Can A Roller Coaster Help You Pass A Kidney Stone?

can-a-roller-coasterPassing a kidney stone is not very much fun. Or, rather, it didn’t used to be; but a new study suggests that a method for passing kidney stones could be about as easy as a walk in the park.

Actually, its more like a day at the amusement park.

Two researchers recently found that riding a thrilling roller coaster could help people dislodge painful, stubborn kidney stones.

Michigan State University’s Dr. David Wartinger comments that he had many patients tell him that they passed kidney stones after riding a roller coaster—and one in particular: Big Thunder Railroad, at Walt Disney World, in Orlando, FL. In addition, he and colleague Dr. Marc Mitchell had also seen media coverage discussing how some people had passed kidney stones while bungee jumping and riding other roller coasters.

With all this confluence of evidence, then, the pair decided to investigate the phenomenon further. The pair brought a simulated human kidney model—made out of clear silicon gel, and loaded with real human kidney stones—to Orlando, FL to ride the famed kidney-stone-dislodging Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and rode the roller coaster several times.

Wearing the model at normal kidney height—via backpack—they rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 20 times, noting what happened to each kidney stone.

In the report, which has been published this week in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, they wrote:

“Front seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage of 4 of 24,” and “Rear seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of 23 of 36.”

While they are still not certain as to what, exactly, is happening, they have been able to conclude that there may be something to this research. After all, Dr. Wartinger notes, “The Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster is not a terribly dynamic ride. It’s not very fast; it is not very tall; it makes sharp left and right turns that have some vibration.”

As such, then, Wartinger suspects that other thrill rides could have a similar effect on kidney stones. After running their test 200 more times, they remark that the results appear to be consistent; and they plan to try other amusement park rides.

But here is the best news. Wartinger suggests that people who might know that they already have a small kidney stone could try this method. He says that small kidney stones will likely pass very easily

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