A good portion of my year so far has been spent at amusement parks. I go so often that I have already paid off my annual pass to my favourite one. I thought it might be a nice idea to share some amusement park wisdom as the summer has begun.
Roller coasters affect people different. I can go on rides with large hills and loops- actually those are one of my favourite kind. Somehow the forces don't bother my neck or back, but they do for others. Don't do anything you don't feel comfortable with, but you do have to try things to know.
Rides that go backwards, especially upside down, will put a lot of pressure on your neck and back. I don't recommend them if you have any type of problems with your neck, back or shoulders. You would be surprised how much force puts pressure on you as you go backwards whilst upside down: I was very afraid I would get a neck flare right after I rode my first and last backwards and upside down coaster.
Be wary of rides that have no neck support, as your head can be jolted. For example, I went on a coaster with no next support that was wilder than expected. There were times my head was forced down and I could not hold it straight, and at least twice it got jolted up violently. I heard weird cracking each time. I don't go on that ride anymore incase I break my neck. However this applies to no other rides. Again, use your own judgement on rides.
Go during less crowded days, which in most cases is any day other than Saturday, Sunday or bank holidays. That way you can take your time and queues will not be as long, so you are not exerting too much energy at once. Take breaks, even when you feel good. I recommend leaving the park for lunch so you have time to relax quietly.
Wear proper shoes. If you have heel pain, wear heel cups in your shoes to cushion the impact of walking. Rent a wheelchair if you need it, and do not be ashamed of using it. You have the right to sit when you are not feeling well and you have the right to enjoy the park. Everyone can mind their own business. I use wheelchairs in certain amusement parks and on certain days and I have just as much fun, if not more because I don't have to tire myself to keep up with everyone else.
You don't have to use all your spoons to have fun. All you really need is good company, good food and a camera. Just the environment is uplifting. I've more fun having an ice cream and people watching than being miserable waiting for a ride.