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Can Ziplining Cause Sore Back and Neck?

Brent Wells May 15, 2019
Especially when it’s done correctly, ziplining can be an incredible source of fun, excitement and exercise. However, improper use of the line and/or harness can cause serious injury and even death.

In fact, The Daily Mail reported that years between 1997 and 2012 saw more than 17,000 people with broken bones because of unsafe ziplining methods or equipment.
And according to sources like NBC News, you’d think that ziplining was one of the most dangerous pastimes a person could enjoy. Between the body aches, injuries and nerve trauma that often get reported, it’s easy to see why so many people are apprehensive about participating.
Fortunately for those who love doing it, ziplining simply isn’t as hazardous as it seems. 

The recent rise in popularity has made ziplining a major attraction for people of all ages. On the contrary, it’s potential to become physically dangerous has made many second guess a visit to their local ziplining park.
Interestingly, ziplines of various sizes, shapes and complexities have started popping up all over the world, some of which are even located in schools or on children’s playgrounds.

This fresh prevalence suggests that ziplining can be fun and safe for the whole family regardless of physical ability.

What Is Ziplining?

Ziplining is not just for adrenaline junkies anymore. Although it involves suspending a rider above the ground, this relatively innocuous activity is usually the perfect combination of adventure and security.

Participants ride in what are commonly referred to as “zippers,” each of which can range in speed from about 10 mph to as fast as 40 mph.
The standard zipline consists of a network of pulleys that are carefully secured to a stainless-steel cable which hangs between various sized mounts.

While some many assume that ziplining is unsafe, it’s often used by medical professionals and engineers to transport fragile people and goods.
Their confidence is likely due to the overall design of most high-quality lines. Such well-built models are now used on some of the world’s best ziplining courses.

How Does a Zipline Work?

Although most zippers require very little manual interaction from the rider, pulling up one’s legs or inclining/declining one’s body can change the way the zipper behaves.
In addition, some ziplining courses involve hands-on activities, continual suspension or large sets of stairs. Therefore, if your body is not up for the challenge you could sustain an injury, sprain or broken bone. 

The best way to enjoy ziplining without getting hurt is to mind all safety precautions provided by the zipper’s guide.
While backyard ziplines and certain industrial parks don’t offer the services of a ride aide, being cautious while in the harness can prevent disaster.

Furthermore, participants can utilize the following guidelines to help make ziplining safer and to prevent getting a sore back or neck (or worse).

5 Ways to Make Ziplining Safer and Prevent a Sore Back or Neck

It’s true that people do get hurt while on a zipline. However, these safety tips can help you avoid injury and enjoy the ride:

1. Come Prepared

Showing up for a ziplining adventure unprepared is a bad idea. Before arriving, make sure:
  • Your partner is aware of your concerns.
  • You have plenty of water for hydration.
  • You haven’t recently eaten a large meal.
  • You know how to contact someone for help.
  • You’re wearing the proper attire.
Large meals can make you feel sick during strenuous physical activity. Water can keep you refreshed and alert and partners are there to encourage and support you throughout the ride.

Your clothing should be unrestrictive yet not loose-fitting and your shoes should be ideal for running, jumping and climbing.

2. Know the Course’s Safety Warnings

Each ziplining course has its own unique characteristics. Some are considered more difficult or dangerous than others.

Part of being prepared is familiarizing yourself with the length, height and complexity of the course you plan to tackle.
Keep in mind that some courses are located in remote areas. Speak to the guide on duty to find out specific tips and tricks about the layout. 

FACT: Ziplining courses are often categorized by age or skill level.

3. Be Honest

Because ziplines require riders to strap into a harness that’s attached to cables and mounts, it’s important for guides to know a close approximation of your height and weight. Being dishonest here will do you no favors.
Although well-made zippers don’t necessarily increase in speed because of the rider’s physical dimensions, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

FACT: Some adventure lines do travel faster based on the body’s weight and position in the zipper harness.

4. Use Your Resources

Many zipline courses offer riders the convenience of landing platforms, guard rails and maps. Use those resources to your advantage.

Landing platforms are designed to reduce tripping and falling, while guard rails and maps can help on-foot adventurers reach their destination without injury.
Especially if you have mobility limitations, utilizing the course safety equipment can decrease your physical strain and make it easier for you to keep up with others.

5. Watch the Weather

Although you may be willing to enjoy ziplining during inclement weather conditions, it’s important to respect course limitations.

Not only is operating a zipline while it’s storming unsafe but it’s also against most state regulations.

Slippery surfaces can cause falls and injury, so take safety more seriously than fun.

Dealing with a Ziplining Injury: Tips and Tricks

Don’t let a little injury get you down. Accidents happen, but there’s always a way to deal with the consequences. Use the following tips and tricks to start feeling better faster after a ziplining mishap:
  • Perform gentle exercises to prevent muscle deterioration or joint stiffness.
  • Visit your nearest chiropractor for a therapeutic massage or adjustment.
  • Give your body plenty of time to rest.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your systems flushed and body lubricated.
  • Eat a diet that is rich in essential injury-repairing nutrients such as:
  • Magnesium
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin E
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Iron

About Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.

Dr. Brent Wells is the best Anchorage chiropractor in Alaska 99515 who believes in treating people the way he would want to be treated.

Born and raised in Southern California, Dr. Wells received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada and his Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine degree from Western States Chiropractic College.