Whether from an injury, or a battle with chronic pain, there are many reasons that people turn to alternative treatments in order to increase wellness in their lives. Living with pain can cause stress, depression, anxiety and a loss of focus on the things that matter in life. Finding a way to manage or cope with pain can be a struggle in itself, exacerbating the issue with pain and creating situations that “snowball” drastically. However, there is promise in the activity of drumming for those seeking a different way to manage the day-to-day aches and pains of life, as well as those who may be facing a more prolonged issue with chronic pain.
Scientists have studied the benefits of rhythm and drumming in a variety of situations, many of which directly relate to brain function. While there are aspects of different types of pain that are still not understood, the basis of these studies is how external rhythms can help bring our internal rhythms to a more beneficial state. When the mind is uncluttered, it is better able to process external stimulus, which is why activities like yoga, meditation and listening to relaxing music are so highly recommended by medical professionals, therapists and even our friends and family. Drumming connects external rhythms to the internal rhythms we all hold, and once that connection is made, the brain resumes the natural cycles needed to process information and stimulus, even that of pain.
For these reasons, and many more, pain relief through drumming is entirely possible. Much like with any type of music, the mind on drumming is able to connect to a steady beat, increasing awareness and normal function within the brain's own rhythm. In addition, drumming allows the physical release of stress, anxiety and negativity, all of which can increase due to pain. Once the brain is in a more mindful state, pain can be managed easier, focus can be restored and life can feel a little less like a constant struggle. Even if you can’t physically drum, listening to drumming music can be beneficial in many of the same ways as playing a drum.
While drumming is certainly not a medically-based treatment for pain relief, there are accounts throughout history of drums and rhythm used in healing ceremonies and situations. The power of music, rhythm and drumming can create great changes for everyone, including friends and loved ones facing chronic or acute pain issues.
How has drumming helped you or a loved one manage acute or chronic pain disorders?