Arm pump is easily the number one issue we deal with regularly when working on Moto Racers. Having the opportunity to work consistently on the muscles involved with this particular problem is crucial. It allows the body to heal and recover faster so you can get back to doing what you love.
A day in the life of a moto racer or weekend warrior usually involves a fun day at the moto track, riding across the desert or exploring single track. To keep a bike running well it takes time and care. A bike typically gets tuned up, fluids checked or changed and then cleaned immaculately after riding. Most riders will end up spending thousands of dollars in race fees, gear and bikes. Self care comes last, they forget to take care of the one thing that determines how long they’ll continue to ride and that is their body.
What is Arm Pump?
Arm pump is a term commonly used among motorcycle riders but the clinical term for it is CECS or Chronic Extertional Compartment Syndrome.
CECS is described by this medical article as being, “most common in the lower legs, CECS can occur in any compartment of the extremities; for example, it has been described in the forearms of motocross racers and other athletes. The estimated incidence is about 1 in 2000 persons each year.
CECS is characterized by exercise-induced pain that is relieved by rest. In some cases, weakness and paresthesia may accompany the pain.”
Symptoms may include:
- Weakness in the forearms or hands
- Severe Pain
- Numbness in forearms or hands
- Tightness or tingling
- Induced by riding
- Subsides shortly after riding
What causes Arm Pump?
Let’s review some basic anatomy to get abetter look at what is happening.
Blood flow increases exponentially to the muscles tissue in the forearm. The cobweb or fibrous fascia surrounds and encases the connective tissue and muscles. Because blood flow from repetitive movements can increase the muscle tissue the muscle expands.
Consequently, the fascia can prevent the muscle from expanding too much because its job is to keep everything in place.
Riders may start experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above. This is why having regular fascial release work done is important.
What Can I Do To Avoid Arm Pump?
The answer really is pretty easy. Take the time to get your body worked on. It takes weeks, months and sometimes years to build up the issues that will cause arm pump. One session with your Massage Therapist, PT or chiropractor is not going to magically get rid of your pain.
If you are currently experiencing arm pump we recommend a series of 5-10 appointments targeting the upper body. Consistent body work (1-2hr a month) will help you maintain and repair your body. Surgeries for CESC could be avoided if you are being proactive with your bodywork.
Search out and find a therapist who will use cupping, IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation), and trigger point therapy to relieve the tension that builds up in your shoulders, forearms and fingers.
Riders We Have Worked With:
Here at Summit we’ve had the opportunity to work with a few professional moto athletes, like off-road racer Skyler Howes.
“I did the Float tank, massage and cupping and feel like a new person. It was so nice to go in to relax and clear the mind and recover the body.
The staff is really nice and personable, 10/10. Feeling recovered and ready. Thank you for tuning me up!”
And Enduro and Desert racer Josh Knight.
“I completed my second session today at @summitspaandfloat. This has really been my first experience with massage therapy and it’s been really good and very different from what I expected.
Honestly I always assumed massage therapy was more focused on pleasure and relaxation, however after completing a few sessions I’ve learned that there are far more healthy and athletic benefits to receiving consistent massage therapy.
I’ll describe it as a pleasant discomfort, for me it feels like working out. I experience some temporary discomfort, however I know that it’s doing a lot of good.
Today I had a full massage therapy treatment including cupping as well as a 60 minute float. The cupping treatment is really interesting and provides an inverted massage by pulling up on the muscles. There are many different benefits to the cupping treatment including increased range of the muscles…I’m excited to find new ways to improve my riding and take care of my body.”
At what age can you start working on Arm Pump?
Are you racing? Do you train regularly? Is this a sport or hobby you plan on taking a part in for years to come? Then no age is too early.
Athletes need consistent bodywork to keep up with the physical demands their sport requires.
Children and teens are especially important because their body is changing constantly and they are learning how to ride. Children and teens are crashing, training, and riding hard, and they need parents and coaches who will help them recover fast.
Bodywork isn’t a luxury, it’s necessary for functional body movement, recovery, and improving skills on and off the race course. Parents or guardians of minors are encouraged and required to come and sit in the room for the entirety of the session. This allows both the parent and the child/teen to feel comfortable at all times.
This particular child shown gets worked on at least once a month and regularly asks for cupping for his sore muscles.
Article Written By: L.M.T. Katrina G. Long
Katrina Long has been a Utah Licensed Massage Therapist for 22 years and is the co-owner of Summit Spa & Float located inSpanish Fork & Park City Utah.
Her love for massage came at the early age of 14 when as a gymnast she received therapy that helped to facilitate her getting back into the gym and competing. Massage for her has always been a necessary avenue to repairing and fixing ailments of the body so that a person can have a better quality of life.
Katrina did her Massage Therapy apprenticeship training in Aiea, Hawaii and her Anatomy through BYU.
She is the wife of a first responder and a mother of 4, she loves water sports, canyoneering, beekeeping, and has enjoyed the last 4 years being involved in her community as an elected official.
By day you may see her as a put together professional, but in the early morning and weekends you can find her with her muck boots on, feeding animals with hay in her hair or covered in dirt from gardening.
Book With Katrina:
- New client
- Returning client who hasn’t been in for over a year
- Current client who didn’t book out their next few appointments and absolutely NEEDS Katrina to work on them last minute.
2hr minimum session may include various techniques at no additional cost.