The Amusement Safety Organization lists consumer complaints regarding injuries received at amusement parks. The 2010 list includes a handful of incidents in which patrons experienced stomach pain while riding roller coasters, a phenomenon encountered by roller coaster riders throughout the world. (See Reference 1) The method for preventing stomach pain on the ride depends upon the cause of the pain. Patrons might be able to avoid the problem by using medication or carefully selecting the kind of coaster they choose to ride.
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Take anti-vertigo medication. Sudden changes in the position of your head can cause vertigo, a condition that typically manifests as dizziness, lightheadedness, loss of balance, nausea and vomiting but may be accompanied by stomach pain. If the vertigo only occurs during activities like roller coaster riding, over-the-counter medications that reduce motion sickness may help.
Relax and enjoy. Muscle pain may be caused by tension. If you are so anxious that you are tensing up your stomach muscles, they may ache after the ride. Try taking an anti-inflammatory before arriving at the park. The more often you ride a coaster, the less uptight you should feel about the trip, so riding more often should help if anxiety is causing the pain. Lightly stretching before getting on the coaster may also release tension, and stretching after the ride is over can soothe pain.
Drink enough water. Muscles cramp more easily if you are dehydrated. Drinking enough water (experts suggest eight glasses daily) helps prevent muscle cramps, and drinking water after cramping begins helps stop the pain.
Choose which coaster you ride. Roller coasters usually have lap bars or over the shoulder restraints. Lap bars sometimes cause pain because of the pressure they exert on the stomach. Riding a coaster that uses over the shoulder restraints instead eliminates this problem.
Tips and warnings
- If vertigo causes your symptoms but over-the-counter medications make you sleepy, try sipping ginger tea or taking ginger pills before heading out to the amusement park.
- Never try to shift your position to avoid a lap bar. Doing so may compromise the safety features of the ride.
- If the pain persists for several days after the ride, see your doctor.
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