RSI and Drumming

I wanted to do a short video about a subject that I’ve become very familiar with in the past 9 months or so, and that is RSI and drumming. It’s a subject that I don’t think gets the coverage it deserves, or if it does, it’s usually the AMA party line of you need to slow down, stop doing whatever it was that caused it, take anti-inflammatory drugs and if that eventually doesn’t get better, then you have to have surgery. Through my research, I found that that doesn’t have to always be the case, and there are other techniques for dealing with it that don’t involve spending copious amounts of money. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a sad fact that these techniques aren’t publicized.

Well basically, this is a very in-a-nutshell definition of what happens with repetitive stress injuries. You have the muscles that open and the muscles that close your hands and arms. Bascially, for most of us, we overuse the flexors that close, and underuse the muscles that open, the extensors. When that happens, the flexor muscles get overused and they basically become pulleys, and they pull and stretch on the extensor muscles and tendons, which become inflamed. That’s it, in a nutshell.

Now, my own history of RSI started with Minesweeper – basically an obsessive amount of minesweeping, and you could see my expert record right here. I’m a world-ranked minesweeper, I’m in the top 500 in the world right now. Holding the mouse is a very unnatural thing. Also, when I bought Tommy Igoe’s “Great Hands for a Lifetime” and I started working on it, I had this big plan of I’m going to practice this for hours a day, and after about two weeks, I realized I went way too gung-ho. I started doing the normal thing where you rest it, and take the ibuprofen, and I got tired of waiting, so I started looking on the Internet and finding some videos on Youtube. That’s how I found out about this stuff, so thank God for Youtube.

I’m just going to show you a few of the techniques that I’ve found that were applied to me. Now, a little disclaimer here: I’m not a doctor, so don’t listen to anything I say I guess, I don’t know. A lot of these techniques I’ve found were from various sources but I actually found a video by a woman named Hilma Volk, and you can find the link to that right here, and basically she has all of this set out in one place. I’ve found various different videos that had a bit here and a bit here, but this is the first place where I’ve found everything that I know of in one place. She goes through the whole thing of the muscles and nerves starting up in the neck, and going all the way down through your hands, and I’ll just show you the stuff that applied to me. You could go there and find out what applies to you, for your particular problem. The interesting thing with her videos is she talks about how, a lot of times, the carpal tunnel syndrome gets misdiagnosed, and you may exhibit signs of carpal tunnel but it may be something that starts further up. That was very interesting.

So here are a couple of things that apply to me. When I first had the inflammation, about nine months ago, what ended up helping me was doing this stretch. You put your thumb like that, in your hands, and you pull forward, and that pulls on these tendons here, and that stretches that out. Also, you massage in here, on the thumb; you get in there with your elbow like that, and that massages the muscles in here, and then you stretch this way. Also, there’s muscles in here, and you basically kind of want to massage the muscles; you find the areas that are sore, and you massage those. There’s some muscles right here, there’s a couple that go from here to here, and you find the ones that are tender, and you just massage them. You want to go easy on your other hand, because it’s probably not in very good shape either, so you use your elbows. Do kind of like that, and there’s that area in here especially for drummers, where the fingers are.

The other interesting thing she goes over is for painters and drummers, who do this motion a lot; there’s a muscle right here and you kind of want to get in there. It’s a little almond-shaped muscle, and it can have referred pain that goes up into your thumb. I don’t understand it, but she explains it better than I do. Those are the ones that apply to me.

Since I’ve been doing this, it’s getting better, and it’s an amazing thing. So that’s about it; check her videos out, I highly recommend them, and hopefully you can solve whatever problem you have, or prevent problems from recurring.

This is a follow-up video to “RSI and Drumming, Part 1”, in which the speaker clarifies the relationship between RSI and drumming.

Hello YouTube! I just wanted to make a follow-up video to my last video about RSI and drumming. I left a comment on a Jojo Mayer video, I left one on another one too, on the original Hudson Music preview for Tommy Igoe “Great Hands for a Lifetime”, which basically said that if you’re like me and you feel like you keep practicing and you’re not getting any better, you may be dealing with RSI.

A YouTuber left me a comment asking me to explain that, and I realized that I didn’t quite connect, in my original video, those two concepts. My argument is that, if you’re dealing with RSI, you remember the definition was that the muscles that close your hands are overused and the muscles that open your hand are underused.

With drumming technique, you use larger muscle groups for slower tempos, and you use the smaller ones for faster tempos. Now the larger ones, your larger muscle groups are slower-moving, but they’re stronger, and as you get to the smaller ones, they’re faster, but they’re not as strong. So, if you’re dealing with RSI, what happens is that when the flexor muscles are overused, the smaller muscle groups can only get to a certain strength, because there has to be a balance between the muscles up here, that open the hand, and the muscles that close the hand. If you have the muscles that close the hands are overworked, and that balance is distorted, then you’re not going to get the speed you need.

You have to do the massaging and stuff, and the trouble is, you have to find exactly where the problem is. If you find that massaging these muscles helps for a little while, and then you start developing more problems, you probably have to go up to your shoulder. I found that that was the case for me, and apparently, there’s stretching techniques for your pectoral muscles; it might be pulling on your shoulder, which I found out was the case because I was slumped over, and just the way I was holding my shoulders. It’s really a self-discovery process; you have to find out what exactly your particular issue is, and I still recommend going and watching Hilma Volk’s channel and her videos, because she just explains it perfectly. That’s about it! Thanks.


Comments

RSI and Drumming — 30 Comments

  1. [..YouTube..] Great video. A lot of really good information. Back when I was taking drum lessons, my teacher got me into making this massaging and stretching part of my routine. Now, every time I sit down at the kit I always take a few minutes to warm up properly. It really does make a world of difference.

  2. Great video. A lot of really good information. Back when I was taking drum lessons, my teacher got me into making this massaging and stretching part of my routine. Now, every time I sit down at the kit I always take a few minutes to warm up properly. It really does make a world of difference.

  3. Thanks…I appreciated the feedback. I am quite proud at how this came out…except for the dab edits, that is.

  4. [..YouTube..] i have the same problem my left wrist keeps cracking and grinding when I move it up and down … and i listened to the lady you suggested and nothing.. its not carpel tunnel what happened to you and how did you get over it ? did you have any wrist problems

  5. [..YouTube..] i have the same problem my left wrist keeps cracking and grinding when I move it up and down … and i listened to the lady you suggested and nothing.. its not carpel tunnel what happened to you and how did you get over it ? did you have any wrist problems

  6. i have the same problem my left wrist keeps cracking and grinding when I move it up and down … and i listened to the lady you suggested and nothing.. its not carpel tunnel what happened to you and how did you get over it ? did you have any wrist problems

  7. [..YouTube..] @maromera This sounds way out of my range of knowledge but, it sound more like a bone/joint problem than a muscle/tendon problem. which is why these techniques may have no effect.

  8. [..YouTube..] This sounds way out of my range of knowledge but, it sound more like a bone/joint problem than a muscle/tendon problem. which is why these techniques may have no effect.

  9. This sounds way out of my range of knowledge but, it sound more like a bone/joint problem than a muscle/tendon problem. which is why these techniques may have no effect.

  10. Thanks man. There’s a great book by a guy named Claire Davies called “The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook” Check it out. Valuable stuff

  11. Can you update us on how your arms/hands are doing now? Has her videos helped? I’m tempted to try her thing out even though her page looks like a scam.

  12. Yes, I am planning to make a new video. I’m doing great and I found a neat and cheap implement that makes this process so much easier. Stay tuned, and thanks for watching.

    Geoff

  13. Dude, thanks for the tip! 🙂 Hadn’t heard of this book yet. I just read some reviews and decided to order it. Hopefully it will speed up my recovery! 😀

  14. I have a RSI in my wrist and the pain shoots up my arm and it might be
    happening on my other wrist. I’ve had it for a month and I can crack it.
    I’m really scared because I wanna take drumming seriously but this is
    holding me back. What do I do?

  15. Ive been a drummer 10 years. I had rsi symptoms over and year and
    progressively gotten worse, you are very much a like minded individual like
    my self; who of which is recovering from anxiety, low self esteem, being a
    perfectionist. Im doing to psyhological based methods, and am currently
    waiting to for a referal to see a physootherapist and discuss my issues
    from there. This is an extremely insightful video, and i cant wait to
    recover.

  16. Ive been a drummer 10 years. I had rsi symptoms over and year and
    progressively gotten worse, you are very much a like minded individual like
    my self; who of which is recovering from anxiety, low self esteem, being a
    perfectionist. Im doing to psyhological based methods, and am currently
    waiting to for a referal to see a physootherapist and discuss my issues
    from there. This is an extremely insightful video, and i cant wait to
    recover.

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