A day out at the theme park is a lot of fun, and as an occasional treat there's not much risk to your health. However, if you just can't get enough of roller coasters and ride regularly, then you could be risking serious damage to your neck, which is affected by the strain of many popular rides.
Neck pain can seriously affect your day-to-day life and prevent you from enjoying even the gentlest roller coasters. Luckily, there are ways to minimise the risk without missing out on your favourite rides. Read on to find out how to stay safe without sacrificing your hobby.
Do regular stretches
Regular stretching is key to maintaining good spine and neck health, which helps to reduce your risk of injury. This is absolutely essential if you plan to ride roller coasters regularly. Getting into the habit of completing a short stretching routine will not only reduce your risk of neck injury when riding roller coasters, it will also benefit your overall health.
Immediately prior to going on a ride, stretching will help to loosen up your muscles, lessening the chance of any strains. The risk of muscle spasms is also greatly reduced by a good stretch.
Space out your roller coaster rides
If you ride roller coasters a lot, chances are you tend to plan ahead for special events and new ride openings. Starting a calendar for your theme park and roller coaster plans is a great idea. Try to space out visits as much as possible, as this gives your body time recover after being put under stress on fast or violent rides.
Try marking down the events you absolutely can't miss, and then consider removing or rescheduling those which aren't so high on your list. It may be hard to feel like you're missing out, but remember that by looking after your health you're ensuring that you can continue to safely ride roller coasters for many years to come. Rides are no fun if you're in pain!
Don't ignore pain
When you hop off your favourite roller coaster, you're still full of adrenaline. Even if you feel a slight twinge of neck pain, it can be easy to dismiss this as meaningless, but that is actually the worst thing you could do. Pain is an important signal that something is wrong with your body. Don't wait until the pain becomes severe to take action — the sooner it is dealt with, the better.
If you experience pain immediately after a roller coaster, then don't go on any more rides that day — particularly high speed coasters that put strain on the neck and back. If pain persists, then visit a chiropractor for personalised treatment and advice.