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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Does anyone here suffer from back or neck pain???

Does anyone here suffer from back or neck pain???

Zimm
Posted: 9/13/00 at 3:47:18 PM
Views: 14109

I've had a bad back for a few years now. I never went to a chiropractor before this summer, but my neck/upper back kept hurting after riding some coasters. The last few years I would occasionally get a stiff neck and back after riding some coasters, but it wasn't too bad. I went to Hershey Park early this year and my neck hurt a whole lot by the end of the day. I couldn't even move my head that much because it hurt so much. Then, in May of this year, I rode the C.I. Cyclone 2 times in a row. The first time, it hurt a little but not too bad. So, I rode again. The second time it hurt a little more, but within 10 minutes, my upper back was in a lot of pain. I then decided to go to a chiropractor and its helped a good amount. I still get some pain, but not as much. I do some stretches and excersizes but I'm not 100%.

These pains also prevented me from going to BGW earlier this year. I was planning to go on the 2nd week it was open, but my neck started hurting earlier that week for no reason and it took a while to get better. Its really annoying when I can't go on a ride or to a park because of this :(

Who else here gets these pains? What do you do for it so it doesn't hurt as much?? Anyone have any advise or similar stories?

Zimm

you are not alone! by sarah w. at 9/13/00 11:02:30 PM

Hi there!

Ok, I can help you in two ways. First, as a fellow coaster lover who suffers as well...Second, as a "medical person" who can give you some advice.

I have had back/neck pain since I was a teen. I always blamed it on my older brother who, when I was little, would pick me up an drop me headfirst on pillows, blankets, the couch, etc. I have been going to a chiropractor for 11 years and I feel that it helps. I have not had any specific injury (such as a severe car wreck or herniated disc) but it is aggravated by riding in a car for a long time, sitting in one position for too long, sleeping wrong, and riding coasters/bumper cars/etc.

As a Certified Medical Assistant, I have worked in the medical field for nearly a decade. I have seen a lot and learned a lot. I do not diagnose or treat (that's the doctor's or PA's job) but I can give you some suggestions.

Many "medical people" do not view chiropractic as "medicine". However, I believe in a lot of "alternative" therapies. I would suggest that you continue your visits to the chiro. Also, have you tried over the counter medicines, such as Tylenol/Advil/Motrin? Tylenol (acetominophen) is a pain reliever; Advil and Motrin are the same drug (ibuprofen) and are low dose anti inflamatories. Other pills such as Aleve are in the same "family" but you must be aware that some people develop stomach irritations and ulcers from these medications. Before you try any new OTC meds, please read the label carefully.

Other things that you may have tried include ice or heat, or a combination of both. Try one or the other, 20 minutes on/20 minutes off. Try alternating them and see if it helps. Just remember: if you use a heating pad, NEVER fall asleep with it on (your body temp drops while you sleep and you can actually get burned, or worse, strangled by the cord) and if you use ice/icepacks, be sure you wrap it in a towel or cloth (if applied directly to skin, it can cause minor frostbite).

If you ever have pain in one specific area that doesn't go away, get checked by an MD. Herniated discs can happen, as can bone spurs and other problems.

Now, how do I, as a coaster lover, deal with it? Well, I take Advil ahead of time (it lasts about 6 hours so I keep some with me at the parks) and wear comfy, well supported shoes. You may want to invest in those "Back Guard" inserts for shoes...they cost about $10 but work well as "shock absorbers" for your spine. When you ride, keep your spine straight and your head back, and try not to tense up. I'm a woodie fan, so it's tough not to get tossed around too much! Take frequent breaks...sit down and relax! Also, be sure to drink lots of water...Dehydration can cause muscle cramps and that can lead to discomfort.

Listen to what your body says. I don't know your age or medical history, but try the easy stuff first. I don't believe that prescription pain killers really help, just mask the pain and turn most people into zombies. Perhaps some spine x-rays will shed some light on things. Even try one of those "massagers" that are hand-held and see if that helps. Muscles "bunch up" and don't get the oxygen they need, and can't do their job correctly. That's why it hurts. If you have a "significant other" or parent, brother/sister/etc who can rub your back some, try it. It won't damage anything as long as it's not done too hard or too rough. Buy a book and teach technique. Like I said, alternative medicine may not be widespread yet, but some of it really helps.

One other type of relief may be self-relaxation. I don't mean any specific type, but often the mind over matter technique can help. It can't hurt. Learn to relax all of your muscles (I assume that's the problem) and see if it helps.

Some people are also genetically prone to "bad backs". Other medical conditions can affect it, but family history does as well. I know my dad and brother both have problems. Also, being overweight can put a lot of strain on the spine. It's tough, though, to lose weight if it hurts to exercise!

Like I said, I don't know your medical condition or age, but try what I've mentioned and let me know if any of it helps. I hope it does, because it can be miserable!

Take care and keep ridin'!

Email me with any other questions.

sarah
smileywind@hotmail.com

Re: you are not alone! by ray p. at 9/14/00 7:56:12 AM

Wow.... I thought I was the only one who was starting to "wuss out" a bit because of back problems! About 13 years ago, I fell while working at a restaurant and bruised my tailbone and "bruised a joint" in my back. Ever since, my back has been a rather sensitive area. As I have gotten older, i feel my neck is also becoming a source of pain. After my second ride on Speed in Las Vegas a few weeks back, i was unable to turn my neck without some severe pain. My lower back has been giving me problems for several weeks also. After my SFO visit and 3 rides on the Villain this past Sunday (the park was closed to the public for our company picnic), I have come to realize that my coaster riding days may indeed be numbered. After waking up yesterday and not being able to straighten up, I think I may have done some permanent damage to my back. I have a doctor's appointment today, so I hope the news is good....... as I have plans to visit Cedar Point this Sunday!!!

Of course, I have no one to blame but myself...... the parks do have warning signs at the entrance to each ride area. I just choose to ignore them for the sake of doing the one thing in life I truly enjoy.

ray p.
(who thanks Sarah for her advice..... VERY well written!!)

Thanks a lot by Zimm at 9/14/00 11:36:24 AM

> Hi there!

> Ok, I can help you in two ways. First, as a
> fellow coaster lover who suffers as
> well...Second, as a "medical person"
> who can give you some advice.

> I have had back/neck pain since I was a teen. I
> always blamed it on my older brother who, when I
> was little, would pick me up an drop me headfirst
> on pillows, blankets, the couch, etc. I have been
> going to a chiropractor for 11 years and I feel
> that it helps. I have not had any specific injury
> (such as a severe car wreck or herniated disc)
> but it is aggravated by riding in a car for a
> long time, sitting in one position for too long,
> sleeping wrong, and riding coasters/bumper
> cars/etc.

> As a Certified Medical Assistant, I have worked
> in the medical field for nearly a decade. I have
> seen a lot and learned a lot. I do not diagnose
> or treat (that's the doctor's or PA's job) but I
> can give you some suggestions.

> Many "medical people" do not view
> chiropractic as "medicine". However, I
> believe in a lot of "alternative"
> therapies. I would suggest that you continue your
> visits to the chiro. Also, have you tried over
> the counter medicines, such as
> Tylenol/Advil/Motrin? Tylenol (acetominophen) is
> a pain reliever; Advil and Motrin are the same
> drug (ibuprofen) and are low dose anti
> inflamatories. Other pills such as Aleve are in
> the same "family" but you must be aware
> that some people develop stomach irritations and
> ulcers from these medications. Before you try any
> new OTC meds, please read the label carefully.

> Other things that you may have tried include ice
> or heat, or a combination of both. Try one or the
> other, 20 minutes on/20 minutes off. Try
> alternating them and see if it helps. Just
> remember: if you use a heating pad, NEVER fall
> asleep with it on (your body temp drops while you
> sleep and you can actually get burned, or worse,
> strangled by the cord) and if you use
> ice/icepacks, be sure you wrap it in a towel or
> cloth (if applied directly to skin, it can cause
> minor frostbite).

> If you ever have pain in one specific area that
> doesn't go away, get checked by an MD. Herniated
> discs can happen, as can bone spurs and other
> problems.

> Now, how do I, as a coaster lover, deal with it?
> Well, I take Advil ahead of time (it lasts about
> 6 hours so I keep some with me at the parks) and
> wear comfy, well supported shoes. You may want to
> invest in those "Back Guard" inserts
> for shoes...they cost about $10 but work well as
> "shock absorbers" for your spine. When
> you ride, keep your spine straight and your head
> back, and try not to tense up. I'm a woodie fan,
> so it's tough not to get tossed around too much!
> Take frequent breaks...sit down and relax! Also,
> be sure to drink lots of water...Dehydration can
> cause muscle cramps and that can lead to
> discomfort.

> Listen to what your body says. I don't know your
> age or medical history, but try the easy stuff
> first. I don't believe that prescription pain
> killers really help, just mask the pain and turn
> most people into zombies. Perhaps some spine
> x-rays will shed some light on things. Even try
> one of those "massagers" that are
> hand-held and see if that helps. Muscles
> "bunch up" and don't get the oxygen
> they need, and can't do their job correctly.
> That's why it hurts. If you have a
> "significant other" or parent,
> brother/sister/etc who can rub your back some,
> try it. It won't damage anything as long as it's
> not done too hard or too rough. Buy a book and
> teach technique. Like I said, alternative
> medicine may not be widespread yet, but some of
> it really helps.

> One other type of relief may be self-relaxation.
> I don't mean any specific type, but often the
> mind over matter technique can help. It can't
> hurt. Learn to relax all of your muscles (I
> assume that's the problem) and see if it helps.

> Some people are also genetically prone to
> "bad backs". Other medical conditions
> can affect it, but family history does as well. I
> know my dad and brother both have problems. Also,
> being overweight can put a lot of strain on the
> spine. It's tough, though, to lose weight if it
> hurts to exercise!

> Like I said, I don't know your medical condition
> or age, but try what I've mentioned and let me
> know if any of it helps. I hope it does, because
> it can be miserable!

> Take care and keep ridin'!

> Email me with any other questions.

> sarah
> smileywind@hotmail.com

Sarah,

I really appreciate all the advise. I've tried some of the things you said but there are some things I haven't tried. I rode Alpengiest last weekend and it actually made it feel better. On steel coasters with OTHR, I can brace my head on the restraint. On woodies, however, I can't do that and there is more side-to-side motion which is the main thing that hurts. I might ride the C.I. Cyclone again this weekend (I'm going to Brooklyn) and I'll try to prepare the best I can. After all, that was the ride that sent me to the chiropractor. I'll keep your email address in case I'm in pain on Monday.

Thanks again,
Zimm

Re: you are not alone! by Zimm at 9/14/00 11:48:53 AM

> Wow.... I thought I was the only one who was
> starting to "wuss out" a bit because of
> back problems! About 13 years ago, I fell while
> working at a restaurant and bruised my tailbone
> and "bruised a joint" in my back. Ever
> since, my back has been a rather sensitive area.
> As I have gotten older, i feel my neck is also
> becoming a source of pain. After my second ride
> on Speed in Las Vegas a few weeks back, i was
> unable to turn my neck without some severe pain.
> My lower back has been giving me problems for
> several weeks also. After my SFO visit and 3
> rides on the Villain this past Sunday (the park
> was closed to the public for our company picnic),
> I have come to realize that my coaster riding
> days may indeed be numbered. After waking up
> yesterday and not being able to straighten up, I
> think I may have done some permanent damage to my
> back. I have a doctor's appointment today, so I
> hope the news is good....... as I have plans to
> visit Cedar Point this Sunday!!!

> Of course, I have no one to blame but
> myself...... the parks do have warning signs at
> the entrance to each ride area. I just choose to
> ignore them for the sake of doing the one thing
> in life I truly enjoy.

> ray p.
> (who thanks Sarah for her advice..... VERY well
> written!!)

Ray,
I feel the same way that you do that I don't want my pain to end or lessen my riding days. There are few things I like as much as riding coasters and I would hate to not be able to ride. My pain lately has all been upper back pain. My lower back, however, went out last Nov. while playing racquetball and I couldn't walk for a few days. All the doctor did was give me a prescription which helped a little. I then got a massage called a myofacial massage. 2 days after that massage my back felt great. It felt better than it had for years. And today, almost a year later, I haven't had any lower back pain. I tried this massage on my upper back and it helped some but not as much as my lower back for some reason. It could have been the person doing the massage. The person last Nov. that did my lower back moved across the country :( I used a different person for my upper back just a week ago.

So, I would do what Sarah recommended as well as trying a myofacial massage. Its worth trying at least once. Be sure to drink a lot of water afterwards. Oh, it may be $60-$70 for an hour long massage, but it could very well be worth it. I hope this helped a little.

Zimm

Re: Does anyone here suffer from back or neck pain??? by Cal at 9/14/00 12:13:48 PM

All the time! But mostly it is down to working on a computer all day. I get intolerably stiff shoulders and neck which often results in tension headaches. I also damaged my right shoulder (rotator cuff) bench pressing 9 years ago and it is still a problem. On top of that, I spent most of my youth falling of horses and have also done Thai boxing - I've been hit in the head hard enough to make my neck crack so all of these thing have contributed towards my problem. I certainly wouldn't go as far as to blame it on coasters. If anything, the G-forces involved help strengthen my neck muscles.

Cal

Re: you are not alone! by Cal at 9/14/00 12:19:01 PM

Another thing all you guys can do is see a physio, and ask him or her to prescribe you some neck and back strengthening exercises. Pilates is also very good, although a lot of guys won't do it because they perceive it as a girl's class. That's dumb, because Pilates is actually a series of exercises designed to strengthen your core postural muscles (stomach, lower back, sides) and works really well if you have time to do it. If you can't get an instructor, there are some good videos worth looking at. Also, remember to stretch yourself out if you're sat in one spot for any length of time.

Cal

Re: you are not alone!Good to know I'm not the only one either! by coastermom coastermom Profile at 9/14/00 7:12:45 PM

Hi Everyone,
I've noticed after my coaster trip up North in August that I had bad lower back pains. I have a curved spine so I know scoliosis is the biggest culprit. The advice you all have is great.What I end up doing is Alieve, I take 2 before I hit the fun parks and I can usually get through the day with little or no pain. (unless I ride a headache machine like Viper SFMM),then I take Excedrine Migraine!
I REFUSE to accept the fact that I'm getting older! :)

so how's the back pain? Other medical advice for park goers... by sarah w. at 9/25/00 1:05:08 PM

HI all of my fellow back pain sufferers!

It was good to read your posts, and you are welcome for the advice. I agree that massage can be a great thing, as well as the exercises and other things mentioned.

I think Aleve is a wonderful over the counter medicine for all sorts of pain, but I do feel the need to caution all people who take these type of medications that there can be some problems with stomach and intestinal upset. Also, be sure that you read the package carefully and if you tend to be affected by "strong" medications (like if when you take antibiotics you get an upset stomach from them) PLEASE use caution when trying new meds. I speak from experience and had a very serious bleeding ulcer several years ago. Even Advil can cause problems, and nowadays, so many new meds are over the counter in stronger strength, it can pose a real health concern for a lot of people.

I always try to urge people to try natural and non-drug therapy (such as the stretching, massage, heat/cold that we discussed) even before taking anything. Remember: anybody can have a serious allergic reaction to ANYTHING that goes into the body (whether it is medication, food, etc) at ANYTIME, even if you have used/taken it before with no problems. I also urge my fellow coaster lovers to always be sure to find out where the first aid office is (usually by the main gate or park office) when visiting a park. Just in case. You never know. If you are prone to any type of allergic reaction, carry Benadryl with you. And if you are like me and have a bee sting allergy, keep in mind that every time you get stung by a bee, the next reaction will be worse. I had my doctor give me a prescription for a "bee sting kit" which thankfully I have never had to use. It's just a prefilled syringe of epinephrine which helps your body fight an allergic reaction. If you carry one of these, some parks require you to show written proof of need from your doctor. I carry a photocopy of it with me and I have never had a problem. Just remember to keep any prescription medication in its original container (with the drug name and your name, address, and prescribing directions) when you go places. I have visited a few parks that have metal detectors and security has to check all bags. A few have been VERY serious about their jobs and ask me about every last piece of lint that I had in my bag. Just want to share my experiences with everybody so you don't get the Grand Questioning like I have!

Any other questions, feel free to email me directly. This is the stuff I know about and, like ride experiences, I love to share.

Have fun and keep ridin'!

sarah
smileywind@hotmail.com

> I've had a bad back for a few years now. I never
> went to a chiropractor before this summer, but my
> neck/upper back kept hurting after riding some
> coasters. The last few years I would occasionally
> get a stiff neck and back after riding some
> coasters, but it wasn't too bad. I went to
> Hershey Park early this year and my neck hurt a
> whole lot by the end of the day. I couldn't even
> move my head that much because it hurt so much.
> Then, in May of this year, I rode the C.I.
> Cyclone 2 times in a row. The first time, it hurt
> a little but not too bad. So, I rode again. The
> second time it hurt a little more, but within 10
> minutes, my upper back was in a lot of pain. I
> then decided to go to a chiropractor and its
> helped a good amount. I still get some pain, but
> not as much. I do some stretches and excersizes
> but I'm not 100%.

> These pains also prevented me from going to BGW
> earlier this year. I was planning to go on the
> 2nd week it was open, but my neck started hurting
> earlier that week for no reason and it took a
> while to get better. Its really annoying when I
> can't go on a ride or to a park because of this
> :(

> Who else here gets these pains? What do you do
> for it so it doesn't hurt as much?? Anyone have
> any advise or similar stories?

> Zimm

Immune to coaster pain, maybe reasons why. by OhioMike at 9/25/00 2:53:48 PM

To any that have rode coasters with me, think I must be immune to coaster pain. For I have ridden what many say are the roughest over and over agin, with no feel of pain litteraly at all. Like SOB, and Mean Streak. But I think the most important thing is staying in good shape. Aerobics and all that are great. But I think weight trainning, If done right is key. Becuase ive done alot of it. I never get roughed up on a coaster or soar. It could be also. Some way that I ride the ride, that I dont know about. Becuase I have read posts on how people ride certain ways, and feel no pain. But that im not sure about. One thing is, Raceing Moto Cross. When I was younger, and takeing some good licks ,or wrecks, also the same in Snow Skiieng. It makes me wounder, If the bodey doesn't somehow get immune, or use to takeing punishment. Im now 29 and Skied since I was in the 6th grade. I rode dirt bikes since I was like 7. And have never brooken a bone or anything. I have had some really bad wrecks too. And ones that many people would think I should of broken 3 or 4 bones. I had one person tell me about, how some people actually have Bone that flexes, more than others. And that I have that. Im not sure. That a bone can actually be either stiff and brittel and break eassier, or have a smooth stong but, a tad bend to it. She was a doctor. So what ever she was saying had to make some sense. Because I have some major Sprains, form the ways my bodey was twisted up. Im not really sure, about the back thow. Becuase its proably a diffrent story. Once you get a problem back there. Its proably there for good. But I think if your muscle is strong enuff to surround it with strength. The it can protect it. Heck Thats all I can come up with

Ohio Coaster trip 2000 CP, PKI, my newer stuff

Re: so how's the back pain? Other medical advice for park goers... by coastermom coastermom Profile at 9/25/00 8:05:46 PM

Hi Sara!!
So far so good. Your advice is a blessing for lots of us out there! Thank you!

Re: Immune to coaster pain, maybe reasons why. by Cal at 9/27/00 9:13:48 AM

Yeah, I can relate to that as I lift weights. Strong neck muscles are the key and a lot of people, especially women, lack these. You don't need a neck like a wrestler, but strengthening these muscles helps you to avoid head-banging. I'm female and haven't had many problems except on really bad rides like Gouderix, but I notice a lot of women really suffer from headbanging. I've done the Six Flags triplets and Steel Phantom, along with numerous launched coasters, and the only ones which really bothered me were Gouderix, Chang and Iron Wolf.

Cal