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Neck hurts after roller coaster? Here's why and what to do about it

2 minutes, 29 seconds

Roller coasters can be a lot of fun, but they can also cause you significant pain. Turns out all of those twists, turns and loops aren't the best thing for your spine.

If your neck hurts after riding a roller coaster, read this article. We'll discuss why roller coasters cause neck pain and point you toward some pain relief options.

Why does my neck hurt after riding a roller coaster?

Most coaster-related neck pain stems from whiplash, which occurs when the neck is forcibly bent from front to back or vice versa in rapid succession. This motion puts the cervical spine through intense stress and can create tears in the neck's tendons and ligaments.

Whiplash is a common auto injury, but it is also often experienced by people riding roller coasters, as these rides tend to cause your head to move around wildly without much neck support.

What helps neck pain from roller coasters?

Here are a few treatment options that can be helpful for whiplash and other forms of neck pain:

  1. Rest (with proper neck support).
  2. Ice to reduce swelling.
  3. Heat to stimulate blood flow and promote healing.
  4. Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling.
  5. Physical therapy to rebuild muscle and improve flexibility.

Your exact treatment plan will depend on the circumstances and severity of your whiplash.

When should I seek medical treatment for my neck pain?

Some cases of roller coaster neck pain are worse than others. Call a doctor or specialist if you notice them:

  • Limited range of motion Make an appointment with a medical professional if you are unable to comfortably move your neck in all directions.
  • Headaches ” Many people start to experience whiplash a few days after their initial injury. These headaches stem from inflammation in the brain stem, so it's good to have someone inspect your injury.
  • Inability to sleep ” Sleep is crucial for your physical and mental health, but sleeping with whiplash can be difficult. A physical therapist can help treat your whiplash so you can get a good night's rest.

Is physical therapy necessary for whiplash?

Physical therapy can be helpful for overcoming any type of neck pain, whether it's related to roller coasters or not.

In physical therapy, your specialist will apply manual therapy techniques to help relieve the tension in your neck and shoulders, which helps to relieve pain. They will also teach you stretches and exercises that can help you rebuild muscle and restore motion in your neck.

In many cases, physical therapy is sufficient to treat whiplash without medication, and you don't need a doctor's referral if you live in a state with unlimited direct access laws.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for whiplash

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we're proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that's close to you and that can help you address whiplash.

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.

Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.

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