums. I agree with his suggestions, completely.
 

Matched Gripper

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Well he didn’t really say. I had an MRI but he didn’t make a big deal about the results. He did say he thought maybe it had something to do with the nerve. My pain isn’t in the shoulder. It’s from elbow throughout the forearm and hand.
The ortho didn’t specify what the MRI showed? You can always get a copy of the MRI image and radiologist’s report from the ortho’s office and bring it to another ortho, preferably one who specializes in sports medicine.
 

RyanLovesDrums

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The ortho didn’t specify what the MRI showed? You can always get a copy of the MRI image and radiologist’s report from the ortho’s office and bring it to another ortho, preferably one who specializes in sports medicine.
Well he just kinda shrugged it off and said maybe there was some scar tissue there or something. He just didn’t act like it was anything major. Around this time, he said that I had radial tunnel syndrome. I probably need to do what you said and get my MRI and see someone else. This doctor is supposed to be one of the best around though.
 
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Matched Gripper

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Well he just kinda shrugged it off and said maybe there was some scar tissue there or something. He just didn’t act like it was anything major. He had mentioned prior to this that I had radial tunnel syndrome. I probably need to do what you said and get my MRI and see someone else. This doctor is supposed to be one of the best around though.
Seems he didn’t offer an effective treatment plan. Time for another opinion.
 

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You may want to see if your symptoms match what physical therapists describe as common symptoms and try some of their ideas. If the symptoms don’t match, you could review other videos that discuss symptoms and some physical therapy ideas.

The AHEAD drumsticks are low vibration. I like them a lot.

I’m not a medical professional.

 

bassanddrum84

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I’ve had bad shoulder pain in my left for awhile plus beginning stages of carpel
Tunnel. What helped me is stretching before I play a gig. I also take a pad and marching sticks and warm up before hand this has helped a ton. Carpel tunnel flares up in the winter but not as bad as it use to be. My shoulder pain was do to sleeping on it and In crazy pain when drumming.
 
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Deafmoon

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Tune the drums up higher, they will respond better to a lighter touch. If your heads are thick or cymbals are heavy, or sticks are heavy 2B's or heavier, change to thinner faster heads and cymbals and lighter sticks. There should be no reason to hinder your execution. Now, because of your injury and potentially a bad healing process, you have a handicap that you may never fully overcome. But that is okay, we all have errors somewhere. I would not go touching something from 20 years ago. Make adjustments and work on a constant warmup to get you to a comfortable place. Look at Rick Allen from Def Leopard, he never quit. You can do it!
 

jptrickster

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Had a similar situation a couple years ago. My solution was to lower everything in general the toms ,cymbals and raise the drivers seat so I was playing down ontop of everything instead of playing upward or reaching. 4 pc kit 3 cymbals , hi hat everything in close and tight. I got through it. Since then I've been able to raise everything up a tad.
 

Vistalite Black

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Well he just kinda shrugged it off and said maybe there was some scar tissue there or something. He just didn’t act like it was anything major. Around this time, he said that I had radial tunnel syndrome. I probably need to do what you said and get my MRI and see someone else. This doctor is supposed to be one of the best around though.
If my car mechanic "kinda shrugged off" something that was causing a real issue with my car, I'd get another opinion -- no matter how good the mechanic's reputation is.

Not all doctors are good at the talking to people part of their job (especially specialists). Too often, it's often up to us to challenge them with hard questions: What are my options? What's the next step? What's the next step after that? Are you saying "This is something you can't fix?"
 


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