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Old 9 Jul 2007
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Unhappy Back Ache / Back Pain

Hi friends,

I have a bike that I have ride sometimes. I have to ride it for long hours at some trips. Yesterday I made 650 kms in 8 hours. Stopped 3 hours between.

Long trips make my back ache a lot. Sure yours too.

I know the best solution is have a rest (on bed?), yes but what else can be done?
"where the traveller goes, nobody knows ! "
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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Best solution

Putting unusual strain on your lower back, as a multihour bike ride, is going to kill your back if you aren't prepared for it. I had some back problem some years ago. Was easily solved with excercising the lower back muscles. We are not talking hours and hours in the fitness club. It realy doesn't take all that much.

Obviously you should check with your doctor, but for a description of the excercises, your local fitness instructor will have the knowledge to guide you.

Preperation is the best "medicin".

But, when the damage is done, you can try hanging for a couple of minutes in your arms on some child swings. Realy give that back a good stretch. Will loosen things up a bit, but not solve your problem in the long run. For the long run, excercise your lower back muscles. That's your best bet.
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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As Mc Thros says, strengthening your core muscles is the main thing - Pilates is pretty good as there are a few key exercises you can do ..... and best of all no equipment is needed so you can do them anywhere. Best thing is to do a short course - or borrow a book from the library/look on the internet.
The other thing is to wear a kidney belt - usually used for off roading. I have a fabric one with hard plastic strip inderts. It helps with supporting your back but also keeps it warm (if you're somewhere cold/wet) and stops the muscles cramping.
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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I agree with what Mermaid said get your self a kidney belt I have been wearing one for years
I find it makes you sit up better on the bike and helps with the back pain
It will be the best £20 you ever spend
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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I have had a bulging disk for nearly twenty years (more recently exascerbated by the fact I'm becoming a fat lazy bastard). An airhawk seat cushion has definitely helped, but the biggest help has been a quality kidney belt. I've found the belts built into new jackets are pretty good, but I still find my proper elasticised belt best for long trips. The worst damage to my back comes after camping on the ground (I'm supposed to be in denial about this). The airhawk and belt have it sorted out in the first hour back on the bike.

cheers Brett
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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I broke my back a few years ago at L2. My back aches after a long day but, as said, a kidney belt helps a lot. Mine is actually a 5 section Dianese body armour belt, so it provides a lot of protection (bit paranoid about breaking my back for some reason! ) support and warmth, which also helps.

I also try to keep the pillion area of my seat free of luggage so I can move my butt back and forwards, which also gives some relief.

A few short breaks are probably better than one long one as well.



*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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achey backs


this is one of the reasons that I teach yoga to bikers - there are so many of us carrying injuries, coping with life on the road and lack of proper beds and baths, riding bikes that aren't always the most ergonomically friendly...

Some of the advice given above sounds very sensible, but if may add yoga as a suggestion too. Please don't think it's all for ladies of a certain age in leotards - it does really help. I've taught it to people who've had really bad backs, and it's made an immense difference. I personally use it to prepare for riding, whilst I'm riding, and to ease off the aches when I stop, and for me, you just can't beat it :-)
The best way to find local classes is to find the governing body for your country - in the UK it's the British Wheel of Yoga, and then find an accredited teacher in your area (worth checking, since it takes two years to qualify with the British Wheel in the UK, but anyone can set themselves up as a teacher without having properly trained). Alternatively, speak to your local doctor/chiropractor to see who they'd recommend (I have a local friendly chiropractor who thinks yoga's amazing for bikers too!).

Good luck - and happy riding :-)
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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Talking backache

I got a kidney belt before going to Alaska last year, in amnticipation of long days on a marginally comfortable bike a '92 KLR 650. The one I choose is the BACK-A-LINE. It has stiff support on the back side and a two part velcro closure system. It works quite well and cost about $60.00 from Whitehorse Press.
Now any ride that takes me across state lines I reach for the belt before leaving.
ride,smile,repeat as nessasary
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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Strenghten your core muscle (abs, lats, etc), buy an Airhawk cushion, kidney belt and when riding stop & rest every 80-100 miles.

Also - good posture is on and off the bike is important! Yogi helps here.

A Guiness Stout always helps
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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If you don't normally have a bad back off the bike , then your riding position may be at fault .

You may have to change the position of the footpegs or raise or lower the seat and handlebars .Or make the handlebars wider or narrower .It can make a huge difference .
Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light. - Spike Milligan
"When you come to a fork in the road ,take it ! When you come to a spoon in the road ,take that also ."
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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I agree with dodger. I've got an F650 GS Dakar, and despite putting bar-risers on, and adjustable foot pegs tried in every position, and the bars tilted this way and that, I still get back ache after a couple of hours, the riding position makes by back 'round', and doesn't push the small of my back forward enough, perhaps a re-shaped seat might cure it, but it's a lot of money to spend to find
it might not be any better. I had a KTM 950 previously, and that was just perfect, could ride it all day with no problems.
Half the problem seems to be that we take a test-ride before we buy, but it's never long enough to highlight any defects with your posture.
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Old 10 Jul 2007
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I have a burst disc in my back which initially caused me big problems. I got myself the booklet "Treat your own back" by Robin McKenzie and by doing his suggested exercise every morning I keep my back in check.

This is The North East | CommuniGate | McKenzie Back Exercises

Europe to NZ 2006-10
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Old 11 Jul 2007
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Originally Posted by YogaforbikersTori View Post

this is one of the reasons that I teach yoga to bikers - there are so many of us carrying injuries, coping with life on the road and lack of proper beds and baths, riding bikes that aren't always the most ergonomically friendly...
Hi Tori. Really liked the presentation you did at the UK HU meeting. I'll be taking up some light yoga here when I get organised (possibility .. never? ). As mentioned the ergonomics of your bike can have a lot to do with it.

I need handelbars that don't point backwards on teh ends (called sweep by some, something else by others .. ) Close your eyes, hand resting besides the hips, bring your arms forwards - bent elbows - fists made ready for teh handel bars .. open eyes and look at where your hands are - that would be the ideal possition for your handel bars - width, sweep, and possition from shoulders ..

So look at your position on the bike, the relationship to the bars... and try doing some yoga/stretches before during and after a ride.
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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Old 10 Oct 2008
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back pain

This a help full link ,I have a couple bulged disks,and learning to deal with it
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Old 10 Oct 2008
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I also have a really bad back - a combination of a 20 year old injury to L4/L5 and L5/S1 and degeneration. The things that work for me are a really upright riding position (I have a DR650), a really good back brace together with an Airhawk seat as well as an ongoing Pilates programme. I can spend 12 hours on the bike and still be ok.

I do struggle with the camping though and can only camp for short periods even with the top of the range thermarest. The trick is to make sure that you are warm and comfortable when camping otherwise the next day is awful. When travelling I plan to use a combination of camping, hotels/motels and couchsurfing. That should get me around the world.

Would like to hear how others with bad backs cope with the camping.


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