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Topic: Thumb and finger cramping  (Read 7996 times)

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woody-34

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Thumb and finger cramping
« on: September 29, 2002, 03:50 PM »
Hey everyone,

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on the prevention of cramping in the hands while playing an abnormally long set. I played for 3 hours straight last night and during the last few numbers I started to cramp up. I have a tendency to grip the sticks tighter than I probably should.  Any advice or training suggestion will be appreciated.

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2002, 05:44 PM »
I think you know the answer ........ don't grip the sticks so tight!

Not trying to be funny, but that's the REAL answer more than likely. If you've warmed up your body properly, which I'm sure you did or else you wouldn't have lasted 2 hours!

Also, it's not healthy to play that long. You need to make this known and take a break every hour. I understand playing two full sets, which may last two hours straight, but three hours is over the top. You are just pushing your body too far in my opinion ... even if there are "big boys" who do this in concert ... it doesn't mean that it's right or healthy.

woody-34

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2002, 06:05 PM »
Thanks for the input Bartman....

Last nights extended session was a case of the group playing after us not having enough material to fill their slot.  So we stretched our set to accomadate them.  Another situation that I forgot to mention was that I arrived at the venue with ALL of our p.a. gear, cabs,mixers, amps ,cabling, ect. and subsequently had to load in and set up MYSELF. Needless to say after hauling around 100 pound cabs my forearms were pumping.  Then  pulling off Tool, Blink182, ect. covers and our originals of the same genre for 3 hours . I'm starting to get the picture.........   Once again thanks for the input, much appreciated

MikePilcher

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2002, 09:52 AM »
Playing the drums a lot and gripping the sticks too tight can result in something called "trigger finger" i causes cramp in your index finger after you have finished playing your drums. It is called "Trigger finger" because in the war when people had there index finger around the trigger of the gun for a long time it would cause it to cramp, it is the same concept.

I have only experienced it once, when i began playing the drums so i guess the longer you have been playing the drums the more your hand gets used to the positioning and strain. I don't know but do any experienced drummer find they get cramp in their index finger?

Offline Kevin Gaines

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2002, 01:52 PM »
I'm having issues with hand cramps as well. (During normal 45 minute sets)
I drink plenty of water on a consistent basis and my grip is pretty loose.
Any thoughts on warm-up exercises for my hands ???

Andrew

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2002, 03:36 PM »
I've been working on my grip a lot lately. I used to play with Vic Firth extreme 5-A's, and I couldn't wear a ring while I played (my palm would get pinched between the stick and the ring). I've learned to loosen up my grip in the last few months and switched to the Vader Stewart Copelands, which are a little shorter and noticeably lighter. I don't cramp anymore, and I can leave the ring on while I play. I take both these signs as good indicators that my grip is getting better.

nullify_drummer

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2002, 08:39 PM »
hey km do u crack your fingers? if you do thats your big problem, maybe put this stuff on its called biofreeze, its great for sore muscles and joints. u might wanna try that too

98mmonaghan

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2002, 03:14 PM »
I've been having quite a painful problem recently aswell.

I practise regularly, use Vic Firth 5BN's, and stretch my hand and fingers before I play.  But I've recently started to get painful cramp on my left hand in my palm, in the top of the lump of muscle/tissue at the base of the thumb (you see..?).

It normally comes on after a meer 15mins, or so, of practise.

Offline Louis Russell

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2002, 06:48 AM »
If you warm up, and are not gripping too tightly cramping could be caused by a lack of potassium in your system.  I was having problems with cramps in my hands last winter and a friend told me to eat more bananas!  Yes, bananas.  My doc buddy did some test and sure enough my potassium level was a tiny bit low.  Apparently bananas are high in potassium.   So, bananas or pills, you may be amazed.
No one will believe it's the "Blues" if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it last night!

Offline Todd Jackson

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2002, 08:16 AM »
I've been having quite a painful problem recently aswell.

I practise regularly, use Vic Firth 5BN's, and stretch my hand and fingers before I play.  But I've recently started to get painful cramp on my left hand in my palm, in the top of the lump of muscle/tissue at the base of the thumb (you see..?).

It normally comes on after a meer 15mins, or so, of practise.
- quoted by drummerboy


I have the same problem but only with my right hand(I drum open). After about 30 minutes of playing, I feel like i'm swinging a baseball bat. Ironically i'm using the same sticks( vics 5b's) too. LOL. Guess we better start eating those banana's. Honestly Louis, the potasium issue is a good point. My friend just went through a bout with some kind of potasium stealing disease riddle that was leaving him paralized in the middle of the night. He would wake up and couldnt move. After several trips to the hospital, they found he had hardly any potasium in his body. They have him taking pills now and no problem. Theres a name for what he has but I cant remember right now and its rare he says.

98mmonaghan

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2002, 10:23 AM »
If you warm up, and are not gripping too tightly cramping could be caused by a lack of potassium in your system.  I was having problems with cramps in my hands last winter and a friend told me to eat more bananas!  Yes, bananas.  My doc buddy did some test and sure enough my potassium level was a tiny bit low.  Apparently bananas are high in potassium.   So, bananas or pills, you may be amazed.

Thanks Louis, I'll try that.  :)

Offline Louis Russell

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2002, 11:10 AM »
PS, I've noticed I swing better after eating a bunch of bananas too  ;D

 It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing..... 8)
No one will believe it's the "Blues" if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it last night!

snuf

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Re:Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2003, 04:32 PM »
Yeah Louis, monkey see, monkey do LOL  ;)

Offline Jim Weese

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Re: Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2011, 07:20 PM »
I have a similar problem, but kinda backwards-ish. My right hand at the base of the thumb, almost to my wrist, cramps right up and either have to loosen my grip dramatically or hold it with all for fingers just to hang on to it... but, after three or four songs it's fine. So mostly it doesn't cause an issue but I find I DO have to be very picky about what those first couple of songs are. I'm assuming a minor arthritic problem and perhaps I'm not warming up or stretching properly. If anyone can direct me to a proper drumming stretching technique, especially that area of the hand, I'd much appreciate it. Would love to start a set with a song or two that's the best choice to start a set because it's the best choice, not because it's physically the easiest for me.

Offline Jeff Bankston

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Re: Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2011, 10:50 PM »
back around the mid 80's i read an article in a drummer magazine by Art Blakey and he talked about "relaxing" when you play. i used to experience hand,wrist,finger cramping at times. i started holding my sticks a little looser and made sure i wasnt tensing my muscles(relaxing) and havent had a cramp since. i usually practice for 2 or 3 hours at a time. i use PM 808 hickory sticks. the way i stick is with a combo of finger/wrist action. i have the ever so lightest pressure on the stick using the first joint of the index finger and the outer joint of the thumb. mild calosses will form and prevent blisters. i can hold the sticks with sweat slinging off my hands and play the fastest  r n r and not drop a stick. it takes practice to learn this and i have ben playing about 40 years. another thing is i tried larger sticks like 2B and they didnt fit my hands and eventually found the Slingerland 3A to fit my hand perfect and when they were no longer availabe i found the pro mark 808 was the same. "if" i wanted to i could destroy my remo black dot heads and sabian,paiste cymbals just a easy and quick with the 808 as with 2B sticks. a large heavy stick can become like swinging a 16 ounce hammer after a while and i would suggest trying a stick that fits your hand and avoid a heavy stick. i will go up against anyone for a head dent test with my medium size sticks vs a large 2B size stick while playing relaxed and i am saying that to make a point. i know of a drummer who was in a touring band that always played tensed up and got copral tunnel and had surgery but it didnt help and had to quit playing. the drummer who i wont name hit real hard but i hit a little harder with my slightly smaller sticks while playing relaxed and i am 53 and the other drummer is under 30 ! Art Blakly was refering to drummers injuring themselves to the point of not being able to play anymore. all i can say is relax relax relax when you play and it will take some practice. when i play in front a an audiance i keep calm and relaxed and think about playing my best and that keeps the excitement from causing any tenseness in my muscles. i learned a lot of stuff the hard way but there have also ben a few drummers that gave me good advice. one drummer is Poco's present drummer George Lawrence who i met about 1971 or so after i just started playing and he taught me quite a bit. i think that Art Blakey article was in a Modern Drummer magazine about 1984 or 1985. He really made a point to say that you need to "relaxe" when you play and that means all your body. i play double bass and can play judas priest painkiller song "relaxed". dont get so relaxed that you start to fall off your seat like i almost did one time ! i hope i have explained this so those of you having a problem with cramping understand what i'm talking about > relax and the cramping wont come.

ort24medico

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Re: Thumb and finger cramping
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2011, 03:13 AM »
While playing got a cramp...still suffering and cannot play so well!!!

 


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