A better way to pass kidney stones

I had my first kidney stone three years ago and since then it’s been a reoccurring problem. I can usually pass them naturally but sometimes the nice doctors prescribed some good painkillers for me to make the process less deadly.

Statistics say that about 10% in the United States will experience kidney stones. Each year more than a million people see their health care provide for kidney stones. What are these little bad boys? They are solid objects formed when minerals band together in the urine, passing them can be very painful and is often compared to childbirth.

Most stones can pass before they can any damage but larger ones usually require more aggressive treatments to break them apart or remove them surgically.

Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger went to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney’s World’s Magic Kingdom together with an anatomically correct model of a kidney. The model of the kidney was complete with stones and the purpose was to systematically test wheater riding a roller coaster can dislodge a kidney stone.

The result varied dependeing on where the kidney “was sitting” on the roller coaster train. The researchers however realized that the key seems to lie in the random quick motion of a moderate-intensity roller coaster. Dislodging of a kidney stone is a mechanical process and a rattling around helps the stone to pass.

Since each person has uniquely shaped kidneys and the size and location of the stones vary there is not an ideal roller coaster for everyone to dislodge kidney stones. But if you have a kidney stone less than 4 mm in size then get in to your car and go to the local amusement park and ride some roller coasters. It doesn’t hurt to try.

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