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Amusement Parks: Not a Thrill for Your Spine

By Sara Butler

Theme parks are one of the best things about summer, but the potential injuries you can sustain from the rides certainly isn’t. There are many things that contribute to the rate of accidents and injuries at an amusement park; there is no way even the most advanced rider can guarantee an injury-free experience. Here’s how you can try to care for you back while still having fun at amusement parks this summer!

What’s the Problem?

The rides that drop, bump, whip, spin, or jerk are going to be the rides with the greatest risk of potential injury. Roller coasters are the leaders of the pack when it comes to stress placed on the spine, since the G-forces applied to your body can be great as you ride them. If you’re a bit of a theme park aficionado, then you’ve already experienced the forces on your body that can lead to injury – they don’t call that ride the “Scrambler” for nothing!

Is Injury Common?

You may be thinking that after all the rides you’ve gone on, you’ve not injured yourself at all. That’s great, but you can’t forget the potential for injury is always there due to the nature of the ride. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAP), the chance of serious injury in amusement parks are pretty low – only about one in 16 million. The problem lies with how the injuries are reported. Both minor and severe injuries often go unreported and don’t result in immediate treatment on the spot, so they’re not a part of the statistic. The bottom line is that there’s no way to know for sure how likely spine-related injuries occur at amusement parks, but they are one of the most common injuries.

What You Can Do

The good news is that rides are designed to keep you as safe as possible. They have bracing, padding, bars, and belts to keep you comfortable but restrained. The problem is that even with these safety standards, not everyone will be safe to ride.

Injuries can really take the wind out of your fun sails in the summer, so applying just a few rules to your fun times can help you be safer. You should:

  • Understand that not all rides are for everyone – For people outside the size norms the rides were made for, the ride may not be safe. If the restraints don’t fit properly and your feet aren’t flat on the floor, then you have a higher risk for injury.
  • Not ride with existing back problems – If you have a back problem already, then stay off the ride.
  • Take caution signs seriously – The signs at the ride entrance that warn you against riding if you have a condition such as heart disease, seizure disorders, or pregnancy should be taken seriously.
  • Follow basic fitness principles – Stretch before and after rides to keep limber.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.


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