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How to Avoid Back Pain While Riding a Motorcycle

How to Avoid Back Pain While Riding a Motorcycle

If you are a regular motorcycle rider, you may often suffer from back pain after a long motorcycle ride. However, some riders suffer from back pain even after riding a short distance.

Riding a motorcycle does not necessarily cause back pain. There can be several reasons why your back starts to hurt during or after a ride. Identifying the reason why your back hurts can help you find a way to provide relief. Read this article to learn how to avoid back pain while riding a motorcycle.

1. Causes of Back Pain Due to Motorcycle Riding

1.1 Riding in a Slouched Riding Position

Back pain while riding a motorcycle can be due to poor posture and riding position. If you are relaxed while riding a motorcycle and position your upper body properly, this may cause you to bend your back slightly until you are in a slouched riding position.

1.2 Riding in a Forward Riding Position

Meanwhile, riders who sit in a forward riding position can worsen back pain while riding for long durations.

1.3 Type of Motorcycle You Ride

A reason why your back hurts while riding a motorcycle can depend on the type of motorcycle you ride. The most uncomfortable motorcycle to ride is a sports bike as it requires an aggressive riding position. The rider has to lean forward to reduce air drag and improve the motorcycle’s performance. Sports bikes are not meant to be comfortable, but to ensure high-speed rides on race tracks and paved roads.

If you are looking for a motorcycle that provides superior comfort on long-distance rides, touring bikes and cruisers are the ideal choices. Touring bikes and cruisers have the most comfortable ergonomics due to their low seat heights, low center of gravity, adequate legroom, pulled-back handlebars, and upright back positions. You can ride these motorcycles continuously for hours without hurting your back.

However, your back may still experience some discomfort when riding a cruiser or touring bike. The pullback angle of the handlebars and the seating position should be moderate to ensure an upright back. Overly relaxed ergonomics can cause your back to twist slightly which could cause back pain.

1.4 The Role of Suspensions

Motorcycles can absorb shocks while hitting a pothole or bumps due to the suspensions, ensuring a comfortable riding experience. However, when they become old, faulty, and do not perform as well, rides can become uncomfortable due to your back being forced to absorb the shock of impacts. Your motorcycle should have high-performance front and rear suspensions with long wheel travel to ensure better shock absorption and damping rates.

1.5 Off-Roading

If you are a dirt bike rider and love off-roading, it is common to experience back pain due to traveling over unpaved and bumpy roads.

2. Tips for Motorcycle Riders to Avoid Back Pain

2.1 Replacing Your Seat

A hard or flat seat has less cushioning which can increase discomfort in your lower back. Replacing your seat with a comfortable one is a viable option.

Make sure your motorcycle seat has reasonable padding to ensure less fatigue and more comfortable rides.

2.2 Back Support While Riding a Motorcycle

Install a Sissy Bar and a Backrest

To make your riding experience more plush and comfortable, attach a sissy bar. You can comfortably recline against the sissy bar and can also mount a sissy bar bag to improve your motorcycle’s storage capacity. You can also mount a sissy bar pad/backrest to ensure better back support.

2.3 Improve Your Riding Position

If your back hurts while riding a motorcycle, try to improve your riding position. Try to keep your back as straight as possible while riding. If you ride a sports bike and suffer constant back pain, try riding a cruiser or a naked bike instead. Your arms should not be stretched entirely and your legs should be positioned in front of your shoulders.

2.4 Ride a Motorcycle with Comfortable Ergonomics

Motorcycles with comfortable ergonomics have a spacious rider triangle. They are fitted with pulled-back, mini-ape handlebars to ensure comfortable arm positions and an upright back. Motorcycles with forward-mounted foot controls ensure adequate legroom that allows riders to comfortably rest their legs.

Meanwhile, motorcycles with flat, low-mounted, and less swept-back handlebars have an aggressive riding position and can cause back pain. Comfortable motorcycles like touring bikes and cruisers have a low seat height, a low center of gravity, and a little dip in the rider’s seat to provide lower back support.

2.5 Aftermarket Parts and Modifications

If you think your motorcycle’s ergonomics do not suit you, there are several aftermarket parts and modifications you can add. Mid-mounted foot controls can be moved forward to provide adequate legroom and the stock seat can also be adjusted to ensure better posture.

If your motorcycle’s stock suspensions do not perform well, you can replace them with aftermarket suspensions for a more comfortable riding experience.

Installing a fairing can help block incoming wind so you can focus more on the road. Better storage capacity can help you carry more stuff while going on a motorcycle tour. Viking Bags has a wide range of luggage options available, including saddlebags, tank bags, tail bags, and handlebar bags.

2.6 Taking Regular Stops

Taking regular stops while riding can help prevent back pain. Back pain usually happens due to riding continuously for hours. You can hydrate yourself and do some stretches while taking a break.

3. How to Avoid Back Pain While Riding a Motorcycle

3.1 Stretches You Can Do While Sitting On Your Motorcycle

If the back pain becomes unbearable, you can stop and do some stretches while sitting on your motorbike. Stretches can help provide instant relief from back pain. If you love riding a motorcycle, you should stay in shape by exercising regularly. Upper back pain from motorcycle riding can be treated by doing a few stretching exercises, including:

Shoulder Roll

To do shoulder rolls while sitting on your motorcycle, keep your back straight and free your arms. Now rotate your shoulder joints in a clockwise direction for 10 secs, then in a counterclockwise direction. Repeat this exercise at least three times. Shoulder rolls are good for your  upper back and shoulders.

Neck Roll

When performing a neck roll while sitting on your motorcycle, keep your back straight. Roll your neck clockwise three times while stretching the neck muscles, then repeat the same movement when rotating counterclockwise at least three times. This exercise is good for your  upper back and neck.

Overhead Arm Reach

Overhead arm reach targets your  upper back and shoulders. Raise and stretch your right arm before moving it to the left over your head. Try to stretch as much as you can. While doing this, try to also bend your torso to help relieve middle back pain. Alternate and repeat the stretches with your left arm at least five times.

Torso Rotation

Torso rotation is good for your  lower, mid, and upper back. Hold the left handlebar with your right hand and rotate your torso to the left as far as you can while keeping your legs and hips stationary. Keep rotating your torso and stretch for 5-10 seconds. Alternate by holding the right handlebar with your left hand and rotating your torso towards the right. Repeat this sequence at least five times.

Scapular Squeeze

The scapular squeeze is good for your  upper back and shoulders. Sit straight on your motorcycle and squeeze your shoulder blades. Hold this position for three to five seconds. Repeat this exercise at least 10 times.

3.2 Stretches You Can Do While Standing

Toe Touches

Start with your legs and arms straight. When bending your torso forward and stretching your arms, try to touch your feet with your fingers. It is fine if you are not able to touch your feet at first. Repeat this exercise at least five times. Make sure to do it slowly and avoid stretching your legs too much to avoid injuring the hamstrings. Toe touches help target the  lower and middle back.

3.3 Stretching Exercises that Require a Chair

Thoracic Extension

The thoracic extension requires a simple lightweight chair. Sit on the chair while reclining against the back and try to fall back as much as possible without moving your legs and hips. While falling back, stretch your arms backward. Hold this position for at least three seconds. Repeat this exercise at least 20 times. The thoracic extension is good for your  middle and upper back.

4. Exercises to Help with Lower Back Pain Due to Motorcycle Riding

4.1 Stretches that Require an Exercise Mat

The following are the best back exercises to help relieve lower back pain:

Cat-Cow Stretches

You can perform cat-cow stretches at home or in your garage on top of an exercise mat. To perform this exercise, your legs, knees, and hands should be touching the ground. Keep your arms and thighs perpendicular to the ground.

Bend your spine upward and try to look at your torso while taking a deep breath. Stay in this position for at least five seconds. Now bend your spine inwards and stretch your neck by trying to look upward while exhaling. Stay in this position for at least five seconds. Repeat the sequence 20 times to relieve back pain. Cat-cow stretches are good for your  middle and lower back.

Glute Bridge

Lie down on a floor mat while facing upward while keeping your arms straight and knees bent. Lift your back and hips as much as possible while keeping the shoulders and feet stationary. While raising your hips, make sure to keep your back straight. Stay in this position for at least three seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat at least 20 times. The glute bridge stretches are good for your  lower back and hip muscles.

Bird Dog Stretch

To perform bird dog stretches, sit upside down with your feet, knees, and hands touching the ground. Make sure your arms and thighs are perpendicular to the ground.

Now lift your right arm in front of you up to shoulder level and lift your left leg behind you up to hip level. Make sure to fully stretch your arm and leg while lifting. Hold this pose for three seconds. Alternate and repeat with your left arm and right leg. Repeat at least 20 times. The bird dog stretches are good for your  lower back, spine, and core strength, and also improve your balance.

5. Using Back Braces

A back brace helps improve your posture by keeping your back upright.

Wearing a back brace while riding a motorcycle can help correct your posture and prevent back pain while riding a motorcycle. You can get an adjustable back brace to tighten or loosen as per your preferences.

6. Using a Kidney Belt

Kidney belt is a wider belt wrapped around the abdomen to help keep the lower back straight. Kidney belts provide support to your lower back and torso and prevent damage to your internal organs in the abdomen due to shocks and impacts.

7. Takeaway

Back pain is a common problem amongst motorcycle riders. There are several reasons why back pain occurs while riding a motorcycle. It can be due to riding in an incorrect position, riding a sportbike, poor suspensions, and off-roading. If you do not want back pain to persist and worsen, take action by doing exercises. If you feel back pain while riding a motorcycle, there are several stretches you can do while sitting on your motorcycle. However, to prevent lower back pain while riding, there are intermediate-level exercises you can practice at home or in a garage. If your back pain is due to poor riding posture, there are back braces and kidney belts to provide back support.

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