The physicality of playing the drums means that drummers are prone to injuries, making knowing how to prevent drummer injury an important consideration. The most common types of drummer injuries are repetitive stress injuries, though other injuries occur frequently, as well. There are several ways to prevent drummer injury, or to reduce the possibility of encountering them during your musical career.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This most common of repetitive stress injuries is as common in drummers as it is in people who spend the day on the typewriter. Carpal tunnel is caused by inflammation within the wrists that compresses the nerves. To prevent carpal tunnel, many doctors recommend stretching and a series of wrist exercises to warm up the wrists before performing. Taking regular breaks can also help protect the wrists. Also, proper drumming technique requires the wrists to be almost stationary, so keen attention to wrist position will also help stave off this painful and debilitating drummer injury.
Blisters. Vigorous drumming can easily raise a number of blisters on the fingers and hands, making this form of drummer injury also quite common. Wrapping the hands or wearing drumming gloves can help prevent these friction injuries.
- Stress, tension and muscular spasms. This type of drummer injury is most common in the back and shoulders. As with carpal tunnel syndrome, warming up, doing stretching exercises and taking frequent breaks during practice can help prevent or alleviate stress-related tension. Regular massage, physical therapy or visits to the chiropractor can also be helpful.
All too often, musicians will continue to play through the pain, often making things worse than they could have been. One of the most important ways to prevent drummer injury is to pay attention to your body, resting when you experience pain, and consulting with a medical professional when pain becomes severe or persistent.