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Relief of carpal tunnel syndrome

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by SevenSins, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. #1 SevenSins, Dec 8, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015

    I have been monitoring my wrists and hands for a few years and had the occasional numb hand when riding.
    More recently however I definitely have the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome as my hands are going numb at night, occasionally when driving the car, using mobile phone when in bed, and especially both hands going numb on my morning commute. Usually just morning commute for some reason.. occasionally on a fun ride not work related, but much less often.

    I am booked in for nerve conduction tests in the new year to check on the severity. I don't have pain as yet however if the symptoms continue I might need the surgery which means I'll be out of action for 6 weeks!!

    I've read a few other threads on NR regarding this plus other sites on the net.
    The question I have is for those who have had carpal tunnel syndrome and what the bike modifications have done to improve this.
    Reason I ask is that my GSR 750 and I will be celebrating our 4th year of life together on the road in January and I am considering another bike in the near future. So I could:
    • put bar end weights to reduce vibration
    • put some weight inside the handle bars to reduce vibration.
    • use foam hand grips on bike.
    • use a throttle rocker...
    • I could look at the current position of the handlebars and adjust (although it's a naked bike so not really sporty position, however I do often crunch down low)
    • I have tiny hands so my levers could be adjusted - although the clutch is aftermarket and adjustable and I have it on wide position as this is better for my friction point and personal preference, Front brake lever is stock and non adjustable.
    • I could use the wrist supports at night however my GP said it would relieve symptoms but not stop the cause.
    • I could and have started doing stretches.
    Any other changes I could do on the bike?
    People who have experienced CTS or know about this, Is is worth doing all this if I'm seriously considering a new bike in the coming months?
    Should I do these mods to current bike and assess how it goes, which may help my Dr and specialist decide if I need surgery?

    On another note - I had a premonition whilst waiting at GP this morning. I was looking at a bike in the carpark and thought 'the person that gets on this bike will reverse out and drop it." Weird to think that I know. Anyway soon after this well weathered looking dude in bike gear exited the GP and I thought woohoo champion he's still riding.
    Low and behold as he reversed out of the space he dropped the bike!!!!
    I went out to help. Poor bugger, he was a little shaken. We got bike upright and he said he was 60 (not too old I thought, but still pretty good) and he had been thinking maybe he should give it up, but it's his world... I encouraged him and said, nah, just take your time on every move, don't worry about the rest of the world. I drop my bike all the time (lol cause it's true...ok not all the time, but when I've rushed and have been an idiot I've dropped it once or twice). Bike started no worries, we shook hands and introduce ourselves.. So Michael keep on trucking I say.. Cheers :)
    • Like Like x 1
  2. My Mrs had CTS during her last pregnancy so I saw just how bad it can be. She got it due to the excess fluid and weight she was carrying at the time. Once the the fluid and weight disappeared after pregnancy she still got it, but no where near as bad as before.

    Good luck with your search for a solution.
  3. This might be relevant... a friend of mine was suffering from numb hands but only when riding, and immediately after. Obviously we told him that it was the vibration (BMW boxer engine) but he went to the doctors who immediately diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome and were ready to send him into surgery ASAP.
    We convinced him to try some heavy bar end weights, and MIRACULOUSLY his carpal tunnel disappeared!
    Now, it's clear that your symptoms are quite different so don't take this example as the answer. But it's got to be worth trying some weights first, just in case?
    Some of 'em can't wait to go the knife.
  4. thanks, I might just get some weights as it will be a couple of months before I get new bike and/or consider surgery if that's required. Now I just need to find some to fit... cheers!!!!
  5. Take weight off your wrists by using your back and core muscles while locking yourself into the tank with your inner thighs and knees. Your hands should have a loose grip on the bars and flap those elbows every now and again, to emphasize the loose grip never pull on your bars, push the bars on the side you want to turn to. All of this will take strain off your wrists, ensuring their burden is minimal and that they're loose, vibration should be felt as a light tickle in your hands.
  6. Firstly I'm glad to hear your also seeking medical/professional help as these kind of conditions only get worse unless you address the reason they happen in the first place. Often it's a repetitive stress injury, I'd be looking at doing as many of the above things you have suggested yourself.

    Change is needed, you most certainly want to avoid and limit as much vibration as possible. You will be far more comfortable, also very much listen to the poster right above in that you should reduce as much stress/strain on your wrists and thumbs. Carpal tunnel and De Quervain's tenosynovitis are both affected by thumb movement but in different ways, wrist action can play a important part.

    I'd see what your doctor suggests but it may mean some time off the bike to allow inflammation to reduce, but I'd be trying to better my riding posture and position or if possible change it. Maybe different handle bars may help with a better/more comfortable wrist angle.

    For me I had to even change the type of bike I ride but I'm sooo much more comfortable now, and hey end of the day is it really what we ride or more to the point that we ride. Everyone's different but look at anything that will reduce vibration but more so change posture, strengthen core and back and relax those wrists.
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  7. Thanks peeps for the good advice.
    Grip on bars is not an issue as I corrected any death grip I may have had over 5 years ago when symptoms first started.
    I was on my L's then and certainly initial numbness was from this. I used to get the claw hand.
    However it's beyond this now and I feel it's more of a position/vibration issue.
    I just rest my hands on the bars lightly and my arms are easily flappable.. oh and I use my bike as a thighmaster so knee grip and core support is my default position.

    I'll try to damp down the vibration as much as possible. My usual wrist position is slightly extended around 10 degrees, however my riding style is dynamic dependent on what I'm doing and where I'm riding.
    So I may be crunched down low for higher speeds and cornering, or perched up high and upright like a BMW rider...(or meercat) when I'm approaching busy intersections etc..

    My next bike will be another naked.. I'm considering the Monster 821 :happy::joyful:(y):LOL::D:):playful: so body position should be similar to my current bike.

    I'm going to talk to my mechanic today to see about bar end weights. I have heated grips on the bike so I'm not sure what I can use on the ends..
    A couple of years ago I was considering aftermarket handle bars however I probably won't worry now as I'll be bike shopping later in the new year..

    thanks again team, much appreciated.
  8. I used to get pressure on my wrists under braking. Mainly around town. Now I sit up hard against the tank and hold on more with my knees. Still get it a bit if I'm "covering" the brakes and clutch.
  9. Thanks, I've seen a few bikes with that stomp grip stuff... seems to do a good job.
    Well I'll be getting some heavy bar ends this afternoon..yay!
    Will see if that helps a little.
  10. As Sheldon from Big bang says:
    I may have aggravated my old Nintendo injury...

    There are hand physios that specialise in this. Alternatives are acupuncture and a massage (one where it hurts not pleasurable lol)
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. I got bar end weights fitted on the way home. Even on the very short ride after I noticed an immediate improvement to the point I wonder how I have put up with the vibrations on the bike over the last 4 years. It will be interesting to see how I go over the coming weeks if this is enough to relieve the symptoms or I still need to make more adjustments :)
  12. Yeah it's that we ride good call
  13. Bar end weights and foam grips can help ...
    Not sure about internal weights ... maybe
    I hate throttle rockers ... they get caught on sleeves and stuff
    Risers can help with wrist alignment ... make sure your posture is correct ... consult a trainer
    Stretches are good but be gentle
    Voltaren gel,
    Thiamine (vit B1)