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Roller Coasting around Back Pain

By Savanna Stone
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Roller Coasters and carnival rides are fun (for some people). They allow you to feel like an astronaut taking off, experiencing Gs, and the next second you feel like a skydiver, falling from space. What a thrill, living on the edge, literally, and then falling off. You go up, you go down, you go around, if it’s a good roller coaster. If it’s a bad roller coaster or ride, you jerk up, you crash down, you get stuck while going around. And those jerks and bumps can put kinks and strains in your back and neck. If you love roller coasters, you usually work through the pain. If you hate roller coasters, you don’t have pain because you didn’t get on—maybe that really was the smartest decision. But there should be more options for people who love those rides. They should be able to feel like they can fly if they want to, and they should be able to do it without the pain.

Here’s how to prevent pain from rides:1

Stretch. Preventing back and neck pain from rides is similar to preventing back and neck pain in general. The first thing you should do is stretch like you’re getting ready to play a professional basketball game. Don’t worry about being the weirdo doing stretches while you’re waiting in line for the ride; if they laugh, the joke’s on them because you won’t have back pain and they will. Stretching will help because a lot of the pain that rides cause is from sudden jerks and movements. Stretching will loosen up your muscles so that when you are suddenly moved from left to right or from up to down, your muscles aren’t stiff and rigid, which is what causes kinks and bumps and pain. 

Hydrate. The second thing you need to do is keep hydrated. Not soda, because that actually dehydrates you. Drink water and drink a lot of it. Hydration will increase blood flow and circulation, which will keep your muscles loose for a longer period of time after stretching. Hydrate so that your public stretching won’t go to waste. It’s better to have to pee 30 times a day than to have neck pain forever.

Bring some pain prevention supplies. Consider bringing a cold pack to the park. Chirp has a Hot & Cold Therapy Pack that would be perfect. Or just put your slushy on the part that hurts. Using a cold pack will reduce inflammation, easing the pain so that you can keep enjoying the thrill of the coasters. Or if you don’t want to stretch and be the one putting a slushy on your back, bring some over-the-counter painkillers and put ‘em down with all that water you should be drinking. 


Thirty-eight percent2 of carnival and amusement park ride injuries are back injuries, and twenty-two percent are neck injuries. If you insist on being that statistic by getting on the sketchy rides, utilize these tips so you can enjoy your day. Or give up rides all together. But we both know that probably won’t happen; otherwise you wouldn’t have read to the end. 

Sources:

1. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/roller-coasters-how-to-avoid-neck-and-back-pain/

2. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-state-fairs-wont-tell-you-1310959406666