An amusement park aims to provide thrills and fun; however, whiplash and other injuries from the rides may require treatment.
Types of Amusement Park Injuries
There are many types of rides at amusement parks, ranging from roller coasters to swings, from spinning rides, to ones with abrupt motions. Any of them can lead to injuries or fatalities, whether or not they were operating properly.1 Even if the park or the rider was not negligent, pre-existing medical conditions can trigger problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, or back and neck injuries. Children (“approximately 4,400…each year”) can also suffer injuries. Girls are more frequently affected, but either gender can suffer from injuries to the legs, face, neck, and arms due to improper padding or restraints or by the child falling in, against, or off the ride.2 The most common injuries are soft tissue damage, sprains, strains, concussions, and fractures. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates portable carnival rides, such as at fairs or malls, but fixed rides in amusement parks are “not subject to federal safety standards”. The local authority for those types of rides lead to “a fragmented system of surveillance and safety oversight”, according to a recent study on injuries. Even inflatable bounce houses pose a risk for sprains, concussions, broken bones, and scrapes. It is important to pay attention to medical warnings on rides and to follow the safety procedures and use the proper ride safety restraints.3 The majority of amusement park accidents are not fatal, but injuries could require care from the emergency room and/or from a chiropractor. A rollercoaster ride, for example, might damage a body in a similar fashion as a car accident. “Diffuse aconal injuries…when the head is jerked…violently in the wrong direction” is linked to shaken baby syndrome and whiplash. A milder form of this injury is concussion. Head, back, and neck injuries are the ones most common from amusement parks, especially from rollercoasters and spinning rides. Brain injuries can occur from the “trauma or torsion of the neck” due to “acceleration and abrupt changes in direction” that rotate the head and stretch the blood vessels.4 Keeping the head upright and facing forward can prevent injuries. People with previous injuries, or with stiff necks or arthritis, should avoid “High-G” rides.5
Chiropractors can help their patients who were injured at an amusement park. They are trained in treating musculoskeletal issues, the head, the spine, the neck, and whiplash. They can also assess if a patient has any injuries or trauma that would indicate the need to avoid rides.6 Neck pain from whiplash, a sprain, or strain, can take days to appear. Headache, stiffness, and dizziness are other symptoms. Some severe injuries may lead to depression and memory loss for months after the accident. Chiropractors can provide immediate care.7 Other symptoms that should not be ignored are blurred vision, pain between the shoulder blades, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, irritability, pain in the legs, feet, arms, or hands, vertigo, nausea, and ringing in the ears. These are also signs of whiplash.8 It is best to seek medical and chiropractic care early after an accident or amusement park ride.
5, 6 http://www.lifealignwellness.com/research/wellness/miscellaneous/280-amusement-rides-may-be-a-pain-in-the-neck.html
Find out more about how chiropractic care can help with whiplash.