As I started taking lessons for the first time in many years, I was immediately reminded of my right hand dominance. With what seems to be a weaker and less coordinated left hand, I’m challenged by rudiments. Probably nothing out of the ordinary for drummers, and I know that there are exercises and techniques that I’ll soon be using to overcome this particular challenge; however, I accidentally discovered something else that will likely help me in my quest for developing close to equal strength and coordination for both hands. About three weeks ago, I noticed a recurring pain in my left arm. A quick search shows that it’s likely the pain has been specific to the flexor carpi radialis muscle. Here’s the site I used to make this determination.
Luckily, I see a chiropractor who helps me with all kinds of physical maladies, including wrist, knee, ankle, and of course back pain. While I may sound like a physical wreck, given this list, I assure you that I’m in good health. Funny thing is that age has made me more prone to injury, aches and pains. Age has also made me acutely aware of when things aren’t right with my body. Having a short list of things I wanted to see my chiropractor about, I was hopeful she’d have insight and remedy for my arm.
None of this had anything to do with my drumming challenges. At least that’s what I thought. In evaluating my left arm complaint, my chiropractor did a quick test on the pinky and ring fingers of my left and right hands, noting that both fingers on my left hand were particularly weaker than those on my right hand. Apparently the difference in strength was somewhat pronounced. In short, after a little more testing, a few minutes of cool-laser therapy, and a neck adjustment, the arm pain was significantly decreased, and consequently the left hand finger strength dramatically improved. Could this be contributing to my rudiment practice frustration? Of course, I grabbed a pair of sticks shortly after my chiropractor visit. I did in fact notice a slight difference. While I don’t think there was a magic bullet in the treatment I received, I’m understandably curious about the physical state of my left arm and hand, and the nerves that serve them. I’ll definitely be monitoring my efforts while practicing, and will also have a follow-up visit about the issue with my chiropractor.
The moral of this post? Perhaps there’s just one more reason to pay attention to our bodies as drummers. Especially if your a gigging drummer like me. One never knows when a seemingly slight physical ailment might be creating challenges in your playing ability.