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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I am on a posting roll tonight....
Thought of a question to ask everyone here,
because here is where to ask it.

Do any of you have back problems and still ride your bikes?
How do you manage? What are your techniques?

Does the OEM backrest provide enough lumbar cushion?
Should I think of getting a taller / wider backrest to give me more support?

Just curious how other's deal with their back pains and ride too. That was one of the first things I was asked when I told a friend I was going to get a bike, "what about your back?"

Ideas and suggestions?
thanks ahead of time.
 

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Several members have posted about back troubles. I can't recall exactly who or where, but I'm sure a search would turn up several threads.

Most have had to adapt the bikes to their backs, but it's been different for everybody. I think one member actually has less pain when riding than when driving, but I think he's in the minority.

One member had to sell his Burgman, because he never could ride without pain.

The best advice I can give is to take care of your body...before it breaks, if possible, but afterward if it's too late. See a good physical therapist for ways to strengthen/rehabilitate your back; drink lot's of water to keep the intervertebral disks plump; on long rides take frequent breaks to do slow, gentle stretching; etc.
 

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I've been thinking about fitting bar risers to my 650. Although I find it comfortable to ride, I am very tall and believe that an inch more height at the bars might make a world of difference.

Has anybody out there done this to good effect?

Any snags?
 

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Utopia back rest is a good investment, helped me, I had same one on my Helix. I am now thinking of a Corbin with back rest, called them yesterday and said they could make me a close seat with more padding in back to bring it 1in ahead. Does any one know if it is the same distance as the stock seat or is it longer to back rest, and how much higher than stock :?:
 

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I use the Back Align brace - got it through Whitehorse Press, but available other places, too. It helps my lower back that tends to get very uncomfortable after an hour or two. For $39 US, an affordable choice to see if it works for you!

Madonna
 

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Seat modifications helped me and my wife, quite a bit.

Adding foam to the front of the seat, transfers some weight to my thighs, and off the back and tail bone. In essance, create a "Pocket" for you butt.

Re-conturing the butt stop, moved the support up closer to the belt line of my back. (Lumbar Support) It also stopped the feeling of being pushed foward on your butt.

Gel Pads in the seat reduced the shock from rough roads.

These changes have allowed us to go up to 400 miles a day.
Before 30 miles was pushing it, before we would have to take a break. Now we can burn a tank of fuel, before we take a break.

If needed, the next sep would be the Utoipa back rest.
A Good Physical Theropist really helps to.
 

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Back Problems. Mine.

I am well versed in back problems having had five back surgeries. C5, 6 and 7 are all fused which was the result of three surgries some years apart as problems persisted. As a result, not of the surgeries, I have nerve damage to my right arm and shoulder which has resulted in the loss of some muscle mass and limited use in some positions. A few years ago had lower back surgery due severe pain. Fixed problem. Seven weeks ago after about six months of debilerating leg and knee pain had extensive lower back surgery. Wheeled me out at 0730 and returned me from surgery twelve hours later. Solution was taking bone out of my hip and installing between numerous lower back vertebra then building two titanium cages around my spine to hold everything together. During this last period leading to surgery I could not ride and sold three motorcycles. One was a roadrace bike, one a highly modified sportbike and a Honda VTX also highly modified. Now as a result of this last surgery, seven weeks ago, I can ride anything. Am nearly daily riding a racing bicycle or hiking on difficule forest trails.
The reason I have gone through all this meaningless stuff is this: In every case where I had surgery, I have had a total of 14 major and minor ones, I was much better after surgery than I was before.
A very important factor was I worked out, no matter how I felt, till the day prior to surgery and insured I was in good shape. I am now rapidly approaching 73 and am a strong proponent of surgery to fix back problems. If I hadn't my activities would have been limited since the mid 70's when I had my first upper back surgery and fusion.
If you have a bad back problem please go to a spine clinic and see a Doctor well versed in this and if recommended give serious thought to corrective surgery. Chuck
 

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I had serious back pain for about 3 months riding my 400. I adjusted the rear shock for the softest ride and that seemed to help. I was going to buy a Corbin seat and decided against it as I was not sure how long I would keep the 400 given that I wanted to make a move to the 650. That turned out to be a good decision as I am now waiting for delivery of my 650 Executive. I am very interested in purchasing a Corbin seat and would appreciate any feedback from owners that have back problems and have that have installed a Corbin seat on their 650.

Cheers
 

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Captainfish, I used to have back aches when I rode over 10 miles. Since I replaced the stock seat with a Corbin, I have not had any aches at all....

Get a Corbin. It's worth the price.

Cheers!

03' 650
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all very much. I do realize that each situation is unique, but I also know that knowledge is power. So far, only a few people have had to go to major extremes (extensive surgery or selling bike) to fix their pain.

I used to love to drive everywhere - trip from California to Wisconsin - sure, lets drive. Screw flying. Driving is peaceful, fun, get to see new sites, spend time talking to your family. Now, driving more than 5 hours gets my back to thumping.

Yes, I do stretches before, during and after drives. But, it just seems that it is THAT position I am in while sitting in the car seat that causes me problems. What I do know, is that just a butt support will not work for me. I am going to need some lumbar support.

I think I might start out with the Utopia since it can be raised upward and forward to assist in the support of my lumbar. And, I have also considered the "girdle". I have had one since my first back twinge some decades ago.

(history: I was working in a fast flowing stream trying to detect the presence of tagged salmon smolts using an antennae that I hold in the water. The power supply and tag-reader is in a unit that I carried on my back; about 30 pounds. Protocol was to twist from left to right while crossing the stream, then when reached the opposite shore proceed upstream a bit and then turn toward the oppostite; criss-cross pattern to cover entire stream. Imagine walking in a slippery stream. Now imagine trying to forge that stream with water up to your hips during high water stage.

Found out later that I had a spinal chord tumor located right at the conus of the chord. Thoughts are that the presence of that tumor led to a weakening of nerves and muscles, which in turn, led to a back injury following my trek in that stream. I have had constant lower back pain that stretches across the top of my hips to my sides ever since. One doctor told me to just deal with it, its life. I about laughed in his face.

I was a field biologist. Now I am relegated to a desk. I can't even play with my son much anymore because constant stooping and bending to pick up an errant ball will tire those muslces out and force me onto the sofa for days afterwards. )

Chuck, thanks for your story. I may just have to go that route yet. Recent MRIs found no recurrence of the tumor that was removed 11/2003, but doc did not say if there is any nerve damage or anything else. I may just have to take a trip to the big city and get an appointment with a spine doc like Chuck suggested.

Physical therapy is nice, but does not solve the underlying problem. Stretches and rehab is nice, but only makes my muscles loose, and does not solve the underlying problem of why they are hurting. Have found out through Dental visits that Anti-Inflammatory drugs work wonders for my back pain. But, my doc won't prescribe me anything above muscle relaxers. Time for another doc.

Well, I guess I have ranted enough.. sorry for long post.
Thanks for your suggestions.
 

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Capt. Fish

A good spine doctor might be worth your while. MY doctor tries everything possible before he will do surgery. This last one, surgery, resulted in trying various things for nearly four months with me in pain all the time before he decided to do the extensive surgery.
Some things that might help and a doctor may try are what they call a six pack. They are steorids you take for a week. The normal six pack did not work for me but stronger steroids did reduce pain temporily.
Then I had a total of three epidurals about a month apart. That is a shot of steorids directly into the effected area of the spine and is not too bad. Someone must for safety drive you home though. Three is the max in a year normaly, I believe. One of them really helped for about a week. A friend my age had the epidurals in, I believe, 1997 and has never had another problem. Worth looking into. In my case my DDD, Degenerative Disk Disease was just too far advanced and when they got into me found some areas where bone was pressing directly on nerves.
Too me, my opinion, you are possibly missing a lot of lifes major pleasures that might be fixable. I suggest you get an opinion from a doctor who specializes in spines. That may be the only way you can find relief. Good luck. I know your pain. Only someone who has been there does. It cannot be explained to others.
 

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Chiropractic did not help, the "six pack" did not help.

Epidurals seemed to do the trick for the last year for me. And some Bextra.

The Airhawk cushions also help on the long rides. Surprisingly while on vacation I took a nice 6 hour ride on a Harley Dyna Low Rider and was fine. Coulda gone another 6 hours. My wife however was feeling the pain in her little bottom by the end and mentioned how much she prefered being on the Burg.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi Seatec,
Nah, not really a stream fisherman... I am more of a warm-water fisherman. But my recent jobs have me managing salmonids. That job I spoke of detailed monitoring the outmigration timing of salmonid smolts through the use of Radio Frequency tags.

Now, I am sitting at a desk dreaming of catching fish. Fortunately at least, my career has taken off so that I can be a manager instead of a field biologist. Going up the career ladder and all that.

Gonna start looking for a good spine doc now.
 

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seatec said:
Does any one know if it is the same distance as the stock seat or is it longer to back rest, and how much higher than stock :?:
If I recall, the "Close" Corbin is actually lower than the stock seat (and you do lose a little trunk space). The regualr Corbin is both higher and farther back than the stock seat.
 

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captainfish said:
Gonna start looking for a good spine doc now.
This is just my opinion, and many may disagree, but I would stay away from MDs in your case. Most are trained in relieving symptoms, not in treating the root causes of dis-ease.

A regular alopath (MD) will treat with pain killers, which is like turning off a fire alarm without puting out the fire. Steroids and NSAIDs can relieve inflammation in the short term, but there is no such disease as steroid deficiency; you need to treat the root condition, not mask the symptoms.

Surgeons will want to cut and paste, because that's what they are trained to do. Spinal fusions, microlumbar dissectomies, etc. But those might be more radical than is warranted.

I suggest you find a good DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) instead. They have training in both alopathic and chiropractic methods, and will often work in a team approach with a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, and/or massage therapist for a wholistic approach.

Of course there are MDs who use a wholistic approach, but they may be hard to find. For DOs and NDs (Doctor of Naturopathy) its part and parcel of their basic approach.

Check you health insurance, too. Some will actually cover memberships in a fitness club if your doctor prescribes regular exercise for rehabilitation/prevention. Many insurance plans cover this under a "Wellness Program" or similar title. Even if back-specific exercise is too painful, doing arm and leg exercises can strengthen the muscles in your back through a phenomenon known as the consensual effect (the muscle-building chemicals that are excreted when exercising one part of the body also circulate, in lesser quantities, to other parts of the body).

captainfish said:
Physical therapy is nice, but does not solve the underlying problem. Stretches and rehab is nice, but only makes my muscles loose, and does not solve the underlying problem of why they are hurting.
I disagree. Maybe in the short term it only "makes [your] muscles loose" (not a bad thing, at that), but if you keep it up over a longer term it can help to strengthen the supporting stuctures of your back, increase the intervertebral spacing to relieve pressure on nerves, aid the body in regenerating healthy tissue, etc. It may take regular sessions over a period of months or even years, but when you think of the alternatives it is usually worth it.

When I was training in massage therapy we had a man come in who had crushed his hand in a commercial fishing accident. After surgery he was still only able to open his hand about half-way from a closed fist. His doctor told him he would never have full use of that hand. He came to our school for a "relaxation session" (what massage therapists jokingly call a "fluff and fold") and I suggested that he let me work on his hand. He checked with his doctor, who said massage wouldn't help, but came back to me anyway.

For six weeks I did twice weekly therapy, including Cyriax cross-fiber friction, deep tissue massage, pin & stretch, etc., and six weeks later he went back to his doctor and showed him the results. From about 50% function he was now up to more than 90%. It was a long and painful process, but it worked for him.

Nothing works 100% of the time for 100% of the people, but it's something to keep in mind.

Anyway, best of luck and I hope whatever you do works out for you.
 

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dero said:
...Have to agree 100% with your "no doctor" comments.

...I found excercise helped for a while, then after experiencing heart problems I was prescribed aspirin (amongst other drugs), also began taking glucosamine supplements for the osteoarthritis and got back into walking around 5 kms a day. Two years later and what a difference...
Congratulations Dero; I'm glad you found relief.

Yes, I should have mentioned glucosamine and chondroitin (two nutritional supplements, sold together in the US under the brand name Schiff MoveFree among others). They're not a quick fix, but can do wonders in prevention and also recovery if used properly as part of a lifelong health and wellness plan.

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid or ASA) is good stuff, and it's been around so long that we know a lot about it. In addition to being an analgesic (painkiller) and antipyretic (fever reducer), aspirin is also an anti-inflammatory. Good stuff to help on the road to recovery, although there are risks associated with long-term use that have to be weighed against the benefits. (I take 81mg per day, and have for years, because as a diabetic I face a greater risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis without it, than of hemorrhagic stroke or glaucoma from taking it. Everyone has to weigh the risks for themselves.)

Walking is amazing in what it can do for the body. Most people don't know that walking a mile actually burns as many calories as running a mile (it just takes longer); is relatively low impact, which is good for the back and knees; and that it helps to stimulate the production and circulation of blood, lymph, cerebrospinal fluid, and synovial fluid (the lubricant in the joints). Walking also strengthens the bones, including the spinal bones, which can help to prevent osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, etc.

Almost all exercise is good, if done properly, but walking is great in that it doesn't require much in the way of special equipment (just good shoes) or facilites (no gym required; just step out your front door and go). Swimming is great, too, but you have to have a pool or good swimming hole near-by, and not everyone does.

A lot of people are afraid to exercise after an injury, and don't see the point anyway. What they don't realize is that the connective tissues in the body are thixotropic, a fancy word that means they get more stretchy and fluid with heat and motion, and get stiffer without it. Most so-called degenerative and aging diseases are actually caused, or at least made worse, by lack of exercise and poor nutrition, and those are things that are within our control with a little bit of education and a lot of determination.

Just to be clear, though, I didn't say "no doctors" -- I suggested that avoiding most MDs in many cases would be my approach. In the USA, Osteopaths (DOs), Naturopaths (NDs), and Chiropractors (DCs) are licensed doctors; they're just not Medical Doctors (MDs). Their scopes of practice vary from state to state, particularly for chiropractors, but they are all doctors. They all have post-graduate degrees from colleges that speciallize in their respective fields. (I understand that in some countries, "osteopath" has a different meaning, and refers to what we might call a physiotherapist.)

The above reminds me of an interesting (to me, anyway) bit of info: in the USA you have be be careful if you want massage for treatment of an injury or illness. Washington, New York, and Florida have the strictest requirements for massage therapists (LMPs or LMTs), some states still have no regulations, and in California it varies from city to city and county to county. In the Los Angeles area one clinic may be required to have therapists with 50 hours of training (not enough, in my opinion. Washington requires 600 plus additional hours every two years), while right across the street a "massage parlor" may have "masseuses" (or, rarely, "masseurs") with no real training at all. One county only requires them to have "Adult Entertainment" licenses (a poor reflection on what true massage therapy is). It's a mess. Under recommendations from the American Massage Therapy Association and other groups more standardization is coming, but it may be awhile. Caveat emptor.
 
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