Back problems


Recommended Posts

I searched around some, so I think this topic hasn't really been addressed yet here.

I marched snare for two years in high school, both marching band and in winter drumline. During this, and since then (that was 6 years ago and I'm 21 now), I've had significant and near constant discomfort in my back. Been to several doctors, etc., and it seems that I have a few slightly buldged discs and possibly the early onset of some slight bone loss from inflammation caused by the stress of these discs and from some of my vertebrae 'locking up' (says the chiropractor, at least, if you believe that sort of stuff).

Anyway, my point is...does anybody know if this is really addressed in the percussion world? These instruments do weigh a lot, and marching with them puts even more strain on the back. I know there are people who march snare for 5-10 years (more?) and don't really have any problems. Do some instructors worry about this, especially on teenagers? Has drum weight been addressed?

Thanks...

Link to post
Share on other sites

During PASIC last year, there was a seminar on health and wellness for percussionists...they addressed a lot of wrist/hand problems and also addressed some back issues.

I had stress fractures to me 6th and 7th thoracic vertebrae due to marching tenors my freshman year in high school when I was still a small framed person (I'm female). I didn't find out that my discomfort was due to those fractures until my senior year when I went to the chiropractor and had x-rays. The fractures had already healed but I was still having some discomfort. My chiropractor recommended certain back strengthening exercises for my muscles and this has helped TREMENDOUSLY.

Its now almost 10 years since I was in high school and I'm a full time percussion instructor now. When I'm choosing placement on my drumlines I take the physical stature of the kid into effect. Just this year, I had an extremely talented freshman who had the chops to play snare, but he was too short (we were going to have to saw some inches off of his carrier) and I was fearful of serious, longterm damage to his spine if I let him march then. I made the decision to put him on top bass and I just wrote hella notes for him so that he could still max out his chops and potential. He ended up being happy with the decision even though it took MANY conversations with him and his parents in order to explain my decision. He's growing and getting stronger and I'm sure taht next year he will be able to carry the snare without hurting himself.

So yeah, hopefully all perc. instructors take this into account.

But some helpful tips:

Practice good posture...make sure your torso is straight while playing/carrying your drum or keyboard.

Maintain your flexibility by doing back stretches EVERY DAY when you wake up. Remember, it isn't a stretch unless you stretch the areas for atleast 30 seconds while taking deep breaths.

Be smart...when your back starts to hurt, take some time off if you're able to do that. Hopefully your instructor appreciates the benefits of using stands everyonce in a while (especially for tenors).

Keyboard players need to also make sure that they maintain good posture while playing...a lot of them tend to become hunched over, that isn't necessary to have a good quality of sound on the instrument.

Good luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good points, front. Thanks. And it's good to hear you take the health and development of your pupils seriously.

When I was playing snare, we did stretch, but only the arms and legs, he unfortunately never had us do back stretches. Posture is indeed important, but even with good posture, you're adding quite a bit of weight on your spine vertically, which is still not good, and with snares and tenors, the drum is no where near your center of gravity. This just worries me, that's all. Why do these drums weigh so much anyway...

Link to post
Share on other sites

After 2 back operations and about 11 years marching snare and tenors...I can say from personal experience that it does happen. I actually went to a sports doctor first and he was very familiar with the issue.

Erich

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
Just this year, I had an extremely talented freshman who had the chops to play snare, but he was too short (we were going to have to saw some inches off of his carrier) and I was fearful of serious, longterm damage to his spine if I let him march then.

That's funny that you talk about sawing inches off the carrier because that's definitely what they did to my harness. We use the T-bar yahama carries, and a good portion was cut off, so that the snare would fit better. So far, well for three years, I haven't had any back problems at all. I'm not sure how tall he is, but I'm 4'10. I think if he wants to play snare bad enough, he'll learn to carry it. That's what I had to do. Just my two cents.

-Jackie-

Link to post
Share on other sites

I marched tenors for 4 years in junior corps from age 14-17.

I'm going to offer a different perspective on stands though. In 1998, my corps ordered tenor stands for us, which arrived promptly at the corps hall the following September. For that whole summer, if we were playing we were carrying, warmup, sections, ensemble, parking lot, everywhere. Our backs were so strong by the second week of tour, we had little back pain, we were tired but not overly sore. Strangely, during the summers for which I had a stand, I also had more back pain.

I've found that dependence on a stand leads to weaker back muscles, which causes poor posture, and poor posture combined with the weight of the drums is what causes the most damage. Stands can also lead to bad technique, as your upper body can move independently of the drums. This entices you to turn your body rather than move your arms to reach the drums, something which you can't do on the field.

Don't get me wrong, stands are nice, but I think they have a time and a place, and should be considered a privilege, not a right.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 15 years later...

Im a freshman who plays snare and me being short the belly plate lays on my hips and is causing discomfort in my upper back and shoulders. my director doesn't want to saw it do you know if there is any other way to shorten it without altering it. (i have it as short as it can go with a drum key and screwdriver) i have the pearl J bar harness 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Having marched tymp in 1976 for 1/2 season... Back problems to this day... YOGA Stretches help a lot...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.