INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Tabla Forum: Arm Pain from Playing Tabla


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Arm Pain from Playing Tabla Aug 25, 2002 08:29 p.m.

Hi Everybody!

Whenever I play a heavy dose of ti-ra-ki-ta, my forearm and upper arm start hurting. A friend of mine who is a good tabla player recommends using wrist weights. He says even Zakir Hussain uses them ( Zakir supposedly told him that). Does anyone know about using wrist weights? What can I do to minimize the pain? Any exercises?


Re:Arm Pain from Playing Tabla Aug 26, 2002 05:42 a.m.

Use Super Ice care. There is that kind of product available at least here in Finland. It's pretty much the same as using ice or something cold for the injury. It's a cool lotion

I don't know about wrist weights. Drummer Dennis Chambers uses extra heavy sticks for his technical workouts. Every drummer that attended one of his workshop found those too heavy and they may cause injuries as well.
Its' a personal thing. It may help some people.
I believe in different wrist movement exercises and indurance that comes with it. It has worked for me so far.

Re:Arm Pain from Playing Tabla Aug 26, 2002 08:59 a.m.


It's important to be able to judge the difference from muscle fatigue pain (because you're working hard on something your muscles are not yet used to), or the something is wrong (STOP!) kind of pain.

It's normal that as you're building up strength and speed on any instrument that you may feel some sort of pain... but you have to know which kind of pain it is, and react accordingly.

If it's the second kind of pain, you have to be very careful! You may want to consult with a sports doctor for advice on how to proceed.


Re:Arm Pain from Playing Tabla Aug 26, 2002 09:02 a.m.

Hi again

And on the issue of weights, I strongly reccomend against it. What you need to work is accuracy, speed, and efficiency of movement - you need your brain to create more neural pathways for these new movements.

Playing tabla is not about brute strength...

And, working with weights is dangerous in terms of developing tendonitis, etc...


Re:Arm Pain from Playing Tabla Aug 27, 2002 12:53 p.m.

I second the recommendation to not mess around with weights too much. I've had this type of problem for years with excessive typing coupled with playing classical guitar and indian percussion instruments. Here are some suggestions based upon what worked for me:

1. Learn some stretching exercises to keep the muscles in your forearm and hands from cramping up. In this regard, musicians should learn from those who know how to avoid sports injuries. The muscles in the hands and arms do a lot of work and they need to be stretched and massaged (if possible).

2. A good chiropractor may help if your wrist or elbow is getting out of alignment. It helps me.

3. I find that Hatha Yoga is immensely helpful, especially poses like downward-dog or handstands. Hatha Yoga is the science of stretching and strengthening the body, and that applies to hands, arms, shoulders, back, hips, etc. All of these will affect your playing if you are carrying too much tension in your body.

4. Learn how to play relaxed. Eliminate all tension in your body. Go back to basics if need be. The tension will get you in the end!

5. Learn how to breathe correctly. The inability to breathe will create tension all over your body, and the breath is your most powerful ally in clearing the tension.


Re:Arm Pain from Playing Tabla Aug 28, 2002 11:48 p.m.

Zakirda does not use weights while practicing . that's pure BS . All the comments Shawn and the others made are correct . It's a dangerous idea. Your problem comes from the way you are playing . Your hand must be and remain relaxed.
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