Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Common hand-drumming-related injuries and treatments

Common hand-drumming-related injuries and treatments

Common hand-drumming-related injuries and treatments
by Kalani

Injury Treatment

Soreness in hands, wrists & forearms from playing for long periods of time or playing hard. Ice alternating with heat, motrin, traumeel cream, arnica cream, taping the fingers before playing, not playing as hard, changing one's technique, staying relaxed when playing.

Tightness in the shoulders, neck & back from wearing drums with straps and/ or leaning over the drums. Warming up before playing, deep breathing, keeping good posture, yoga, tai-chi, adjusting straps & stands to fit one's body, massage, shea butter.

Ringing in the ears from playing loud or for long periods of time. Wearing ear plugs & not playing as loud.

Blisters & cracks on the hands from playing with sticks and/or bare hands. Using hand lotion, taping the hands,using pumice to reduce the size of callouses & using "new skin" to help heal & prevent blisters. Numbness in hands from playing. Warming up, not playing as loud & rest. Soreness in feet and / or back from standing. Using orthotics (soul inserts to raise the arch of the foot and align the ankle bones with the foot and leg).

As a general rule, most percussionists feel that warming up is an important part of practice and performance. Stretching and massage also seem to be good preventative measures for reducing injuries. As treatment, arnica is a popular remedy as is ice & heat.

An ongoing effort to improve one's technique, to stay relaxed and to breath deeply are also important factors in maintaining good health. Quick fixes include ibuprofen (for reducing swelling) and tape to prevent skin injuries.

The above information is a summery of the input that was gathered from an internet survey of 45 drummers & hand percussionists. The purpose of the survey was to identify health issues, both injuries and remedies, that are common among hand drummers. This information is part of a growing data base of health related studies that are being conducted and compiled by the Percussive Arts Society - Health and Wellness committee. Kalani is the world-percussion sub-chairman of the committee. Additional comments and input should be addressed to the above address.

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