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Thread: Neck pain

  1. #1
    Registered User Fritzc's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Neck pain

    Tomorrow I go in for an MRI scheduled by my G.P. After looking at my X-rays he spotted an "encroachment" on one of my cervical vertebra. I have been having some pain in my neck and shoulders, especially when rotatiing my head as in looking for traffic at intersections and blind spots. At first I associated my pain to old age and onset of arthritis. Now I had an appointment to see an orthepedic surgeon but this unscheduled call from my Doctor's office and MRI follow up to my x-rays has me worried.
    I searched the archives but could not find anything about neck pain and the possible causation by wearing a motorcycle helmet for long periods of time.
    I thought I would draw on the vast collective experiences of the MOA forum.
    Any discussion on this topic? My biggest fear is my doctor may tell me I may have to give up my precious RT!
    There are two things to aim at in life; first to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. -Logan Pearsall Smith, essayist (1865-1946)

  2. #2
    Jessica '06 F650GS 127373's Avatar
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    Cool have you considered this...

    Try getting it worked on by a professional massage therapist. I would suggest finding a massage therapist specifically knowledgeable and experienced working primarily in Trigger Point Therapy or Neuromuscular Therapy, not just "Deep Tissue Massage", which is a very broad term possibly including more precisely "deep pressure" by some therapists. The TrPT and NMT approaches are therapeutic massage approaches are more geared toward addressing and complimenting medical conditions more so that just general relaxation. And don't forget to check credentials of the therapist so you know they are reputable and certified in their skills. (The American Massage Therapy Association has a MT national locator if you need help finding a therapist...)

    Just a suggestions for trying to get your neck "straightened out" without mentioning MD's have a leaning toward surgical intervention, ya know? Email me or PM if you have any questions I may be able to help answer.

  3. #3
    SUV Rider
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    Another alternative option is a chiropractor. Some believe in them, some don't, others swear by them, I am in the latter. It is incredible how bones can mis-align over time. There are different types too, softer styled and the old school hard style. The softer style that resembles osteopathy is the one that I go to, careful adjustments and focus on the alignment from top to bottom. Depending upon what the MRI shows you may have more options than you imagine.

    If all else fails Fritz, just surround the bike with mirrors like the mods used to do on their Vespas and Lambretta scooters in the '60's. Just a little humour for you is all. See the movie Quadrophenia for details..lol.

  4. #4
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    After a terrible head-on collision years ago (with my truck), I had some severe neck trauma. I ended up going to a chiropractor (a profession I didn't feel too strongly about). He took X-rays and showed the top 4-5 vertebrae were out of whack. They have a sort of "point" in the back that should be centered. Mine were to the left, to the right, to the left, etc. He did very few manual adjustments ("cracking" my neck). Instead, he put me on a traction machine. You lay on your back with your head in a sort of "cradle", and the machine "pulls" on your neck, in stages. It sounds weird but it was TERRIBLY comfortable, and the whirring of the machine would also lead me to fall asleep on the thing! Long story a little shorter, my severe "I can't turn my head to the left" neck pain went away. I haven't seen the guy for years now, so I think it worked pretty well.

    BTW: One of the tests he did was to stand behind me and GENTLY lift up on my head, while turning it to the left. My sudden stabbing pain had disappeared. That, and the x-rays led to the correct diagnosis.

    I WAS concerned about the weight of a helmet when I started to ride, but I've been OK. I had some pain riding to/from the rally (lots of long days), but using a throttle rocker seemed to help, after I got back; maybe I was using weird muscles trying to hold the throttle open for so long, or in a weird position. It was pretty bad for a few days, for sure.
    Last edited by jdmetzger; 09-28-2006 at 08:03 PM. Reason: atrocious spelling/typos
    Josh Metzger - Toledo, OH
    BMWMOA#123695, ABC#8463
    1978 R80/7, 1993 R100GSPD

  5. #5
    Registered User RGVILLA's Avatar
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    neck pain

    a couple of years ago I had a stiff neck and pain radiating down my arms. my hands would tingle and go numb after a short while riding. This is not to mention my bad knees etc from age, arthritis, injuries etc. I was a wreck. Massage and chiropractors helped but didn't cure my problem. My wife who has practiced Iyengar Yoga for years kept after me to try it. I started outed of desperation now three years later the neck pain is gone, my hands don't go to sleep and my knees aren't killing me after a day of riding. It takes work, I do it everyday for at least 30 minutes, and a good, certified instructor to evaluate a person is needed. Yoga in addition to cardio and weights have allowed me to continue ridinig pain free. I'm 56, have broken my left knee, right ankle, torn the left hamstring, torn a rotator cuff, injured my back, and been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. It is important to get the MRI to make sure nothing else is going on,(my brother's pancreatic cancer was found in his back by MRI), but once you know it is an out of whack joint problem there are a lot of solutions. Good luck
    Richard Villa
    2007 Aprilia Caponord, 97 DR350/441, looking for an airhead, sold the R1100R
    "Rebels of the South, It is better to die on your feet than to continue living on your knees" Emiliano Zapata

  6. #6
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    My wife had encroachment, or what amounted to spurs on C4, C5, and C6 vertebrae. She had severe arm pain, some numbness, and all symptoms would come and go. It really had nothing to do with her actions or her job, it just happened. She had surgery, and is much better, but not perfect.

    I get "burners" that go from the base of my skull down to my elbows. But it's strictly a matter of stress for me. My neck muscles tense up to the point where they inflame the nerves. Therapy and exercises help, but the true cure is to relieve my stress level. Motorcycles are good for that.
    -----------------------------------------
    Brad D. - Member #105766
    '77 R100RS - Black Beauty (big pipe, baby!)
    '94 R1100RS - Sylvia

  7. #7
    Gary99
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    Fritz, keep things in perspective. You are the customer, the doc is working for you, and you pay him for his opinion and advice. He can't make you do anything. An ortho surgeon is likely going to recommend what he does for a living, ie, surgery. That last tidbit of advice came from my personal physician. I would try very hard to avoid surgery to you spinal column. From the people I have known who have done it, about half wish they hadn't. I get some neck/shoulder pain sometimes, and it is from craning my neck/head forward while riding. I think this must be a natural tendency, as I see most people do it. I have to consciously try to remember to keep my head back over my shoulders.

  8. #8
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    MCNews ran an article called "A PAIN In the Neck" in their August 2003 issue under the Medical Motorcycling section. May be worth a read.

    Fritz sent you a PM
    Pass the mustard and UP THE REVOLUTION!

    St. Paul Pioneer Press , Minneapolis Star Tribune

  9. #9
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    chiropratic help

    some years ago, while awaiting the opening of the doors at the International Morotcycle Show, in Minneapolis, I noted a health fair, next door,touting "free massage"; I wandered in and explained that the only problem I had was a pain in the area of the meeting of my right shoulder and neck, after a few hours riding; he did an adjustment and I had no furthe pain for over six months; since than I have had a similar treatment from a local Chiropractor about every nine months; highly recommended

  10. #10
    Subaru Rally Specialist nhlkats's Avatar
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    $@#! a chirocracktor. ROLFING is something you should look into, see if its for you.
    Sliding sideways on curvy gravel highways.

  11. #11
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    Check your e-mail.
    Pass the mustard and UP THE REVOLUTION!

    St. Paul Pioneer Press , Minneapolis Star Tribune

  12. #12
    Cruisin' down the road Mar's Avatar
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    About 2 years ago I had a herniated disc in my neck. Physiclal therapy--including some of the neck stretches jdmetzger described--took care of it. Don't do surgery if you can avoid it. I was told that the cause of the herniated disc was an accumulation of mistreatment throughout my life. You young whippersnappers out there stand up straight and keep you posture good, and don't watch TV from the floor with your head bent at odd angles.

    I also have bone spurs in my neck. Docs have told me that most people my age have them. My neck makes a tremendous amount of noise when I move my head.

    I now watch my posture, and do strengthing and flexibility exercises and I've had no more problems. And my neck doesnt ache anymore.
    Marilyn Roberts
    K75, R1150R, R100 Mystic
    St. Louis
    Built for comfort, not for speed.

  13. #13
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    I totally agree with Jessica. I have been trained in St. Johns NMT and use it on my wife to help pain associated with Scoliosis. I have also used it on colleagues at the medical school here in Baltimore. Most were amazed at the relief they recieved and went to a professional NMT for the full restoration of "proper axial skeletal alignment". You would be shocked to see how many problems can be resolved by proper posture. These people are MDs and and agree that using an orthopod is the LAST resort! Chiropractors do a fast alignment but to keep it aligned you should have the muscles that caused the misalignment relaxed. My brother is the chiropractor in the family and he said not to use a chiropractor that doesn't have a massage therapist on staff.

  14. #14
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    neck pain

    As a physician (anesthesiologist), rider, and patient with neck problems; this is an issue that resonates strongly with me.

    The first thing to keep in mind is that everyone is different, and everyone's problems are not the same (redundant?). Advice that may be appropriate for one person may be quite harmful to someone else.

    I have recently begun to have neck pain, arm numbness, and (worse) slight weakness in one hand. Over the course of my evaluation (consult with orthopedist, X-rays, MRI, EMG) I learned that I have pretty significant degererative cervical spine (ie neck) disease. While physical therapy (including the traction device mentioned above) and epidural steroid injections have slowed (stopped?) the the progression for now, I will probably need surgery at some time in order to prevent progressive weakness. I am in a state of careful watchfulness, and if things resume a downward trend, then I'll likely opt for surgery. (The job market for one-handed anesthesiologists is rather limited).

    In the meantime my surgeon does not suggest significant limitations of activity, including riding and skiing. My /6 is very uncomfortable for me to ride now. It has low bars, which put weght on the arms and shoulders and causes me to bend the neck to far back (extension) resulting in pain and numbness. Maybe I'll have to convert it back to US bars or get rid of it (it is near impossible to see that bike in the garage and not be tempted into riding it, regardless of the consequences). My GS has a more upright seating position and is much more comfortable. Little or no neck extension, less jarring suspension (Ohlins shocks) and no weight on the arms. Recent addition of Verholen bar risers have helped further.

    Yes I worry about the weight of the helmet. After all, it the 15-or-so pounds of head sitting on top of the spine that stresses and damages the neck to begin with. Adding the weight of a helmet cannot be helpful. Of course I wouldn't consider riding with out a one.

    As an anesthesiologist, my job is largely to protect patients from the surgeon's tresspasses. I feel strongly that surgery not be entered into lightly, but sometimes it is clearly the right choice. Although I am not there yet, I will go willingly when the time is right, and hope for the best result.

    My suggestions to those having similar problems is to get an appropriate exam and work-up. Ask around regarding surgeons, and develop a relationship with someone who you have confidence in. Consider non traditional therapies (yoga, massage, chiropractor, Rolfing) but don't neglect the value of an experienced orthopedic surgeon.

    Above all, realize that you and your problems are not the same as anyone else who may give you advice. Everyone needs to treated individually. Get an appropriate evaluation, and go to some one who you have confidence for treatment. We may not be able to beat age and degenerative disease, but it can be managed.

    Theo Marks
    '74 R75/6
    '01 R1150GS

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