July 8, 2020

Drumming Injuries

Are you tired of getting recurrent blisters caused by drumming?

Or wrist pain is hindering you from playing drums efficiently?

If yes, this article will help you understand more about drumming injuries and how to prevent them.

Drumming, just like any other musical instrument, requires mental and physical exertion. Different movements use various muscles.

Let’s have a look at various injuries and how to avoid and manage them.


Type of Injuries

Drumming InjuriesWhile many injuries are associated with drumming, the majority of them can be classified under the following two categories:

Traumatic Injury

This includes injury caused by single, sudden accidents. Some examples include fragment impact from drumstick breakage, trips and falls, knuckle impact, and strains and sprains.

Over-use Injury

It involves muscular contractions, continual impact, and gravitational force, which results in stress on tissues, causing inflammation. While inflammation allows healing of the affected part, it can cause swelling, altered motion, and pain.

Now that we know types of injuries let’s have a look at some most prevalent drumming injuries.

Common Drumming Injuries

Elbow Epicondylitis

If you check your elbow, it has a bony extension on both the inner and outer regions, known as epicondyle.

Excessive drumming or poor techniques can cause stress near the epicondyle, resulting in pain and inflammation. If not taken care of, it can result in a long-lasting, painful condition.

Poor drumming techniques can cause lateral stress on the elbow while using too little rebound or too much elbow force can cause strain on the tendons and muscles in the arms.


Stretching wrists and forearms before playing can help in preventing stress on tendons and muscles. Icing overworked or sore joints also lowers the risk of it turning into a long-standing condition.


It involves friction, massage, heat, ice, manipulation, and joint mobilization, ultrasound therapy, or stretching exercises. You may also benefit from oral anti-inflammatory medications.

Sprains and Strains

Sprains are caused by overstressing or tearing of the ligaments of your body, while strains involve injuries to your soft tissues except for the ligaments.

A sprain may cause a tear of the ligament, which then heals with a scar. The flipside of a scar is that it is more pain sensitive and less elastic.

Strain commonly affects tendons, muscles, and fascia. A muscle is usually sprained when a muscle is suddenly overloaded while at rest.


As with other injuries, icing will reduce the pain and swelling of the affected area. Stretching before playing can also help in preventing strains and sprains.


Initial motion therapy or physiotherapy exercises, along with a certain period of rest, will help in managing sprain or strain. Pain killers may also help in dealing with pain. However, a long-lasting pain may need an evaluation by a health care professional.


Tendonitis is an inflammatory condition of tendon and its sheath. When a tendon or its cover is overloaded, irritated, or damaged, the tissues swell. This swelling restricts the movement of tendon across the sheath, resulting in stiffness and pain.

Besides, tissue cells and fluids also build up in the area, leading to further irritation.


Stretching and warm-up are essential, along with a proper drumming technique to prevent tendonitis.

Over-exertion and overuse should also be avoided.


It involves rest for 48 to 72 hours once it happens. Ice application will help in reducing pain and swelling.

For a longer-lasting condition, pain killers, anti-inflammatory medications, physiotherapy, and controlled motion may be required to manage it.


Drumming blisters are more prevalent in the inside of your thumb and soft part of your fingers, or any part of the hand that comes in contact with your drumstick.

Extended sessions, tightly gripping the stick, and heavy drumming are some of the common causes for these blisters.

Blisters, if not treated, may prevent you from playing optimally and even turn into calluses.


Improving grip, using gloves, sandpaper, and drum tape may help in preventing blisters.


In most cases, drumming blisters heal on their own. Ice and talcum powder application can help in managing pain associated with these blisters. However, if you notice pus or other signs of infection, it is a great idea to consult your doctor.

You can read more about drumming blisters and their management here.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common condition and caused by a variety of causes, and thus the exact reason for lower back pain may not be able to pick up in many cases.

Bad posture or slouching while drumming can be one of the causes of lower back pain. Besides, over-exerting yourself may also cause back pain.


Improving posture helps to manage the pain in most of the conditions.

While seated, keep your hamstrings and glutes stretched, and tummy tucked in.


Ice application, as soon as you notice pain, will help to prevent the pain from turning into a long-term condition.

Oral painkillers, sprays, or ointments may come in handy in handy to manage lower back pain. However, if the pain extends to your lower extremities or alters your muscle strength, it is recommended to consult a doctor.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Nerves and blood vessels pass through your wrist that provides oxygen and nutrition to your fingers and hands.

Your wrist consists of a tunnel through which this median nerve passes. If this nerve is squeezed or frequently pressed on, it results in a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

In this injury, you can get symptoms such as numbness, pain, swelling, and shock-like sensations.


Adequate stretching of shoulders, neck, forearms, wrist, and fingers should be carried out to prevent carpel tunnel syndrome.


Stretching exercises, anti-inflammatory medications, and a splint may be required to manage this condition. Your doctor may also advise steroid injection or surgery in severe cases.

Neck Pain

Your neck provides a great range of motion and protects your spinal cord. However, you tend to neglect it unless you experience pain or discomfort.

For drummers, neck pain and injuries often occur due to strain or sprain or neck muscles or postural stress.


Maintaining a good posture while drumming will avoid stress and injury to your neck muscles and tissues. So, while drumming, make sure that you sit a height that offers you to maintain your back structure.


However, if neck pain is associated with tingling and numbness in your hand or fingers, it is a great idea to consult a health care professional. Painkillers and ice application will also help you in managing pain.

Why Does Drumming Injuries Happen?

As you may have read before, drumming injuries can occur due to various reasons. Some of them are:

  • Your grip is less
  • Failing to warm-up or stretch before a gig
  • Hitting too hard
  • Incorrect sitting posture
  • Sudden movements
  • Playing too much cymbals and drums

Can drumming cause tendonitis?

While it is not always the case, poor technique or excessive drumming can cause tendonitis. Tendonitis is a condition where your tendon gets inflamed due to repeated injuries or stress. Inflammation results in swelling, which may cause pain and stiffness. Rest, ice application, pain killers, and anti-inflammatory medications may help you in managing tendonitis.

Can your hands bleed from drumming?

While your hands do not bleed the way it is shown in the movie Whiplash, slight bleeding may be possible in some cases. However, most of the professional drummers do not bleed after drumming.

Does drumming give you muscles?

It depends on what kind of drumming you practice. However, in most cases, you will notice your arm muscles getting stronger and fitter.

Can you get carpal tunnel from drumming?

Well, the answer is both yes and no. If you follow precautionary measures and proper drumming technique, it is not necessary that you will get a carpel tunnel syndrome. However, if the measures are not followed, you may also suffer from the same. Pain and numbness of thumb and fingers are common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Ice application, rest, pain killers, steroid injections, or surgery may help in managing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Wrapping it up

Most of the drumming injuries have one thing in common, which is they are caused by overexertion.

However, they shouldn’t stop you from practicing or playing drums. If you notice long-term pain, discomfort, or blisters, it is recommended to consult your health care physician.

You should also analyze your technique and posture while playing. Besides, you should stretch and warm-up before playing and get adequate rest after drumming.

Happy Drumming!

Have questions? Feel free to comment below.

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