From the first time you booted up a video game, you knew you found something special. Whether it be the original Mario Kart or the upcoming Gears 5, video games are a release. They are more than just a hobby for some, they literally transport you into the moment or story (I mean have you seen those Kingdom Hearts III graphics?!?).
Video games are so easy to play for hours, they suck you in and you lose track of time. When you start up your pre-ordered copy of the newest game for the first time, you can plan on spending more than a little time on it.
Have you ever finished a gaming session and felt pain anywhere? It sounds odd, but you hardcore gamers surely know what I am talking about. It’s part of the experience, right? Not necessarily, and while some look down on video games citing lack of activity, you are doing an awful lot of movement in certain parts of your body.
It is important to recognize when your body is injured, and get the help you need.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This is the correct name of the injury people usually just call “Carpal Tunnel”. The carpal tunnel is simply a passageway for nerves on your palm. If the median nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel get pressured or irritated, it causes problems.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is mostly characterized by weakness or numbness/tingling in the wrist, hand, and fingers. It can worsen if not treated.
In the case of devoted gamers, the repeated actions of button pressing or positioning of the hand on a controller or over a keyboard can cause the irritation to begin.
If you are noticing any symptoms, get medical attention immediately. If caught early, nonsurgical treatment methods can be utilized. If not surgery may be needed.
This is literally what it sounds like. Imagine you are playing Zombies on your Call of Duty game of choice, and you end up with a shotgun. In your hands, it is a formidable weapon, but that does not stop you from having to manually fire each round. Even when you upgrade to an automatic weapon, your finger is locked in the same position as you unleash a hailstorm of bullets on the undead horde.
These repeated actions can cause trigger finger and trigger thumb, though this can occur from any form of button mashing, not just the triggers. Trigger finger and thumb is where your extremities lock in a bent position and then snaps back straight. When left untreated this can be locked in place and won’t straighten. This can also require corrective surgery in severe cases.
While this is more of a category than a specific problem, it is a common one. It is hard to keep sitting up perfectly straight, with your arms, wrists, and hands all help to the correct angles when you get hours deep into a game. It is important to remember to do so, as poor posture can cause the above issues as well as back and neck problems.
When gaming, make sure that you keep adjusting if you catch your posture slipping. If you have an ergonomically designed gaming chair, that can really help things out.
Any of these problems if left untreated can end up with you needing surgery. If that is the case, find an orthopedic surgeon and get it done. It will be good in the long run as your health will be improved. You don’t want your ability to consistently game to be jeopardized by such a preventable injury.
Make sure take breaks as needed to ensure that your health is not compromised by your gaming experience. As hard as it is to do so sometimes, consistent small breaks will allow you to keep playing games without problems for many years to come. Take simple precautions, good posture, consistent breaks, and even stretch to prevent an injury. Be healthy, stay sharp, and happy gaming!