Wearing helmet = tension headache. - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Wearing helmet = tension headache.

Any of you guys familiar with a tension headache?
Tension Headaches

I have finally identified why I get them. They happen every single time I ride my motorcycle for greater than one hour WITH A HELMET! I will never experiment on the road by not wearing a helmet but can confirm if I ride my vintage trials bikes in the woods WITHOUT a helmet for an hour or more I do not get the tension headaches. No flame war please on helmet wearing....I am an avid helmet supporter, and can respect your choice should you not want to wear one.

I have identified that both my Vulcan 900 and Stratoliner XV1900 have completely different hand and back posture. This does not seem to have much effect.

During higher speeds wind bypasses around the windscreen and really attacks the helmet. I am constantly having to tighten muscles to counteract the uncomfortable feeling of the wind. I believe this could be one of the issues.

I am looking for input from you guys on this. These types of headaches are debilitating, and tend to occur after the ride is complete. Does anyone know of any excercises that have worked for them? Any tricks to prevent? etc.......

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 10:26 AM
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I can only think of a couple of things you might do.

FIRST, a question. If you wear the helmet for a couple of hours and you are not on the bike, do you still get the headache? Is it the helmet, or a combination of the helmet and the associated effects of riding? (posture, wind, etc)

1. Take some pre-emptive ibuprofen.
2. Be sure to stay hydrated. Drink more water.
3. Take more short breaks and take the helmet off.

1. Do some neck and shoulder stretches as part of your exercise routine. You can build up stress in those muscles.
2. See a massage therapist periodically and focus on that area of your body.

1. See if you can modify the foam in your helmet. Some manufacturers offer different foam inserts as part of the sizing system.
2. Get a helmet that fits your head better. Start trying on helmets from time to time and keep notes on where you feel the contact on your head.
3. Consider windshields.

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Last edited by westcoastkevin; 06-29-2017 at 10:31 AM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 11:52 AM
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I would second the try another helmet.

Helmets fit differently and it may be the one you have isnt for you!

ALSO if I wear tight fitting sunglasses I cant have them on for every long.
The spot behind my ears cant stand the pressure. Maybe for you its the temple area or elsewhere.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 12:20 PM
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As you already have a windshield, I would also consider trying some lowers. As I understand it, they can greatly reduce wind buffeting to the head area.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 04:18 PM
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I agree with trying another helmet and adding lowers. Lowers really do affect the head buffeting for most who have added them. Of course, it can depend on the bike, the lowers and the rider position, too.

I have gotten some minor headaches from a couple of helmets. Switching to a different one solved it.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 10:38 PM
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I don't think what I get would be considered tension headaches. But, when I wear a helmet for 30 minutes or longer, I get neck pain that goes from the top of my neck on the left side down into my shoulder and even into my back near the shoulder blade. I have a full fairing on the Voyager and wind doesn't seem to be a factor but it probably is to some degree. I spent about $350 on the lightest carbon fiber helmet I could afford and it did not help much. A friend gave me a 1/2 helmet which helps a bit more but not as much as not wearing a helmet. I rarely have neck problems since I got the epidural steroid injections, with the exception of riding with a helmet.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-30-2017, 01:31 PM
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Depends on the helmet. I have a Nolan shaped head and have no problem wearing the helmet - perfect fit. I bought a Bell Revolver last year and when I wear that helmet with sunglasses I get a bad head ache. Changed the cheek pads and did help some, but still a headache. I ended up riding without the glasses and no headache. Turns out the glasses were so tight against the back of my ear that I was getting headaches. Without the glasses the Bell feels fine now. Strange but it took me 2 seasons to figure it out. So the moral of the story for me was to stick with the Nolan the next time I buy a helmet. Never thought that helmet fit was so key, but it was for me.

Safe riding.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-30-2017, 02:33 PM
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Used to be a production welder with helmet on for hours on end. I had to be very careful about the placement of the head band and it's tension or I'd have a severe headache. Last year I got a new motorcycle helmet. Not a cheapie. Couldn't wear it for forty-five minutes without a splitting headache. Fortunately it had removable check pads. Took them out and used single edge razor blade to shave the interior back side of the check pads enough to relieve the pressure, and no more headaches from this helmet. Hope this helps.

Be safe out there.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-30-2017, 02:59 PM
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This is from Arai, but it's the same for all helmets. Always get the right helmet shape for your noggin.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-30-2017, 05:18 PM
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I agree with the idea of wearing your helmet around while off the bike to see if it's the helmet or something else. Yeah, it's dorky, but when I get a new helmet, I usually wear it around the house for a couple of hours first to make sure I don't get any hot spots or discomfort before actually taking it for a ride.

If it is the helmet, check the padding/cushions around the back and bottom around the neck area. The only time I've ever had a helmet problem, which was not a motorcycle helmet, it gave me a headache to the point that I was having trouble seeing. When I finally got the chance to take it off, I felt around the neck area and found that the nape strap had gotten twisted inside its sleeve, and was putting extra pressure on a spot on the back of my neck. I straightened the strap out out and wore that helmet for several more years without another problem.
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