I love amusement parks. I enjoy the sights, sounds, food and generally speaking the environment. I also love rides. Whilst many rides will ask that people with back problems refrain from riding, I tend to ignore that. I really enjoy rides that spin or go down steep hills and all that sort of thing. But, of course, I do take certain precautions. I call them Rollercoaster Rules.
1. Before I go to an amusement park, I tend to read up on it. There are rides I simply won't do simply for healthy reasons and I like to know before so there are no surprises or disappointments.
2. My general rule is if it goes upside down, it's a no-no. This is because I understand the type and amount of force on your body, and I believe it would probably cause a painful spine. No fun in that.
3. Spinning rides are usually okay. Even the ones that stick you against the wall are fine because they keep your back aligned. Though there are exceptions.
4. Jerky rides are most likely not a good idea. They throw you around and that might not be a good idea with painful or stiff joints.
5. Sometimes the restraint is worse than the ride. If its painful to try and lift or get out of a restraint, ask for help. It's embarrassing, but it's not worth hurting yourself. I've several times have been able to go on a ride with no pain but be unable to lift the bar or harness, or be able to climb out of the cart. Usually ride attendants or a friend will be happy to help.
6. Pace yourself. If your not up for a ride, say no. Even if your friends are pushing you to, just say no if you don't feel good. Rather than going and possibly spending the rest of the day (and probably to orrow) in too much pain, or even getting hurt or ill, just sit off to the side. Take that time to relax, rehydrate and watch the people on the ride. It's way more fun than being in pain and nothing is worth it more than your health.
7. Of course there are times when you don't want to say no or are looking forward to a ride. Understand your risks and take precautions: keep your back straight, hold on tight, and make sure you won't slip and slide and risk injury.
This summer, many people will be heading to amusement parks. I'll be one of them. If you are, take care, be safe and enjoy.
Update: For the past few years, I've gone on many roller coasters that go upside down with no issues on my spine! But you should be very careful and listen to your own body. I found out I can't handle rides that go upside down without a head rest in a very scary way: on a ride that whipped my head back a few times, and caused a lovely snapping noise to come from my neck.