Riding Roller Coasters Like Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain Could Help Dislodge Kidney Stones, Report Says

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Patients credited the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster with helping them pass their kidney stones, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Assn. (Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Just ask any one of the 300,000 Americans who, in any given year, develop kidney stones: What if the excruciating pain of passing one of those little devils could be prevented by strapping yourself into a make-believe runaway mine train, throwing your hands in the air and enduring G-forces as high as 2.5 for about three minutes? Would you do it?

Hell yeah, they’d do it.

In a bit of medical research inspired by strange and remarkable patient accounts, a Michigan State University urologist reports that, yes, riding a medium-intensity roller coaster such as the Disney theme parks’ Big Thunder Mountain Railroad can result in the painless passing of small, and even a few large, kidney stones.

For best results, ride in the back, where — roller coaster aficionados all seem to agree — the thrills are greatest. Independent of kidney stone volume and location, findings reported Sunday in the the Journal of the American Osteopathic Assn. showed that sitting in the back of the roller coaster resulted in an average passage rate of 63.89%.

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