8 Tips to Prevent Back Pain While Riding Roller Coasters

You might love hitting the thrill rides at your local amusement park, but you’re probably not as enamored with the back pain that can be caused by the jarring drops, twists, and turns. Fortunately, you can take steps to minimize the back pain you feel following a summer day spent at the theme park.

Why Do Roller Coasters Cause Back Pain?

Roller coasters and other amusement park rides are some of the most common root causes of spinal injuries. These rides quickly increase and decrease in speed and violently jerk from side to side, causing trauma to soft tissue, ligaments, muscles, and bones. These rides can trigger muscle spasms, exacerbate arthritis symptoms, and place pressure on spinal discs. This is especially true for those who have a history of back and neck problems.

How Can Back Pain Be Prevented When Visiting the Amusement Park?

The idea of never riding another thrill ride again can be a saddening concept to grasp. To your benefit, there’s no need to retire from roller coasters to avoid possibly damaging back pain. You can take these steps to lower your risk for back pain when riding a roller coaster:

  • Heed warning signs, especially those that note you shouldn’t ride if you have existing neck and back problems. Most rides also prohibit passengers who are pregnant or who have heart problems.
  • Don’t ride when you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Stretch to loosen tight muscles before going on a ride.
  • Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated throughout your day at the park.
  • Make sure the roller coaster has a comfortable seat before riding.
  • Use the grab bars to brace yourself during the ride.
  • Pay attention while on the ride to avoid whiplash.
  • Avoid leaning forward, which can increase pressure on the spine during twists and turns.

If you experience pain the day after riding roller coasters, rest your back, take over-the-counter pain medication, and ice the area to reduce swelling and pain. Although most strains caused by amusement park rides resolve quickly after a day or two, you could have a more serious back condition. See your doctor if the pain is not alleviated with the self-care steps above. He or she can determine the root cause of your back pain and recommend an effective treatment regimen. If it is found that your back issues are more serious than expected, make sure to visit a local spine expert. Marc Cohen and the spine experts at the Marc Cohen Spine Institute have experience helping the people of the New Jersey area alleviate back pain through patient-specific methods. We understand the limitations constant back pain could be putting on your life. Take the first step in becoming pain-free. Contact the Spine Institute at one of our many locations to schedule your appointment today.