How to Prevent Lower Back Pain from Drumming

How to Prevent Lower Back Pain from Drumming

Back pain from drumming is a fairly common thing that drummers get when they don’t consistently keep good posture. It can be easy to forget about, as your body quickly gets used to positioning itself in a way that feels comfortable at the time.

Unfortunately, lower back pain can lead to serious physical injury over time, so it’s something that you should always be cautious of. 

In this article, I’ll give you a few tips on preventing lower back pain from drumming. If you keep all of these in mind, you should have a long and healthy drumming career. 

Proper Posture at the Drum Kit

Proper Posture at the Drum Kit

Seat Height

One of the biggest causes of lower back pain in drummers is incorrect drum throne height. 

When your drum throne is too low, you end up overusing your legs to play the pedals, and that often leads to stress on your lower back. When your drum throne is too high, you’ll end up slouching as the drums are too low in front of you. 

You have to set your drum throne height in relation to how it feels for your leg to play the bass drum pedal. You should be sitting high enough so that your leg isn’t at a 90-degree angle, but you shouldn’t be too high so that it feels like you’re standing.

By doing this, you’ll relieve a lot of unnecessary strain on your lower back. It will also make the drum kit feel easier to play. 

Drum and Cymbal Height

Once your drum throne height is set, you should also be careful of how you place the drums and cymbals. It’s all about creating an ergonomic space for your body’s movements to feel very natural. If things don’t feel natural, that’s when injuries come. 

So, make sure to place your drums close enough so that you don’t need to extend yourself to reach any of them. Your cymbals should also be at a reasonable height that isn’t too far above your shoulders. 

When drummers have their drum and cymbal placements at wrong heights and angles, they tend to raise or lower their drum thrones to compensate, and that’s one of the worst things you can do for your lower back. 

Sitting Straight

How to Prevent Lower Back Pain from Drumming

If your lower back hurts from drumming, one of the biggest causes is that you’re not sitting upright at the drum kit. Most drum thrones don’t have backrests, so it’s up to you to support your weight and not slouch.

If you slouch your shoulders and round your back, you shift all the focus to your lower back, and sitting like that repeatedly will lead to pain over time. 

Good posture at the drum kit is when you keep a forward curve in your lower back and you roll your shoulders back to avoid shoulder pain as well.  

The best ways to make sure that you’re sitting straight at the kit are to constantly record yourself drumming and to play in front of a mirror so that you can always check yourself for poor posture. 

Some drummers like using thrones with a back rest, but you need to be able to support yourself without one, as you won’t always be able to play with one. 

Strengthen Your Core Muscles

Exercise Your Abdominal Muscles

If you’re someone who plays drums for hours, sitting on a throne can take a toll on your body. Another good way of ensuring that you have good posture is by exercising core muscles. 

The stronger your core is, the longer you’ll be able to stay in a seated position comfortably. 

Many drummers regularly work out, and it’s something I suggest that everyone does to keep their bodies healthy. 

You don’t need to lift weights to gain muscle. You just need to strengthen your muscles so that they become more proficient at performing certain tasks, and strengthening your core will help you drastically with drumming posture. 

You should make sure to do lower back exercises in your workouts as well to strengthen your lower back muscles, as many people primarily focus on their abs. 

Most core workouts can be done with no gym equipment, so you can even do them anywhere in your home. 

Consider Doing Yoga or Pilates

Yoga and Pilates are two formal forms of exercise that directly work on your core muscles. These are excellent for drummers, as they do an amazing job of preventing lower back pain. 

You’ll find many drummers with lower back pain endorsing yoga and Pilates, as they helped them relieve pain from years of bad posture at the kit. 

I also recommend these as you typically do them in a group setting, and that will keep you accountable for going and maintaining your body health. 

Make Sure to Stretch

Your body often stores tension in certain areas after a while, and that often hits your lower back. Since drumming is such a physically demanding instrument, it’s always a good idea to stretch before playing.

You’ll see a lot of professional drummers doing stretches before major gigs, as going all out on stage in front of a crowd often has a toll on the body. So, stretching is always good, and it can help prevent lower back pain from drumming. 

Here are a few back stretches for drummers: 

Use a Good Drum Throne

Something that many drummers don’t realize is that certain drum thrones are terrible for your back. Cheaper drum thrones aren’t designed with ergonomics in mind, so you’ll often find that drummers with back pain are the ones that are still playing drums with thrones that came with their first entry-level drum set. 

You’ll be surprised at how much more comfortable it is to play the drums while sitting on a high-quality throne

So, think about getting a high-end throne, and your lower back will thank you for it in the long run. 

Be Careful When Transporting Your Drums

Some lower back pain doesn’t even come from when drummers sit at the drums. It often comes from the way they carry them when they’re playing gigs. Moving drums around is one of the worst parts of being a drummer, but it’s also a potential cause of injury in many cases. 

Drum gear stored in cases and bags can be very heavy, and you need to be careful about how you bend to pick the gear up.

If you lean over without bending your knees, all the weight will go to your lower back, and you’ll develop pain over time from constantly picking things up like that. 

Always make sure to bend your knees and use your legs to drive the weight instead of using your back. 

The bass drum and the hardware case are the two heaviest things to move, so be extra careful when carrying those around. 


A final word of caution on this topic is to never ignore back pain. If your back is hurting, you should do something about it before it turns into something a lot worse. 

Try stretching and fixing your posture. Also, give exercise structures like yoga and Pilates a go. Those methods should be enough to help prevent most forms of lower back pain. A good drum throne will also help with better posture. 

If you’re still feeling pain after having the correct posture, be sure to go see a medical professional who can give you advice. 

Chronic back pain is one of the worst injuries someone can have, as it affects every area of your life. There are a few drummers out there who can’t sit at a drum kit anymore because of it, and that’s something we should all avoid. 

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