Gamers are the warriors of cyberspace and when you play hard you get injured. There are many different injuries that are related to your chosen hobby and your injury is dependent on which games you play. Just like there are certain injuries that are predominately seen in different sports, the same is true for different gaming platforms*.
- The PC gamer is going to have different injuries than the Xbox gamer. If the game requires a lot of mouse clicking, like Diablo III, you are going to be more likely to get lateral epichondalitis (tennis elbow) versus a low click game like Mine Craft.
- Those games in which the controller vibrates are going to make you more susceptible to carpel tunnel than those that don’t.
- How much you lean into the game compared to how laid back you are is going to affect your back, neck, and shoulders.
- Games with smaller controllers that need fine motor control will lead to tendonitis of the thumbs, such as phone games.
Helpful hacks for the wounded warrior:
1) Drink a health potion.
2) If you have had the pain for a week, stop playing the game that started it. I know it is the best game ever, but seriously, give it a break. When you feel better, limit your play time for that game to an hour.
3) Pay attention to your posture. Are your shoulders up around your ears? Is your back making the shape of a “C” while you sit? Are you resting your elbow on a sharp corner? You should be sitting such that your low back is supported with your shoulders over your hips and your ears over your shoulders. The figure below shows examples of good posture one the left and bad posture or “C” posture on the right. Elbows should be relaxed and not supporting your weight. If you are using a mouse make sure that you have an ergonomic set up. If you are using a controller make sure that you’re taking time to stretch your forearms regularly (no death grip).
4) If none of this helps, see a chiropractor. We are a great point of entry for these injuries. We specialize in neuromusculoskeletal injuries. In this case, that means you.
* Some platforms even have injuries with their own names:
- Nintindinitis – inflammation in the tendons of the hand or wrist;
- Playstation thumb – numbness, swelling, and/or tingling in the thumb, often associated with blisters;
- Wiitus, Wii sprains and strains – a myriad of copy-cat injuries from Wii Sport.