In our normal daily living, neck movement is involuntary or spontaneous. We sometimes do it when there is no pain. But when we can’t move it due to injuries, a neck brace is used to support the neck until it heals. That’s why you’ll find people using a neck brace mostly when they have a neck injury or post-surgery period. The neck brace helps to restrict the free movement of the neck and ensures that the neck injuries heal faster.
However, it is no longer those with neck injuries that wear a neck brace. Bike riders now wear neck braces since it is recommended for them too. So, when should you consider a neck brace for motorcycle riders? Using a neck brace by motorcycle riders protects them against neck injuries, especially when on high speeds during long-distance journeys.
This article will explore the conditions when you should consider a neck brace for motorcycle riders. Also, we will discuss how long you should wear a neck brace and how you should protect your neck while riding a motorcycle.
- What Is a Neck Brace?
- Can You Drive With a Neck Brace?
- Why Should I Wear a Neck Brace?
- When Should You Consider a Neck Brace for Motorcycle Riders?
- How Long Should I Wear a Neck Brace?
- How Can You Protect Your Neck When Riding a Motorcycle?
What Is a Neck Brace?
A neck brace is a neck movement restriction device used to support the cervical portion of the head and spinal cord. One important part of the neck is the spine or neck bones that support the brain and skull. When there is an accident involving the neck, the spine may be in danger. In such a situation, using a neck brace is very crucial. It limits the neck and spine’s movements and allows the injury to heal, thereby preventing secondary damage.
Normally, our neck has different motion ranges, described as flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral bending. Flexion is tilting your head down toward your chest, and the acceptable range of motion is 40 to 60 degrees. The tilting of your head backward is an extension, and the acceptable range is 45 to 70 degrees. Rotation is when you turn your head to the right or left. The acceptable range is 60 to 80 degrees. Lateral Bending is when you bend your neck to lean your ear on your shoulder, either to the right or to the left. 45 degrees is the acceptable range.
But if you have an injury in your neck bone either from accident or post-surgery period, then turning your neck requires caution. One way to protect your neck in this regard is to clip a neck brace. With it on your neck, your normal involuntary or spontaneous motioning of your neck is restricted. So, it’s a kind of precautionary medical measure to help neck fracture or dislocation patients.
Apart from the case of injury, motorcyclists use neck braces for the prevention of neck fractures when riding. But, you shouldn’t put on a neck brace without a recommendation from medical personnel. Furthermore, wearing a neck brace for minor neck pain may cause more harm than good. In such situations, you can opt for a motorcycle helmet for neck pain.
Can You Drive With a Neck Brace?
Two situations may need you to drive with a neck brace. Firstly, is there a legal restriction to driving with a neck brace? Also, does driving with a neck brace offer you the necessary comfort you desire?
From the legal aspect, driving with a neck brace is allowed in most states. However, you should check with the appropriate authorities within your state before you stick with that. On the side of comfort, what you should look at is the condition assessment. For example, if your neck brace limits your ability to move your head up and down while driving, then you need precaution.
In an extreme case, it could be a permanent lack of neck mobility. Furthermore, it means that you cannot assess the road condition properly to see pedestrians and other road users. As such, you should discontinue its use because the situation could result in an accident.
Additionally, neck brace comes in different designs and types. It is important for you to pick the one that best fits your need. So, you should know whether you need the hard type or the soft type that is padded with foam. Please, consult your doctor on this.
Why Should I Wear a Neck Brace?
A neck brace is not part of a fashion style. So, its use is usually warranted by a medical condition, such as neck bone injury from an accident or pains from surgery. We’ll consider some pros and cons of using a neck brace.
- Sprained Neck Supports: A neck brace is useful for a sprained neck. It supports the healing process by keeping the stretched or torn ligaments still.
- To relieve pain and supports healing: After neck surgery, it is important to keep the neck from any form of movement that can increase pains. It is also true for those who have neck pain from an accident. Wearing a neck brace in these scenarios helps to ease the pain and support the healing process
- Bone Alignment: Neck brace can help to keep your bones aligned for them to heal properly. This is particularly important for those with broken cervical vertebra (The Neck Spine).
- Remedy from Whiplash: One of the problems people face is whiplash, and its main cause is damage to the spinal tissues. Severe spinal cord damage can lead to hyperflexion or hyperextension, which is neck rotation injury. Exercise and physical therapies are necessary to cure such conditions, and wearing a soft neck brace can reduce your neck pain.
- Relief from Nerve Compression: Sometimes, Neck Brace is used to reduce pressure on the nerves in the neck.
Despite the benefits of Neck Brace to people with neck issues, there are some setbacks that require precaution.
- Bone loss or osteoporosis: The human body is programmed to know when to use supports. When you use a neck brace, the body will sense reduced mechanical stress around the neck. If this happens, calcium is removed from the bones because it assumes less is needed to hold the head up. The result is that the muscles around the spine become weak.
- Negative side effects: The continuous use of a neck brace when there is no more need for it, results into serious side effects. One of the negative results of using your Neck Brace when you no longer needs it is Muscle Weakening. Muscle weakening happens when your body system senses that you don’t need muscle strength to carry your head. This is what happens when your Neck Brace is doing the job of carrying your head instead of the muscles
- Posture alteration: Normally, wearing a Neck Brace alters normal posture slightly around the neck. Meanwhile, your neck is connected to your backbone. So, whatever alteration done to the neck affects your back bone. So, the prolonged use of the Neck Brace, means that all the connected bones will be stressed beyond necessary. If this happens, the result is upper back injuries and may graduate to paralysis.
When Should You Consider a Neck Brace for Motorcycle Riders?
There are different reasons that can prompt the Motorcycle rider to consider the use of Neck Brace. Some of those reasons are discussed below:
Prevention of Neck Pine Injury
Motorcycles don’t have body coverage and protection like cars. They lack seat belts and airbags that could reduce the impact of forces during crashes. Most times, when there is a motorcycle accident, the rider spins into the air and crashes off. If the head of a biker is heavily impacted in an accident, then there is the possibility for the rider to have severe neck spine damage. For this reason, it is paramount for bikers to wear a neck brace when taking a long high-speed journey.
When there is a neck spine related medical condition, it is not good to allow the full motion of the neck. In such conditions, Neck Brace is recommended to restrict the neck/head movement to relieve pain and to promote healing. So, the Neck Brace provides a kind of therapeutic supports for neck spine injury patients.
Prevention of Injury Aggravation
In most cases, movement of the neck is involuntary or spontaneous. People don’t turn their neck after considering whether to turn it or not. They just respond to demands that calls for it. Full motion movement of the neck/head without precaution when there is medical condition, can aggravate existing injury on the Neck. Neck Brace is one device that can prevent that from happening
So, in summary, when should you consider a neck brace for motorcycle riders? It is when there is a need to stabilize the head and place restrictions on neck movements for medical reasons.
How Long Should I Wear a Neck Brace?
The period you need to wear a neck brace depends on your specific condition. For some minor neck pain, you may not use a neck brace for more than seven days. Extended use of a neck brace can cause your neck muscles to stiffen and be weak. Neck brace can sometimes add additional pressure to the neck, which may result in several side effects in some individuals. This usually occurs by wearing the stuff for a longer time. If you think that you need to continue the usage, then talk to your doctor.
How Can You Protect Your Neck When Riding a Motorcycle?
Research on the effectiveness of neck braces is still inconclusive at this time. However, there are numerous instances of how a neck race has saved the lives of people who took a great fall. The brace works by preventing the neck from hyper-extending if the landing is on the head by transferring the force to the shoulders. So, for precautionary measures, riders should wear neck braces when taking a long high-speed ride on bikes.
The idea behind using a neck brace is to slow down head movements in all directions in the event of a fall. It also prevents extreme bending of the head in a crash that involves major head impact. So, wearing a neck brace when riding your bike can help to minimize the forces that act on the cervical spine in an accident. There are different kinds of neck braces, the soft and very hard types, for different purposes. The one recommended for your neck protection as a bike rider is the hard type.
Neck brace is highly beneficial to people with neck injuries in so many ways. Neck race is a kind of remedy for medical conditions. It is not something you should wear because you feel like supporting your head for some reason. It is only beneficial to you when you have the need that requires it. For motorcycle riders, a neck brace can serve as a major protection for neck spine damage in case of an accident.
So, the question of when should you consider a neck brace for motorcycle riders is worth answering. For prevention, we recommend that a bike rider wears his neck brace. It also provides great support in case of neck spine injury. So, bike riders in such conditions can also relieve their pains with it. But there are side effects of using a neck brace. So, all users should take precautionary measures when the need arises. There must not be improper and unnecessary prolonged usage of a neck brace.