A whopping 31 million Americans suffer from back pain, making it the single leading cause of disability. Now add that with long periods of sitting down with a tense posture and feeling every bump in the road. We are talking about back pain and riding a motorcycle.
Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating for many people. You can experience a sense of freedom and adrenaline release. However, it is also a cause of neck, shoulder and back pain. Because your posture on a bike is compensated, it could lead to a plethora of problems.
The problem is, how do you keep doing what you love, like riding a bike, without back pain stopping you from experiencing it? You don’t want to retire from doing things that make you happy, just because your back is putting up a protest.
Read on and learn a few things that you can do to deal with back pain and riding a motorcycle.
There are three main types of motorcycles, each with their own hand, foot and body positions. The Standard, Cruiser, and Sportbikes. They all have their own image, appeal, and comfort level, and it should match with what works best for you.
The standard motorcycle is typically for dual sports and touring. By default, your body is straight up with your hands directly above your feet. Your shoulders and elbows do not extend, adding to the comfortability.
The Standard motorcycle is possibly the best choice for longer rides because there is no hunch in your posture. Keeping your shoulders in a neutral position is the best way to prevent any stiffness and future postural problems.
The cruiser is the second best bike for comfortability after the Standard type. Your body is still straight, as well as your arms (depending on your handlebars). Your feet are slightly ahead of you, offering quite a bit less support to your back.
However, at faster speeds, there is a lot more tension in your chest, this causes you to lean forward, thus causing strain on the lower back.
The sports motorcycle forces your body to lean forward, causing your body to be under a large amount of stress. At accelerated speeds, your torso has to fight the wind pressure. At slower speeds, your wrists and lower spinal muscles take on most of the support for the body, causing pain in both the arms and lower back
The sports type motorcycle is not recommended for long rides because of the high amount of stress and tension on various parts of the body.
It all comes down to understanding what you are using the bike for. Some bikes may have more of an appealing image to you than others. Keep your health in mind when finding a bike, as it doesn’t appeal to anyone when it is stuck in the garage because it hurts too much to ride it!
Now let’s take a look at the adjustable parts of your motorcycle that can add to the comfort and longevity of your ride. Therefore you will not have to worry about back pain and riding a motorcycle.
When you purchase your bike, it will come with a stock seat, typically stock seats are not the highest quality and a bit uncomfortable. Go see a professional in your area that will do proper measurements and help you find a seat that is proper for you.
Even adding a supportive cushion can really help with the longevity of the ride and your life of riding.
The Foot Pegs
The slightest change in your foot peg position can make a world of a difference in your body posture. Just like the seats, look for an aftermarket peg that is best suited for your body.
Foot pegs should be close enough to the rider to properly support the legs. If they are too far away, the muscles in the leg have to work in overdrive to keep the legs from falling.
A huge percentage of motorbike riders have handlebars that are not at the right height level. This alone can make or break your ride. They are all made for the “average” height, which makes it too big or too small for an individual.
Incorrect handlebar placement can lead to hand numbness and tingling, neck and backaches. Make sure you get your handlebars measured perfectly to your height and posture or purchase a new handlebar altogether.
Go visit an ergonomic specialist that will help measure your seat, foot pegs, and handlebars. This is not something to ignore, otherwise, it could lead to back pain and lost riding time.
Lower Back Pain and Riding a Motorcycle
Visualize your spine as a bunch of bones held together by muscles and other attachments such as tendons and ligaments. The change of length in of any of these can affect the entire posture. This could eventually lead to bulged or herniated disks, pinched nerves, and other issues.
What You Can Do to Prevent Motorcycle Riding Injuries
Here are a few simple things you can do to minimize back pain when on your motorcycle.
If you sit all day for work, then sit on your bike for your commute, you must do some things to prevent back pain. Stretch before you get on your bike, and when you get off. If you have a long ride, make sure you take breaks with stretching in between.
Check to see if you are tensing your muscles while riding. If you are, try to relax your shoulders, do a couple neck rolls and visualize the tension releasing in your body.
Try a back brace
For back pain and riding a motorcycle, try a back brace. Many riders are reaping the benefits of little to no pain while wearing a brace.
If you feel back pain while riding a motorcycle, you need to get treatment before it gets any worse. This will prevent worse pain in the future, and keep you on the road.
Feel free to contact us to discuss what we can do to help you live the lifestyle you deserve.