While drumming is known for its ability to burn calories, relieve stress, and provide health benefits through music therapy, the dedicated drummer can still fall prey to various health issues attributed to the art of drumming. Whether the drummer jams on a Djembe in a circle, shreds the skins of a full drum kit, or straps on a set of drums for a one-person show, drumming is physically demanding and can lead to discomfort and permanent injury if proper precautions are not taken.
Hand drumming on a Djembe, Bongos or Congas may provide a tactile release of stress, anxiety and creativity, but it can also impact the joints and tendons of the upper back, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers of the drummer. Repetitive stress injuries are common for hand drummers, along with issues like carpal tunnel or tendonitis. Rim shots can cause cuts and scrapes on the hands, and all hand drummers are susceptible to blisters and cracked skin when playing for long periods of time.
Drummers that sit for long periods of time, either on stage, in the recording studio or within drum circles can be affected by problems related to poor posture. Marathons of music and rhythm can cause the drummer to slouch over time, leading to pain and injury in the neck, shoulders, upper and lower back. Many of the same problems can affect drummers that stand while playing. If the drums are attached to equipment and stands, be sure to adjust the height level appropriately. For drummers strapped to a drum, keeping the shoulders back and head forward can help keep the spine aligned and lessen the stress on the body. Always practice proper drumming posture to improve drumming skill and longevity.
Other drumming injuries can happen due to the equipment itself. Drum kits and drum stands should always be secure and stable to prevent drums falling. Sticks, mallets and brushes need to be examined for any cracks, splits or breaks before use. Many drummers report injuries due to a stick or mallet splintering during play, or losing control of the stick, causing injuries to the face, eyes or head.
Common sense can be a drummer’s best friend before any performance, circle or jam session. Always be sure to stretch and warm up before drumming, secure stands and straps, check the position of the drums and quality of any sticks and mallets before playing. The entertainment value of drumming and its wellness benefits are plenty, but even the greatest drummers need to take time for self-care and awareness.