How To Prevent Neck Pain While Riding A Motorcycle? 5 Important Tips
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Riding a motorcycle is completely invigorating. Feeling the wind on your face, hearing the roar of the engine, smelling the hot asphalt on a summer day. For some, there's nothing better!
But, neck pain caused by riding a motorcycle might be holding you back.
Here, we're explaining how to prevent motorcycle neck pain and a few motorcycle postures that can help. By understanding proper body positioning and working with a physiotherapist, there's no need to suffer through neck pain from your motorbike ever again.
How to Prevent Neck Pain While Riding a Motorcycle
Before we get into specific motorcycle postures, here are five important tips for preventing neck pain, both on and off your motorcycle.
Stretching, in general, helps improve flexibility and mobility. Flexible muscles and mobile joints help prevent injuries.
When your body is able to adjust to sudden movements, like what you might experience riding a motorcycle, there's less of a chance that the muscle or joint gets pushed too far.
Similarly, stretching before, during breaks, and after a riding session helps loosen up the body after sitting in a stagnant position on your motorbike for too long.
Try some simple stretches like neck circles, forward folds, and arm swings to loosen up any tension in your neck and shoulders.
Adjust Your Posture
Even the smallest adjustments to your posture can make a big difference when it comes to motorcycle neck pain. Moving your hands slightly on the handlebars or adjusting your seat height can totally change your posture on the bike.
A few general tips for proper motorcycle posture:
- Place your hands on the handlebars so that your wrists are extended, and your elbows remain slightly bent.
- Adjust your seat so that your knees and hips are comfortable. Usually, this means creating a little less than a 90-degree angle with your feet on the footrests.
- Keep your neck in a comfortable, neutral position.
- Avoid hunching by keeping your shoulders back and away from your ears.
For more detailed posture recommendations, keep reading.
Proper hydration is key to optimal performance. Even the slightest levels of dehydration can cause muscle fatigue and slower reaction times.
Plus, water and electrolytes not only help fuel our muscles, but they also help lubricate our joints. So, even if it's not the middle of summer (but especially when it is), stay hydrated before, during, and after your ride.
Invest in Better Motorcycle Gear
Just like a runner invests in the best running shoes to prevent injuries, getting the proper motorcycle gear can actually help with neck pain and other aches caused by riding. Not to mention, the right padding can protect you from gnarly crashes or falls.
Light long-sleeved shirts help protect you from the sun while allowing your skin to breathe. It prevents water loss, keeping you more hydrated.
High-quality helmets are non-negotiable. But, you might also consider a helmet that fits perfectly and is made with strong, yet lightweight materials. A lighter helmet that fits properly puts less pressure on your neck while still protecting the goods.
See a Physiotherapist
Although riding a motorcycle isn't often looked at like a sport, it's an extremely physical activity. So, why not do what the athletes do when they're in pain? See a professional.
Physiotherapists can work with you to create a personalised treatment plan for your specific circumstances. They'll help you with posture, stretching, strengthening exercises, physical rehabilitation, and more.
Contact Physio Inq to connect with an expert local physiotherapist.
Three Motorcycle Postures
Improving your posture while riding your motorcycle can greatly improve neck pain. However, proper motorcycle posture depends on the type of motorcycle you ride and the size of your body compared to your motorcycle.
Here, we're going over standing riding posture, sport riding posture, and cruiser riding posture.
Standing Riding Posture
Standing, or upright, riding posture is when your back is upright while seated on your motorcycle. It's a neutral position that's similar to many other seated postures.
The neck and back should be straight with shoulders and elbows relaxed. In this position, you should be able to reach the handlebars easily, without reaching or overextending.
Your elbows should be slightly flexed and pointing away from your body with your forearms parallel to the ground.
For individuals with a smaller frame struggling to reach the handlebars, do your best to adjust the seat or handles to find this standing riding posture.
Sport Riding Posture
If you ride a sport motorcycle, there are ways to improve your posture. Leaning forward with your feet slightly behind your knees, this can be an intense position and not so great on your body.
However, by keeping your head extended, your forearms active and parallel to the ground, and your wrists mostly neutral, you can prevent unnecessary motorcycle neck pain.
At high speeds, this posture can be maintained for a while. However, at low speeds, it can put a lot of pressure on your lower back. Be sure to activate your core to counteract this intensity.
Overall, the sport riding posture is not ideal. Extending your head in this position can lead to headaches and your hands in this position on the handlebars can cause wrist pain.
So, if you're riding at low speeds, do your best to avoid this posture.
Cruiser Riding Posture
Similar to the standing riding posture, your back is upright and supported in the cruiser riding posture. The difference is that your hip to knee to ankle angle is wider, meaning your leg is slightly extended. In contrast, the standing riding posture, your leg forms about a 90-degree angle.
The handlebars on a cruiser motorcycle are slightly higher, the head is neutral and upright, and the hips and pelvis are relaxed in this posture. It's a comfortable position, especially when riding at low speeds.
At higher speeds, this posture requires you to lean slightly forward to counteract the air pressure. So, it can become quite tiring for your neck and abdominal muscles during faster rides.
To stay safe and prevent neck pain while riding your motorcycle, it's important to hold yourself in the proper posture of your choice.
Additionally, making sure to stretch before, during, and after a ride, staying hydrated, investing in high-quality gear, and seeing a physiotherapist can all help if you're experiencing motorcycle neck pain.
Learn more about how physiotherapy can help you and book your first appointment today!