motorcycle helmets and chronic neck pain

CHRONIC NECK PAIN AND MOTORCYCLE HELMETS

“Did you know that the average human head weighs 8 pounds?” Ray from 1996’s Jerry McGuire

neck pain helmetLa Cigale

Motorcycle Helmets.  You wouldn’t think that this topic would be too controversial.  But it is.  Although there are all sorts of individuals / groups who fight for the “right” not to have to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, I believe they are misguided.  However, there is one ‘anti-helmet’ group whom I can at least understand and empathize with.  These are the people who love to ride but struggle with CHRONIC NECK PAIN.  You see; due to the combined weight of the helmet & their own head (not to mention the battering one can get from the wind — particularly for a passenger), the neck can become mechanically stressed beyond what it can bear.   This is particularly true in women.  Thus, they stay home.

If you look at our MVA PAGE, you’ll notice that according to the peer-reviewed scientific literature, women are more likely to be injured in a whiplash-type accident — much more likely.   Women are also substantially more likely to suffer with Chronic Neck Pain long after their injury.  Most of this has to do with the fact that women typically have much smaller necks than men, with much less muscle mass to support the head.  With the average head weighing 8-12 pounds, and the average helmet coming in at around four pounds, this amount of weight can overcome even a healthy neck with a day of hard riding.  Think about it for a moment; the heaviest bowling ball is 16 lbs.  The head and helmet must be held by seven small vertebrae, some CONNECTIVE TISSUE, and several small muscles.  In someone with a previously injured neck, riding can become impossible.  So, what’s a person to do if they want to ride?

  • GET THE PROPER WINDSHIELD:  A good windshield will not only keep much of the wind off the driver, but off the passenger as well. I ride a 2001 GL1800 (HERE).  Between the proper windshield and the right kind(s) of wind wings, I can keep most of the wind off myself and my passenger if that is desired.   BTW, I run a MADSTAD.

 

  • WEAR A CARBON-FIBER HELMET:  One of the newer helmet technologies is Carbon Fiber.  Although these can cost substantially more than a standard plastic / fiberglass helmet, you can shave a pound or so with the Carbon Fiber.

 

  • MAINTAIN GOOD POSTURE:   As you might guess, POSTURE can be a deal-breaker as far as Chronic Neck Pain and motorcycles are concerned.

 

  • STRENGTHEN AND STRETCH YOUR NECK:  While this might work well for the general population, there is a significant chance that it is not going to work well for those of you coping with day-to-day neck pain.  To understand why, go HERE.

 

  • DEAL WITH THE UNDERLYING SCAR TISSUE:  If you have previously injured your neck, there is a good possibility that all of the previous bullet points above will prove fruitless if you do not first deal with the underlying SCAR TISSUE.  Most of the time this Scar Tissue occurs in the Fascia.  The problems with injuries to the Fascia is that even though it is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the human body, it is too thin to be properly seen with advanced imaging techniques such as MRI.  This can lead to the PERFECT STORM of Chronic Pain.

If you have questions about getting help for your Chronic Neck Pain, simply EMAIL ME a detailed history of your problem.  Or call Cheryl at (417) 934-6337 to make an appointment.  To see what makes us so radically different from the average clinic, read THIS POST, then take a few minutes and watch a couple of our VIDEO TESTIMONIALS (or HERE).


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