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Drumming with psoriatic arthritis

cmd104cmd104 Posts: 18
edited 29. Nov 2011, 16:55 in Living with Arthritis archive
Have had psoriatic arthritis for about 10 years, predominantly in hands. Have the usual pitted and brittle nails....Not currently taking any meds for it. Diagnosis confirmed by rheumatologist. Most of the pain I've had has been in the centre of my hands which makes gripping things difficult from time to time. For example, I can have difficulty with knives and forks.... Writing with pens is also problematic but not to the point that I can't sign my name....

Anyways, I did a degree in music with percussion as my weapon of choice. I pretty much gave up playing as my hands got so sore when playing. I might have been practising for up to 6 hours a day at that time. During my time at university, I quit playing for a year to see if things would settle down. After this time, I got a new teacher and worked on rebuilding my technique.....Things improved slightly, but not enough to play continually at a high level. At that time in my life, I thought that Music would be my career in some shape and so I was gutted when I realised that I would not be a professional. Anyways, 8 years on and a friend has approached me about playing in a band....

Any of you good people got any advice on how I could get back into playing?


  • SheilaDSheilaD Posts: 201
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Firstly Hi and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry dont know much about anything as all this is new to me just been diagnosed with RA and still learning. I am sure someone will be along to help you out.
    They are a great bunch of people on here. :grin:

    Love n hugs
  • cmd104cmd104 Posts: 18
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Shiela :-) I should also say that i've been fortunate enough not to need to take drugs to manage- I did have celebrex a number of years ago, and also at one point brufen, but i had to take other drugs to tolerate the drugs, so i stopped all that as my stomach was in pieces with it.
  • lovemypjslovemypjs Posts: 10
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi, I too have recently joined here, and I also have psoratic arthritis. Just been diagnosed. Mine is mainly in my right hand, and foot, with mild psorisis on my forehead. Don't know how you've managed so long without meds, amazing.

    I have no idea how to advise you with the drumming. But if you get really stuck, my neighbours are all musicians so I can always ask them.

    Shona x
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there, cmd104. Welcome to the forum.

    You have a rather unusual question there. I'm presuming you mean how do you hold the drumsticks comfortably? The usual way to make stuff easier on the hands is to make whatever is to be held thicker but I don't know if that'd work for drumming as, presumably, you need quite a lot of sensitivity in your hands. If you think it might there would be several ways of doing it. Disability shops sell foam handled cutlery - you might be able to adapt the foam handle. Or just wrapping something round. Might playing in gloves help your grip?

    What worries me is that you say you are on no meds and that means your PA has free rein. Disease Modifying meds do just that - they hold the disease back and help to prevent deformity. I do understand your former problems with the meds but there are usually ways round things. Some on here inject the meds.

    Anyway, good luck with the drumming. It sounds fun.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • cmd104cmd104 Posts: 18
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Yes sticky, that's exactly it. I know that whenever I try to play again, i might manage 10-15 mins before it hurts like h*ll again.
    I've thought about going to get some sort of foam, and trying to add it to the sticks....
    As for the meds, in my ignorance, i didnt think that the PA would/could spread, i've had a knee problem for 10+ years, that is osteochondritis, so i've never thought that the two could be linked or anything.
    It's been so long since I;ve been at GP for it (PA), is it worth going back for some sort of check up? In the past i've had flare ups of it, but by the time i get a GP appt, it's gone, or 'there's nothing in the blood'

    Thanks Shona also :-)
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Another thought - maybe just wrapping thick string round?

    About the meds. PA is an auto-immune disease and they really do need meds to keep them under control, though you may have got lucky up to now. There are lots about. Yes, you may well have to take another pill to protect your stomach - I have done for years - but it's better than letting the PA do its own thing.

    I really do think you should not only see your GP but also a rheumatologist. In fact, if you go to your GP he/she will almost certainly suggest that, as GP's can't prescribe the disease modifying drugs. If you are afraid of things being perfectly OK by the time you get there, what we usually suggest to prople is to take photos when it is bad. Also note exactly where/when any pain and/or swelling is.

    I do hope you can get it under control and really enjoy your drumming.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • arfaitisarfaitis Posts: 155
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Cmd, you obviously want to do it, I say go for it and cross each bridge as it comes.
    I would suggest it is holding the sticks which is your biggest problem, try adapting a pair of nice kid gloves with different types of loops to suit you, and then go for it.
    Maybe you could get someone to modify things for you, sticks gloves etc. if it makes you happy it also is making you better in my eyes, enjoy.
    Make sure you eat the right diet etc. and maybe just maybe this might help to make your skin get better.
    Shame to suppress such talent, I think the more you play the better you will feel
    But take very great care.

  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Arthritis restricts us, plain and simple. It matters not what form it takes, the more it spreads, the greater its grip, the more we lose ours. I spent a merry day yesterday dropping everything, I broke one nearly full jar of coffee, after sweeping that and the glass up I then dropped an open two pinter of milk. I cleared that up. Later, when washing up I sent two glasses flying and then dropped a mug when drying that up. Today I am paying the price for all the vacuuming and dustpan action that was necessitated by my damn hands not doing what they should: they are newly affected and I am not up to speed in adjusting mhy life to cope.

    Meds-wise I guess you have been fortunate so far but as sticky says PA (my version too, plus OA caused by the PA damage) is an auto-immune type and therefore cannot be 'controlled' by luck, diet or prayer alone. I began my PA with troublesome knees and over the years the restrictions have increased in number, the only gained freedom being more time to do less and less. You mentioned osteochondritis dissecans: there's another chap on here who had that in his teens and is now developing an inflammatory arthritis, it would appear to go with the territory.

    I hope you can drum but don't be surprised if you can't - or at least not for very long. Arthritis glories in spoiling our lives so consider fighting back with some medication, don't let it have all its own way. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • frogmortonfrogmorton Posts: 26,187 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00

    what a great question there!

    If l were yo l would get some of that foam stuff you can buy for pipes to make the sticks easier to hold and look at wrist supports for you.

    Then try a bit a day and build up. Not only the PA will be a problem, but remember when you were a kid learning?? Muscles will be out of practsie too!!

    Hey do let us knwo how you get on.


    Toni xx

    Toni xxx
  • cmd104cmd104 Posts: 18
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    WOW! I didnt not expect to get such a range or replies! there are some things here that I didnt even consider! Sometimes I've dropped things, like glasses just falling out of my hand which I've put down to clumsiness.

    Im not to sure what an inflamatory arthritis is? With regards to the Osteochondritis Dissecans, i've already been under the knife 3 times to 'fix' it. The last time was just over a year ago and i'm still getting over it. Have lost a lot of range of motion to the point were I can't get out of the shower if I lead with the affected knee, i just can't get out. It's fine on the other side for now.

    Maybe i've been a bit naive, in terms of that I've managed to keep the psorasis at bay, so my knuckles and hands arent bad at the moment. So i've figured that everything must be ok.

    You guys, really have a lot of knowledge here! Thanks for all your help
  • arfaitisarfaitis Posts: 155
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Cmd I googled your disabled drummers problem and found many drummers who are disabled who actually play quite well, they were all on Youtube.
    They all had different disabilities, you might like to take a look, I see one had something wrapped round his sticks to make them thicker, like someone has already suggested.

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