How’s Your Neck After Riding El Diablo?

Texas summers aren’t complete without a trip to Six Flags Over Texas. This year you can include a ride on El Diablo, the world’s largest loop roller coaster.

Uh, your neck would like to stay home…

Believe it or not, one of the main causes of whiplash is self-inflicted. You guessed it — riding roller coasters!

At DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, we treat whiplash.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash occurs when you experience a sudden backwards-forwards motion. While this is often associated with car accidents when you are rear-ended, it can also happen from sports collisions and roller coaster rides.

Whiplash occurs more often when the impact/change of direction is unexpected or unseen, such as a blindside hit in a football game. This type of impact can stretch the muscles and ligaments as the neck moves out of its normal range of motion. Women are more likely than men to have whiplash, as their neck muscles aren’t as large so they can’t withstand the unexpected force as effectively.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Patients with whiplash will usually develop some symptoms within 24 hours of the injury. But it’s not unusual for symptoms to appear or worsen weeks after the original incident. Physical injuries may include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches, especially at the base of the skull
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears

Cognitive or emotional symptoms can also result from whiplash:

  • Concentration difficulties
  • Memory issues
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression, anxiety, irritability
  • Fatigue


Most patients recover from whiplash within 4-6 weeks, using ice and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. For more severe cases, we may use corticosteroid injections or have you wear a cervical collar for several hours a day to immobilize your neck. They can only be worn for limited periods, however.

If you think you’ve suffered whiplash, whether from El Diablo or not, please call us at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, (817) 916-4685, and let’s check it out.

Posted in: Whiplash

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