Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 13, 2016
Summer is a great time for heading to Valleyfair in Shakopee or to your nearest amusement park, but a day full of rides can quickly turn sour if you end up injured on a ride. Most big rides caution against riding if you are pregnant or if you have a history of spine injuries, but we know how appealing some of those roller coasters can look. Today, we share some tips for avoiding spine injuries at the theme parks this summer. Here’s a look at how you can keep your neck and back healthy while riding those big rides this summer.
Fasten Your Belts
We know that the harnesses on some rides don’t fit perfectly, but there’s a reason the ride attendants press down on the contraptions as they walk by. If the harness is loose, there’s more wiggle room for you to get jostled during the ride. Always be sure to tighten your harness as snug as possible, even if it’s slightly uncomfortable, to ensure that your spine is less likely to get rattled around during the ride.
Keep Your Head Against The Headrest
This is another warning you’ll probably see on signs or hear over the loudspeaker as you approach the front of the line. Whiplash is the most common cause of cervical spine pain, and it occurs when your head is thrust forward or backward in an instant. If the ride takes off quickly, or if you are leaning forward while you’re going through a loop-de-loop, your neck may snap back quickly. Always keep your head against the headrest during the ride.
Know Your Limits
If you have a history of spine injuries, or you’re just getting up there in age, you need to be smart about which rides you get on. Rides today are getting higher and faster than in years past, so avoid the biggest rides if you’re worried about exacerbating a previous injury. And remember, it’s not always the biggest rides that are the culprit. Older, wooden coasters often result in more jostling than newer rides.
You don’t need to go on all the big rides right away. Instead, pace yourself and space out the more jarring rides. Try a big ride, then catch a show or a smaller ride, then grab a snack before taking on your next big adventure. Just like other athletic activities, you need to remember to pace yourself. Many times long lines act as a natural buffer between rides, but if you’re fortunate enough to hit the park on a slow day, be conscious about your ride choices throughout the day.
Stop If You Feel Pain
A feeling of dizziness may set in after a particularly large ride, but if you experience other symptoms like back pain, numbness or leg weakness, stop going on rides, as those can be signs of a serious spine issue, and continuing to go on rides can make it worse. See how pain responds in the next hour or so, but the safest bet is to look for some other amusement park activities that are less taxing on your body.