Doctors Might Be Prescribing Roller Coaster Rides to Help Patients with Kidney Stones

Loops of a scaring roller coaster

Loops of a scaring roller coaster | iStock.com/Marcio Silva

Amazingly, taking a ride on your favorite roller coaster or thrill ride might do more for your body than just elevating your heart rate. After riding Disney’s Magic Kingdom Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, passengers swore that they were passing kidney stones regularly.

In fact, one man claimed that he rode the roller coaster three times and passed a kidney stone each time.

Intrigued by these accounts, the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association decided to have some fun and do a series of tests of their own to see if roller coasters really DID help dislodge kidney stones.

Well, it turns out the roller coasters actually do a pretty great job. See how they figured it out and the crazy methods they used.

Kidney stones after ESWL intervention.

Kidney stones after ESWL intervention | iStock.com/piotr_malczyk

The people behind the test 3D printed a replica of a certain patient’s kidney, then filled it with water to mimic the presence of urine in the organ. They then put a kidney stone in each of the upper, middle, and lower passageways. Then, they tossed the whole thing on the same ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and ran the test over and over and over.

Remarkably, they found that the ride managed to dislodge stones in the upper passageway all 20 times. Stones in the lower passageway weren’t quite so eager to move, and had lower instances of being dislodged.

The study also determined that if you’re looking to move a kidney, then the back of the coaster is where you want to be. Those sitting in the rear passed stones almost two-thirds of the time, whereas those in the front only managed to pass them about one in six times.

So should you try this if you’re experiencing a kidney stone?

rollercoaster in an amusement park

rollercoaster in an amusement park | iStock.com/alex grichenko

Sure, why not?

There’s obviously no substitute for getting a medical opinion on the matter, but if there’s nothing a doctor can do to facilitate the passage of a stone, there’s no harm in trying your luck on a thrill ride. Of course, the kidney stone could move to a more painful spot, but it will be closer to passing regardless.

As long as you don’t mind heading to an amusement park with the burden of kidney stones, this is a very real (and fun!) treatment that you won’t find in a hospital…

Yet.