Neck pain and distance riding

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by rusche, May 5, 2018.

  1. rusche

    rusche Adventurer

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    Im curious for some opinions. Im a scrawny ass dude, 5'9'' 135 lbs. Thing that bothers me most on longer rides (500+ miles) is my neck.
    Lightweight 3/4 helmet has helped delay the pain. But the older I get the more I prefer to wear a full face for the protection, but it seems to cause pain sooner. My bike offers good wind protection, wind hits middle/top of forehead, it seems to do mostly with helmet weight rather than wind.
    Anybody deal with anything similar? I regularly use a neck machine at my local gym. Well see if it helps. After a long ride it becomes very distracting, I find myself constantly rolling my neck on the bike to stay comfortable.
    Any tips to find more comfort? Or screw the FF and stick to the 3/4?
    #1
  2. DavidR8

    DavidR8 Wanna-be ADV rider

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    What are you riding?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  3. Knuckle Buster

    Knuckle Buster Been here awhile

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    I only get neck pain if hunched over on a sport bike having to ''look up'' to see ahead. On an upright cruiser with open face helmet and windshield I'm fine. I'm 132 pounds myself.
    #3
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  4. rusche

    rusche Adventurer

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    St1100. Heli-bars w/ risers. Clearview large sheild. Riding position is rather upright with bar configuration
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  5. okennon

    okennon Been here awhile

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    How committed are you to riding? How committed are you to riding pain free?
    Develop a simple program of neck isometrics. When you sit down to breakfast...sit down to follow the news....hell..sit down to shit.
    I'm almost 70 with my share of arthur and scar tissue but I refuse to let simple nagging pain ruin a good ride. My 2ยข worth.
    #5
  6. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    Next time you ride, see if you are holding your head and neck still, in one position for long periods of time. If so, you need to learn to relax, change head and neck positions frequently, make it a habit to look around, and maintain a relaxed posture.

    It's a different version of the "death grip" on the handlebars. Keep the neck and head loose, and mobile.
    #6
  7. ivantheterrible

    ivantheterrible Long timer

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    similar to the prophet's post, make sure you're not tensing/shrugging your shoulders. I've got that problem and I constantly have to remind myself not to do it.
    Also, was the 'neck machine' that you use at the gym recommended/ demonstrated by a physical therapist? Have you gone to a physical therapist or MD about it? I have neck pains that can only be held at bay by doing the neck exercises demonstrated to me by my PT. Has kept me off the surgeon's table for 5 years now.
    #7
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  8. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Been here awhile

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    I am not a petite guy, nor a distance rider, more of an old tall fat ass (6'1" and 235). I have my windshield adjusted to where the wind clears the top of my helmet by a 2 or 3 inches. I couldn't stand the wind on my helmet. I would first work on getting the wind off the helmet.

    I find the best thing for riding, specifically for back and neck pain is yoga. Most of the daily yoga I do matches the PT when I blew a disc years ago. When I was doing PT it seemed like work. When I switched to Yoga, doing much the same exercises as PT, it was like meditation. If you take a class, or just watch videos, the scenery isn't bad either (young fit women in tights).
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  9. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

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    I have a friend with a Suzuki Burgman. Riding position is upright, much like yours on the ST1100. His doctor is recommending he quit riding.

    They did an MRI on his neck and found the vertebrae were slipping forward over each other. I'd go see a doctor (not us!) and have them do some tests.

    BTW, my friend is only about 58.
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  10. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

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    I have a fairly heavy helmet. I generally wear a Leatt neck brace for protection and I've noticed that it helps prop up the helmet. When I don't wear it, the weight of the helmet becomes very noticeable and eventually a literal pain in the neck. Maybe a brace could help you.
    #10
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  11. sleazy rider

    sleazy rider Retired

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    Roll your head/neck and rotate your shoulders every 10-15 minutes, followed by stretching your legs and hips. I find after a couple days in the saddle on long rides (>500 miles/day), my shoulder tension and neck pain disappear and I feel better for about a week or so after getting home.
    #11
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  12. VanXR

    VanXR nOOb/NooB/noob/NOob/NOOB/

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    This^^
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  13. Sugra

    Sugra Been here awhile

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    Maybe have your neck x-rayed. I was having some neck pain about 10 years ago. Couldn't ride a mountain bike because of the pain. Got an x-ray which revealed some degenerative disc disease in my neck. Did about 6 physical therapy sessions where they put me on a machine that slowly and gradually stretched (elongated) my neck over about 20 minutes. Haven't had a problem since.
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  14. PaulTim2000

    PaulTim2000 Been here awhile

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    I was going to suggest the opposite to some of the previous posters, try binning the screen (or reducing it). If you're sitting in what feels like a still pocket of air you'll probably find the wind is pushing on the back of the helmet. Try a ride with he screen much lower so the wind hits the front of the helmet and see if the force being applied from a different direction changes your posture and how you use your neck and shoulder muscles. Worked for me when I had a CB1300 with a touring screen, reduced the screen size and, counterintuitively, it became more comfortable. Then I sold it and bought a Guzzi Stelvio which I find comfortable for 500+ mile runs.
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  15. jeffmackvision

    jeffmackvision Boob man

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    I dealt with the same thing for a few years.... progressively got worse and developed some numbness in my left arm/hand. 2 years ago had a c6-c7 neck fusion best thing I ever did, ride all day and no pain. weakness in arm/hand is gone. I also purchased a Shark Spartan Carbon Helmet...lightest I could fine, great lid.
    #15
  16. dtysdalx2

    dtysdalx2 PITA but useful

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    Just got done with all of this. Cost me $1200 in PT.

    Anyway, the spine has normal curves. F**k with them and you get pinched nerves. I was slouching, DON'T. I have to stick my chest out and hold my head up high while riding to get normal curves back. Usually you want to keep your head down and shoulders high. Avoid this.
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  17. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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  18. GiddyThump

    GiddyThump Been here awhile

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    Do you have a peak/visor on your helmet?
    #18
  19. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    My neck occasionally gets stiff after long 12+ hour days. Dialing in ergonomics so you don't hunch/tense your shoulders helps. I have a nerve near the C5 which sometimes gets pinched. A good physical therapist helped me one time when no one else (a chiropracter and 2 doctors) couldn't. I just got a new full face DOT certified off road helmet that is amazingly light at less than 3 lbs - a Suomy MX Jump. The weight feels more like a mountain bike helmet. There are other helmets in that weight range as well so that may be something to look at
    #19
  20. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    My neck can get stiff and crunchy after a long day of riding as well. It helps greatly if I take rather frequent stops, and move around. Not just rolling my head, by also the shoulders, twisting and bending the back, etc. Doesn't take long, but it works well for me on long days. Breaks every hour or two. More frequently as the day goes on.

    Liquid Advil also helps me.
    #20