Roller coasters are known for their stomach-churning twists, turns, and drops. But did you know that these thrilling rides may have a surprising health benefit? How about a roller coaster cure for kidney stones?
Well, according to recent research, riding a roller coaster really can help people pass the stones.
Kidney stones are a real pain
Kidney stones are hard, mineral deposits that form inside the kidneys. They can be incredibly painful and cause symptoms like back or abdominal pain, nausea, and difficulty urinating.
In some cases, surgery or other medical interventions may be necessary to remove them. But for smaller stones, riding a roller coaster may be a more fun and natural solution.
The idea that roller coasters could help pass kidney stones came from a patient who reported passing a stone after riding the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Disney World. Intrigued by this anecdote, urologist David Wartinger from Michigan State University set out to investigate further.
To test the theory, Wartinger and his team created a 3D-printed model of a human kidney with three small stones inside. Then they took it on several roller coaster rides. They found that the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at Disneyland in Orlando, FL really was highly effective at dislodging the stones from the kidney.
After the ride, the stones were able to pass through the urinary tract more easily, reducing the need for medical intervention.
How do roller coasters help “cure” kidney stones?
Why do roller coasters have an effect on passing kidney stones? It has to do with the forces generated by the ride. During a roller coaster ride, the body experiences a range of movements, including sudden drops, sharp turns, and rapid accelerations. These movements create a force called acceleration. This acceleration can jostle kidney stones and potentially dislodge them from the kidney.
Of course, riding a roller coaster isn’t a guaranteed cure for kidney stones, so don’t buy that ticket to Disney just yet. The size, location, and type of stones can all affect whether or not a ride will be effective. Additionally, riding a roller coaster may not be practical or advisable for everyone, especially those with other health conditions or mobility issues.
We need more research to understand the effects of roller coaster rides on kidney stones completely. But for now, this serves as an interesting example of how unexpected solutions can sometimes be found in unlikely places.