Advice for rider with low back injury

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by smokeeater495, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. smokeeater495

    smokeeater495 Been here awhile

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    I am 46 years old and constantly deal with a 25yo low back injury. Basically the disk at my L5 is shot. I am fortunate that through physical fitness and my chiropractor I am able to keep working as a firefighter. I experience some pain and stiffness on longer rider, over 2 hours.
    Are there any others out there with similar issues and how have you dealt with it?
    #1
  2. justcountry04

    justcountry04 Been here awhile

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    in a word, drugs. I am also a 38 yo firefighter, and have screwded up my c-4 and 5 at work , and on a few hr rides with the wind constantly blowing my helmet and straining those joints, it kills me. I refuse to stop riding, but i try and stop often and stretching helps a bit but eventually I take a half of a percocet just to ease it where i can concentrate on riding again. I hate it but I only have to take one 2 or 3 times a month so just my 2 cents.
    #2
  3. VStromTom

    VStromTom Long timer

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    I have 4 herniated discs, L3L4, L4L5, L5S1, and a cervical. No surgeries but epidurals worked great so far. These were full blown herniations, not just back strains. Watch your posture, look up Master Yoda Riding Position, do your therapy, make sure your seat is wide enough to keep your ass cheeks from being off center too far but have support. Work on core strengthening the most, planking is by far the best, and if you are a fatty, like me, dump the pounds which affect your sitting posture. I was lucky in all of this, hope you are too.
    #3
  4. baloneyskin daddy

    baloneyskin daddy bikaholic

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    What are you riding? If I ride anything that has me sitting straight upright or lounging like a cruiser my back will be shot in an hour or two. I also can't take clipons any longer,so I've fitted both my long distance rides with dirtbike style bars with just a slight forward lean so my arms carry a little of the load and can virtually ride forever as long as it isn't highway droning.
    #4
  5. Smoke Eater 3

    Smoke Eater 3 Been here awhile

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    I'm also a 46 y/o Firefighter. Many minor back tweaks over the years add up but I manage to keep loose by doing Tai Chi regularly. When I ride I try to stop often. I keep a camera in my pocket which encourages me to stop.
    #5
  6. Muddobber

    Muddobber Adventurer

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    Lots of chiro care when my back flares up, old injury. Dont sit too long. I stand some when I ride the DR 650. That helps me the most. Wider seats work wonders.
    #6
  7. BobPS

    BobPS Been here awhile

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    I have lower back problem since 1999, I'm 43 btw. It got really bad at one point in 2006 IIRC, that I stopped riding for a whole year. It's better now and I only experience the pain every now and then... but I still have this slight numbness on the little toe of my left foot.

    I do weight lifting to strenghten the muscle. I do the basic compound exercises with barbell, like squat, deadlift, press, bench press, and pulldown.

    In addition to exercise, the riding position affects the lower back. In my case, the riding position on my Ducati Monster is much better for my lower back than my Sportster.

    On the Sportster, the sitting position is upright so that when I ride, I often slouch and bend my lower back. On the Monster my riding position is different. I sit slightly leaning forward ...I keep my weight off the handlebar .. this position makes me keep my lower back slighly arched. It's a much, much better position than bend lower back.

    I never experience any pain or stiffness after long ride on my Monster, and I experienced much less frequent lower back pain now. During this 10 months I have the Monster, I only have lower back pain once. It was several weeks ago, and it's because I spent the whole day on sunday sitting in front of my computer reading Colebatch's Sibirsky Extreme report :D

    So in my case, what helps me was weight lifting and riding position that leans forward.
    #7
  8. VStromTom

    VStromTom Long timer

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    FWI, as asked, bikes are a KLR650, a DL650, and an R1100RT. Ride all three bikes alot. Did the Continental Divide trail from border to border on the KLR and also rode it half way cross country on highways to CA and back, take the other bikes on long trips each year. What I watch for is to keep my feet under me, not stretched out on highway pegs, and make sure the foot pegs are not high so I don't sit with my knees higher than my hips. Try not to slouch and ride with a light grip on the bars. Some bikes I like the looks of I can automatically tell right off that the riders lean or foot position would kill my back. Hope this helps someone else, works for me.
    #8
  9. OctaneC8H18

    OctaneC8H18 Every Road Leads Somewhere

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    I've had back problems for over 30 years including degenerative L5-S1 and surgically repaired L4-L5. I recommend the Back-A-Line belt. Here is a Motorcycle Consumer News review of it on their website: http://www.backaline.com/products/driving-riding/
    #9
  10. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    I'm a believer, but only after I tried it.. it extends my riding day and does so in comfort.
    #10
  11. HeatXfer

    HeatXfer Bad knees

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    Have any of you looked into artificial disks? There have been some truly amazing advances made in the last few years.

    Follow this link. Check the links at the bottom of the page
    #11
  12. smokeeater495

    smokeeater495 Been here awhile

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    I was thinking something along the lines of an old style "kidney belt" would work. This looks like just the ticket. Thanks to all for the quick responses.
    #12
  13. Dr. John

    Dr. John Adventurer

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    Just had L5/ S1 trimmed last week. I found after my first cut in 98 that the most comfortable position is a slight cant forward ala the K100 RS, FJ 1200, or the like. If you try a lower set of bars ( superbike style) on the Strom you may like it, and it's a lot cheaper than shopping for a new ride. Although that's not such a bad thing either. Good luck with the back, but 46 seems to be about the time I was no longer invincible either, so remember you're not. My memory sucks,hence cut #4 last week.
    #13
  14. Gadget Girl

    Gadget Girl Been here awhile

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    When I was looking at getting a new bike once I asked my Physical Therapist what I should get as I have a bad back. (sorry not familiar with all the L and C and such type jargon)

    She explained that the recumbent riding position of cruiser style bikes puts the jarring of the road bed right into the spine. BAD

    The more forward lean angle of a Sport Touring bike (not a full on sport bike) actually works the muscles of the lower back to strengthen them. I'm anecdotal proof that it helps. My VFR800 is my primary transportation as well as my touring and weekend fun ride. My ex also took my experience into consideration when he bought another bike. He got a Ninja 650 for his commuter. His back has improved considerably as well!

    Good luck! Hope this helps.
    #14
  15. seniorasi

    seniorasi Banned

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    Due to injuries suffered in a car accident in 1971 the surgeon removed a disk and fused the vertebrae. While back problems have plagued me since then I've attempted to ignore it, which used to work most of the time. Added to that were heart problems that ended my career in aviation several years ago. The lack of exercise was killing me. I've been using pain killers and muscle relaxers recently to deal with it. Motorcycling is the only real exercise I can do these days and that is limited. I'll try the back brace thing while riding to see if it helps.

    Just knowing you're not alone makes it a little easier...
    #15
  16. Glock owner

    Glock owner Bad Example

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    Try hanging upside down. I've been doing it for several years now. In 2007 my back was killing me after some work related issues and a car accident. I bought an inversion table and at first there was pain hanging upside down and it was several months before I saw a positive improvement. Now I rarely have back pain. When I do experience LBP it was after moving ~80, 110 LB patio stones or some other strenuous job. I work as an x-ray tech, so slugging pulling and pushing incapacitated obese patients happens almost daily with no pain.
    #16
  17. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    L2-L3 herniated, and T5-T7 fused. I'm with Gadget Girl, sport touring ergos are the most comfy for me. I could put a ton of miles with very little discomfort on my Busa. My GS was one of the worst, seemed like all the pressure was sitting on my lower back.
    #17
  18. smokeeater495

    smokeeater495 Been here awhile

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    Again, thanks for all the replys. Pain meds are not the direction I want to go. I do have an inversion table and it REALLY makes a difference. My current ride, a 2010 Triumph Tiger 1050, is probably the most comfortable street bike I've owned. I've had 2 Harley dressers and they killed by back. The legs forward position opened up the muscles in my low back, not good. My next bike will most likely be a GS, I would think it's ergo's are similar to the Tiger.
    #18
  19. prince_ruben

    prince_ruben Long timer

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    Constant stretching, Acupuncture and new the new Ducati/Audi 3 wheeler.
    #19
  20. baloneyskin daddy

    baloneyskin daddy bikaholic

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    I also have a 1050 Tiger and found the stock bars were too high and fit a set of MSR dirt bike bars which lowered the height about 2 inches .
    #20