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How to avoid headaches on a roller coaster

Updated July 20, 2017

The steep drops, sharp turns and upside flips experienced on a roller coaster can cause blood to rush to the brain in unconventional ways. This rush of blood often causes throbbing sensations to your temples, which are symptoms of a developing headache. Don't pass up the thrill of an adrenalin rush in fear of a headache. There are plenty of precautions you can take to keep your face from becoming flushed with blood on your next roller coaster ride.

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  1. Drink several glasses of cool water before riding a roller coaster. Most roller coasters are outside in warm-climate areas that can easily cause the body to reach dehydration. Take sips of water throughout the day, even before you feel thirsty. Once you are thirsty, your body has already reached a mild state of dehydration, which will slow your metabolism and can lead to pain. Water will help you regulate blood pressure and body temperature and avoid any headaches.

  2. Eat enough during the day to prevent headaches from occurring. Although you should not eat minutes before riding a roller coaster in order to avoid an upset stomach, food is a key element in preventing headaches. Eat about an hour before riding a roller coaster, which should give your body enough time to properly digest the food. To take extra precautions, make sure you are eating a meal with plenty of protein. A diet lacking in proper nutrients is more likely to cause headaches.

  3. Take either aspirin or ibuprofen before a headache occurs to prevent its development. It is recommended to take the medication at least 30 minutes before riding a roller coaster, to give the drug time to work effectively. If headaches are typical and reoccurring, a doctor may be able to prescribe preventive medicines. These drugs require a prescription and are taken in doses suggested by your doctor.

  4. Tip

    Stay hydrated with water but avoid drinking caffeine. Stay away from highly caffeinated sodas and coffee, as caffeine restricts blood vessels and causes headaches. Also avoid drinking alcohol.


    If headaches continue to occur after taking the proper precautions, consult with a doctor. You may need different medicines, a new mix of medicines or different doses. Your doctor may want to run tests such as MRIs or CAT scans to look for any other cause for your headaches.

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Things You'll Need

  • Aspirin or ibuprofen

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