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  #1  
Old 9 Apr 2010
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Known Wrist Problem - Unknown riding solutions

Hi guys,

Those of you who don't know me, I'm planning to set off with Ed (*Touring Ted*) down to Cape Town later this year. Everything is going great except for a minor problem.

I've had a known nerve problem in my wrists for the past 3 years, which manifests itself from my thumbs up my forearms, back of elbow and eventually shoulders and then neck (basically the line of the nerves). I've had a course of physiotherapy for it, I have almost a monthly osteopath treatment for my wrists/shoulder/neck, and presently it's quite gnarly (with limited use of my right hand).

As ever, I'm sure it'll heal up with plenty of rest and more osteopathic treatment. However, I'm beginning to wonder what it'll be like after weeks on end travelling. I was hoping to get some suggestions from any of you, who may have suggestions for saving my wrists (albeit a gimmick/gizmo or an exercise).

I look forward to reading your replies.

Neil
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Last edited by Neil; 9 Apr 2010 at 17:52. Reason: ed you pedantic fool!
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  #2  
Old 9 Apr 2010
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I've used a powerball before when I was experiencing numb hands and it certainly helped me. Whether it will be of any use for you I can't say but they're cheap enough to give it a try. They're a recognised form of physio and they certainly give your hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder a good workout.

Powerballs.com | Exercise Videos

I got mine from Amazon but you can pick them up at Argos and Maplins for about £13.
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  #3  
Old 9 Apr 2010
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Hey Neil,

Couple of quick comments, I'm sure your bike is already set up well for you but in case it isn't, I would recommend you spend some time optimizing riding position and tweaking seat height, bar risers, reach, foot pegs, etc. It can make a big difference over long trips, especially if you are trying to reduce strain at a specific point. Shake out rides are good for making incremental changes and seeing how they impact overall comfort.

Also, don't know what bike you have but the vibration of thumper would be something to avoid if your wrists are affected by vibrations. Also, things like foam grips and throttle locks like a throttle rocker can make a big difference in reducing grip fatigue.

Have a great ride.
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  #4  
Old 9 Apr 2010
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Make sure your throttle is free and easy to use.
There are devices for you to fit to the throttle to rest your hand on instead of having to grip it all day.
Just an idea, Try taping something a bit fatter than a pencil onto the twistgrip so that at normal cruising your palm heel is resting on that. it might well save some wrist and finger pressure.
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  #5  
Old 9 Apr 2010
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A few things I do to help with my almost-but-not-quote carpal tunnel and riding. No clue how much is relevant to your particular problem, but I'll throw it all out anyways in case one of these can help out.
  • Do everything you can to reduce handlebar vibrations. Some handlebars vibrate less than others (look at reviews of options for your bike). You can also add accessories which decrease vibrations things like bar end weights, the "Vibranator" (http://www.vibranator.com/), and different (softer) hand grips.
  • Ensure your bike is setup for you and your style of riding if you haven't already. Handlebar height and rotation can make a huge difference in comfort and abuse on your body. This might include buying different handlebars if the angle of your current bars aren't at a comfortable angle (I switched to ProTaper ATV High bars and they were a huge improvement).
  • Add a throttle lock or cramp-buster for use on long highway stretches. I found this helps my right hand a lot.
  • Strengthen the muscles in your hand, wrist, and forearms. Strong muscles help reduce the severity of a remarkable number of problems in my experience. The powerballs already mentioned are great for this. General weight lifting with free weights also helps.
Hope some of this helps!
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  #6  
Old 9 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingdoctor View Post
I've used a powerball before when I was experiencing numb hands and it certainly helped me. Whether it will be of any use for you I can't say but they're cheap enough to give it a try. They're a recognised form of physio and they certainly give your hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder a good workout.

Powerballs.com | Exercise Videos

I got mine from Amazon but you can pick them up at Argos and Maplins for about £13.
I'll look into that, I think i know someone who owns one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMan View Post
Hey Neil,

Couple of quick comments, I'm sure your bike is already set up well for you but in case it isn't, I would recommend you spend some time optimizing riding position and tweaking seat height, bar risers, reach, foot pegs, etc. It can make a big difference over long trips, especially if you are trying to reduce strain at a specific point. Shake out rides are good for making incremental changes and seeing how they impact overall comfort.

Also, don't know what bike you have but the vibration of thumper would be something to avoid if your wrists are affected by vibrations. Also, things like foam grips and throttle locks like a throttle rocker can make a big difference in reducing grip fatigue.

Have a great ride.
As for good vibrations... drz is a nice thumper. :P

I have been thinking about riding comfort a lot and took the yoga for motorcyclists quite seriously at Ripley last year, however missed out on the second session.

I will do/get anything that'll make my life easier whilst riding (i've bought a corbin, larger foot pegs, looking into handlbar risers), so yeah I'm all into that. I'm going to get tomorrow a throttle rocker see if that works for me. Thanks for your suggestions... more welcome!
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  #7  
Old 9 Apr 2010
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Risers did it for me

We've just done 36,000 miles round the Americas sometimes riding long stretches(1,000k). About a week after arriving in Alaska I started getting 'pins and needles in my right hand which would eventually cause pain across my shoulders. I'm fairly tall (6'4") and whilst the bars on the GSA are adequate I couldn't set them high enough. I bought a set of bar risers and adjusted them to suit, it solved the problems straight away, also it was a lot more comfortable when standing on the pegs. I hadn't had the bike long enough or ridden long distances often enough to get the right set up before we left so that was my mistake. I also borrowed throttle rest which I found helped with some minor vibration problems so may look at buying one of those although it was the risers that did it for me.

Graham and Sue
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  #8  
Old 10 Apr 2010
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Graham, get back to work on that blog of yours!

Mark

PS: Graham's right, of course, as are all others. Your bike needs to be fit to you and your riding. Every little misfit, multiplied times thousands of repeated motions and endless hours in the same postiion, holds the potential to cripple you. Some of it is inherent in the rather strange habit of riding a motorcycle, but a lot of it can be prevented. Trial and error seems to work for me, but surely there's someone out there who knows how to fit bikes to people in a more or less consistent way. The local bicycle shop will fit me very precisely to my mountain bike for fifty bucks; why not the local motorcycle shop? [/rhetorical questions]
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  #9  
Old 10 Apr 2010
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I had something like this went to a physical therapist it was something like tennis elbow. For weeks the physical therapist heated up and rubbed down area with dull plastic scraper. Told me it brakes up some scar tissue in there and had me do some exercise and stretching all that hurt more than the elbow but in the end helped.

Seems there is a tendons that runs down the arm from the neck to the wrist. When it gets hurt it builds up scar tissue and any time you use it this inflames the area setting off the nerves tell you to stop. You do not stop you get pain and up (or down) the arm the inflamation will go setting off all the nerves on the way. The idea of this treatment is to brake up the scar stretch the tendon and strengthen the lot. looks like this Google Image Result for http://supurdue.com/Ortho%20PA/Mann/Lat_epic/Wr_stretch.jpg
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  #10  
Old 10 Apr 2010
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Neil, how much actual riding are you doing on the DRZ at the moment? I was just wondering if you're actually getting a problem or just thinking ahead. I've found over the years that if I have a layoff various bits of me hurt for a few days after I go back to the bike but I eventually adapt. There's no doubt though that riding does stress your body. With your wrists you want to try and ensure that they are under as little stress as possible at your normal cruising speed.

Others have covered many of the points I'd make but with the trip you're planning you really need to get it right before you leave. Setting up the bars - height, angle, etc to try and achieve a neutral position (not hanging on or slumping forward) at cruising speed would be step one. I don't know if the DRZ has duel open and close throttle cables like on Hondas but if it does consider doing something about the spring. I took the spring off on my XR600 for a couple of long trips - just depending on the close cable, to reduce the effort of holding it open for long periods. Obviously not recommended but there you go.

If you're not happy with that / can't do it then at the very least a cramp buster (better than nothing but not a complete answer) or some sort of throttle lock (I could never work out how to fit them to my bikes) (or both) would be essential. You've also got to look at grip diameter. Big squidgy ones don't look the part but six hours into a days ride you'll feel the benefit.

I'm dubious about the benefits of physio. I don't have wrist problems like yours but I do have a problem with a trapped nerve in my right shoulder and all the medical attention I've had over the years has done very little to improve it - and that's with direct access to high end medical knowledge (all of my wife's family are medics and she's a major shareholder in a sports physio company). Three years of yoga type exercise has improved it but it's back after a few weeks away from the sessions.

You've still got a while before you're off so you've got enough time to work out whether it's going to be a trip breaker. Are you planning a shakedown run? That'll identify whether you've got a serious issue. Don't do nothing though, or it'll just weigh on your mind.
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  #11  
Old 10 Apr 2010
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Vibranators

Quote:
Originally Posted by othalan View Post
A few things I do to help with my almost-but-not-quote carpal tunnel and riding. No clue how much is relevant to your particular problem, but I'll throw it all out anyways in case one of these can help out.
  • Do everything you can to reduce handlebar vibrations. Some handlebars vibrate less than others (look at reviews of options for your bike). You can also add accessories which decrease vibrations things like bar end weights, the "Vibranator" (http://www.vibranator.com/), and different (softer) hand grips.
  • Ensure your bike is setup for you and your style of riding if you haven't already. Handlebar height and rotation can make a huge difference in comfort and abuse on your body. This might include buying different handlebars if the angle of your current bars aren't at a comfortable angle (I switched to ProTaper ATV High bars and they were a huge improvement).
  • Add a throttle lock or cramp-buster for use on long highway stretches. I found this helps my right hand a lot.
  • Strengthen the muscles in your hand, wrist, and forearms. Strong muscles help reduce the severity of a remarkable number of problems in my experience. The powerballs already mentioned are great for this. General weight lifting with free weights also helps.
Hope some of this helps!
IMO the Vibranators are a 'must have'.

The Vibranators are very efficient 'tuned mass dampers'.
It's irrefutable that vibration causes involuntary muscle firing at the same frequency as the vibration input, aka 'tonic vibration reflex'.
Tonic vibration reflex - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Vibranators interrupt and reduce the handlebar's harmonic resonance.
Tuned mass damper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hence, the elimination or radical reduction of hand, wrist and arm pain.

Review post on our website:

Vibranators on Suzuki DRZ400S April 7, 2010 Reviewer: Dexter Ford from Manhattan Beach, CA United States I didn't think my DRZ400S vibrated that much until I installed the Vibranators. It feels like a new bike. A much smoother, more refined, enjoyable bike. I'm amazed at the difference a simple addition to my handlebars can make. All the humming, tingling, high-frequency buzz that made my hands and the rest of me feel fatigued is now gone. In fact I realized that I was shifting based on the buzz in the bars. Now I will have to listen to the motor, not my hands, for rpm info. Dexter Ford Editor at Extra Large Motorcyclist Magazine.
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  #12  
Old 10 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicorSHX View Post
IMO the Vibranators are a 'must have'.

The Vibranators are very efficient 'tuned mass dampers'.
It's irrefutable that vibration causes involuntary muscle firing at the same frequency as the vibration input, aka 'tonic vibration reflex'.
Tonic vibration reflex - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Vibranators interrupt and reduce the handlebar's harmonic resonance.
Tuned mass damper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hence, the elimination or radical reduction of hand, wrist and arm pain.

Review post on our website:

Vibranators on Suzuki DRZ400S April 7, 2010 Reviewer: Dexter Ford from Manhattan Beach, CA United States I didn't think my DRZ400S vibrated that much until I installed the Vibranators. It feels like a new bike. A much smoother, more refined, enjoyable bike. I'm amazed at the difference a simple addition to my handlebars can make. All the humming, tingling, high-frequency buzz that made my hands and the rest of me feel fatigued is now gone. In fact I realized that I was shifting based on the buzz in the bars. Now I will have to listen to the motor, not my hands, for rpm info. Dexter Ford Editor at Extra Large Motorcyclist Magazine.
Do these ACTUALLY work or do you work for the company ??

It does look too good to be true but i'm willing to be educated !
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  #13  
Old 11 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Do these ACTUALLY work or do you work for the company ??

It does look too good to be true but i'm willing to be educated !

I'm co owner of the Vibranator company.

I was riding a XR650 2 summers ago and getting PO'd at the buzzing bars. I was aware that that modern helicopters use tuned mass dampers to cancel unwanted rotorhead vibrations. I made some adjustable prototypes for the handlebars hoping a 50% drop in the vibration level. On a Harley Sportster, the vibration meter showed an 80% drop in vibs.

The local MXers were reporting the arm pump was flat out eliminated. That's when we researched vibration vs involuntary muscle firing. It appears the nervous system needs a consistent vibration frequency to lock onto. That would be the resonant frequency of the handlebar. The tuned mass dampers disrupt the rhythm and introduce another oscillation wavelength into the 'mix'. The numbness, tingling hand relief was way beyond expectations.

Regarding credibility, please Google 'Vibranators', there are allot of happy customers 'out there'.
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Old 11 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicorSHX View Post
I'm co owner of the Vibranator company.

I was riding a XR650 2 summers ago and getting PO'd at the buzzing bars. I was aware that that modern helicopters use tuned mass dampers to cancel unwanted rotorhead vibrations. I made some adjustable prototypes for the handlebars hoping a 50% drop in the vibration level. On a Harley Sportster, the vibration meter showed an 80% drop in vibs.

The local MXers were reporting the arm pump was flat out eliminated. That's when we researched vibration vs involuntary muscle firing. It appears the nervous system needs a consistent vibration frequency to lock onto. That would be the resonant frequency of the handlebar. The tuned mass dampers disrupt the rhythm and introduce another oscillation wavelength into the 'mix'. The numbness, tingling hand relief was way beyond expectations.

Regarding credibility, please Google 'Vibranators', there are allot of happy customers 'out there'.
heh heh.. I didn't actually expect that response lol !

I'll have a look into it. It does look like a great idea and good on you for developing it

How about a Horizonsunlimited discount scheme and cheeky "no marked parcels to skip the import duty" for international customers ??
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  #15  
Old 11 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
How about a Horizonsunlimited discount scheme and cheeky "no marked parcels to skip the import duty" for international customers ??

I would have thought that a bit of sponsorship might be the order of the day here. If they work as well as the developer says they should make quite a difference and we can certainly depend on you to tell it like it was.
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