Four Tips to Protect Your Spine on Roller Coaster Rides

While thrill rides at the amusement park are safe for most people, it’s important to take steps to protect your back and neck when riding roller coasters and other high-speed attractions. The sudden, forceful movements of these rides can be tough on the neck and lower back, and can even damage bones, muscles, ligaments, and soft tissue.

Follow these four tips during your next theme park visit to prevent pain and injury.

Prepare Before Visiting

Stretching exercises in the days leading up to your trip and right before you go on the ride can reduce tension in the back and neck, which is often a contributing factor to injury. Loosening tight muscles can reduce the risk of muscle spasms when the back is subject to force and rapid movement. Here are some back stretches to relieve pain and loosen up those muscles. You should also drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, mainly when you’re visiting a theme park on a hot day.  

Note Safety Warnings on Rides

Amusement park ride warnings exist for a reason. If the sign says you shouldn’t ride if you have back or neck pain, it’s essential to follow this advice to avoid exacerbating an existing injury. Many rides also note that you shouldn’t ride if you are overweight. If you don’t fit in the seat correctly, you are at risk of hurting yourself.

Use Safety Mechanisms

Most roller coasters have metal grab bars that can be used to brace yourself during the ride. Doing so can help mitigate some of the force on your spine. Also, make sure the attendant checks that your safety belt or harness is fastened correctly and tightened before the ride starts. In some parks, you can try the seats while you’re waiting in line to make sure they are comfortable enough for you to ride. Be sure to also check out these tips to prevent back pain while riding roller coasters.

Pay Attention

Keep your eyes open on the ride so you can anticipate big drops, twists, and turns and protect yourself as they occur. For example, if your ride exceeds 30 miles per hour, you’re at risk for whiplash if you allow your head to snap back, so try to hold your posture during the wildest thrills. Avoid leaning forward, which can increase the pressure on your spinal discs.

By preparing yourself and being vigilant when it comes to your health, you can enjoy a day out at the theme park without worrying about your back! Be sure to visit your doctor if you experience back or neck pain the day after your amusement park visit. If your pain is more serious than expected, speak with one of the local spine experts at Marc Cohen Spine Institute. Schedule your appointment today and our experts will find the cause and recommend a proper treatment.