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Motorcycling and Lower Back Pain

by Damen Jodoin, Chiropractor


Now that the motorcycle season is getting into full swing, lots of people will be hopping into the saddle and logging the miles.  Unfortunately, low back issues can plague us and take away from the experience. Here is some information to help you this riding season.

Causative factors for lower back pain and riding:

  1.   Poor riding position: The type of bike you ride has a significant effect on riding position; aggressive forward postures on sportier rides tend to be the hardest on the spine, followed by the laid back cruiser and finally, the least irritating standard touring position with mid pegs.  Sometimes, the type of bike you ride isn’t something an individual wants

to budge on - and that’s okay!  Everyone has individual preferences to style and performance and that can’t be compromised.   If you are thinking of getting into motorcycle riding, but are worried because of current or previous low back issues, I always recommend looking into  bikes with mid-foot controls and standard riding position.   Standard riding position allows for the most

neutral spine and least stabilizing muscle activation of the different riding positions, it also allows the rider to put their body weight through the pegs on rough roads or large bumps.  This allows the shock of the bump to be taken through the legs and not as much transferred through the lower back.

 



  2.   Vibration: Constant vibration is by far one of the biggest culprits in fatiguing the spine whilst riding. Combine constant vibration with poor spine muscle activation and a less than ideal riding position causes your spine to rely on the passive ligaments and joint capsules for stability, instead of the musculature.   Low frequency vibration has  been  shown to  not only  fatigue  stabilizing muscles but to also disturb the mechano-receptors of the same muscles, causing them to respond slower to any insult such as a pothole or train tracks.

 




What can you do?

1.   Replace/improve suspension on your ride.

2.   More ergonomic or comfier seating to reduce vibration (E.g. Mustang seats).

3.   Adjusting your foot controls or handle bars to better match your height and reach.



.. These all are all costly adjustments to make however. What are some cheaper alternatives?

 

1.   Learn spinal bracing: Imagine someone is about to punch you in the stomach.  Now repeat this the next time you are about to run over something such as a pothole or train tracks. This will help keep your spine from being irritated.

2.   Take care of any current spinal issues through Chiropractic and Physio.

3.   Strengthen your core and lower back with easy to-do-at-home exercises.   Strengthening and building those stabilizers will allow your lower back to handle more vibration and harder riding positions for longer periods of time. Not sure how to do that or where to start? Talk to one of our health professionals at Momentum Health.

4.   Hit the gym and increase muscle mass. Muscle mass has over twice the effect of fat for decreasing

vibration and in fact, lean body mass has been shown in literature to be the most significant variable for attenuating vibration in the body!

 

Take care of your spine and you will be riding for years to come.


For more information or to book a consultation with Dr Damen, call Momentum Health Ogden at 403-236-0106

 


D
r. Damen Jodoin, DC – Chiropractor

Damen was born and raised in the small town of Brockville, ON.  He became interested in the science of human movement and pursued a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Western Canada in 2007. Damen continued his studies at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, where he graduated in 2014. Outside of work, Damen enjoys anything and everything motorcycle related, so feel free to strike up a conversation that involves riding.  He also enjoys weight lifting at the gym and loves to talk about emerging research and practices.


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