Could Your Motorcycle Be Causing Your Back Pain?
Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
The summer weather means that it’s finally nice enough for motorcycle enthusiasts to take their Harley on a cross country roadtrip or up north for a weekend getaway. Because the riding season is shorter here in Minnesota than in other parts of the country, many motorcycle riders try to squeeze in as much riding as possible, and you may be surprised to learn that all this time on a bike can be harmful for your spine. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how motorcycle riding can cause problems for your spine and what you can do to prevent back problems during your ride.
Motorcycling Riding And Spine Problems
A standard motorcycle is designed to keep the rider’s spine in a fairly healthy position. The handlebars allow for you to reach them without leaning too far forward or bending down, and you’re generally forced to sit in an upright position when riding, which helps your spine distribute stress evenly throughout your body. That being said, even if your spine is in a healthy position, being on a bike for an extended period of time will take its toll on your back. Spinal muscles that are forced to stay in the same position for hours on end will weaken and can become overstressed from prolonged pressure. Try to break up your ride and move around a bit when stopped to help different muscle groups relax.
If you’re not riding a standard motorcycle, your back may start to hurt even sooner. If you’re riding a cruiser bike with the handlebars positioned up higher while you’re seated in a more reclined position, many riders end up developing upper spine soreness. This is because they tend to have a tighter grip when traveling at faster speeds, and this causes them to lean forward slightly, shifting stress onto the cervical portion of your neck. Again, limiting time spent in this position will help, as will trying to relax your grip and staying in a reclined position.
You’ll also want to make sure that no matter what type of bike you ride, your pegs are in a comfortable location. If they are too far out, your leg and hip muscles will put in extra work to keep them in the right location. This added stress can lead to unnecessary muscle fatigue in your lumbar spine. If your legs and hips feel stressed during your ride, take a look at your peg location and make sure they aren’t too far away.
Wear a Helmet
And finally, please make sure that you wear a helmet when you’re riding. While helmets are designed to protect your head and brain from trauma during a crash, they can also help to limit damage to your cervical spine. Thousands of riders are sent to emergency surgery every year as the result of head trauma after a motorcycle accident, and many times those injuries could have been reduced had their rider worn a helmet. Even if you consider yourself a very safe rider, all it takes is a teenager texting in their SUV or a deer to run out into the middle of the road to send you flying off your bike, so please, wear a helmet to protect your head, neck and spine.
So if you’re a motorcycle rider and you’re experiencing back pain, check your posture and your foot pegs, but if pain persists, pick up the phone and give Dr. Sinicropi and his experienced medical staff a call today.