Tips for riding a motorcycle with a herniated disc

You’re a devout biker but you’ve just been diagnosed with a herniated disc. What do you do? You may believe that you must give up riding until your disc is fully healed, but this isn’t necessarily the case. There are simple adjustments you can make to keep your spine healthy while enjoying a ride on the open road.

First, let’s review the definition of a herniated disc to better understand how riding a motorcycle may sometimes worsen symptoms. The spine features cushioning discs that essentially serve as shock absorbers and sit between each vertebra, or the bones that make up the spine. These discs feature a soft, gel-like core and a tough outer shell. Years of wear and tear, a sudden injury or a degenerative condition can cause tears to develop in a disc’s shell, forcing its inner contents to seep into the spinal canal and possibly aggravate nearby nerve roots or the spinal cord.

Riding a motorcycle with a herniated disc

Before jumping on your bike, it’s important to consult with your physician about your symptoms and what activities you should avoid as you heal. Based on the severity of your herniated disc, your overall health and several other factors, he or she may recommend for you to stay off your motorcycle until your symptoms have improved.

In the event that your physician gives you the green light to ride, be sure to keep these easy tips in mind:

  1. Maintain proper posture. This will depend on the type of your motorcycle, as standard, cruiser and sports bikes are built differently. Be sure to speak with a professional at your bike shop about the ideal body posture for your motorcycle.
  2. Strengthen your core muscles. Having strong core muscles is key to protecting your spine. Try low-impact exercises like Pilates, swimming or yoga to strengthen and elongate the muscles that support your neck and back.
  3. Stretch well. Giving your hamstring, neck and back muscles a good stretch before your ride can help keep you comfortable while on the road and reduce soreness after.
  4. Swap out the seat. Most motorcycles are built with a standard seat. Consider investing in a more comfortable option with shock-absorbing qualities.

Laser Spine Institute offers a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open spine operations for patients who cannot manage disruptive herniated disc symptoms through conservative treatment alone. Contact our team today to learn about the many benefits of our outpatient procedures. To discover if you’re a candidate for treatment, request a free MRI review.*

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