Playing video games can be fun, and you may enjoy winding down by engaging in this type of virtual relaxation. These games can also offer a creative way to connect with friends. But when you play, your position and the repetitive motion involved in using a video game controller may cause injuries that can become more serious down the road. You don’t have to give up gaming, but you should be aware of the negative health effects of video games that you can identify and treat right away.
What Types of Gaming Injuries Are Most Common?
As you would expect, hand injuries are the most common issue for gamers. When you do anything for an extended period of time, you risk an overuse injury caused by repeatedly making one single motion. But gamers can also develop shoulder, forearm and back pain. Some of the negative health effects of gaming include the following.
1. Gamer Hand Problems
Carpal tunnel syndrome often affects gamers. The carpal tunnel, a passage where the nerves between your arm and hand connect, can narrow, which decreases your range of motion. You may also feel pain in your hand. If your case grows worse over time, the hand will eventually weaken.
Tendonitis can also impact your hand from video game playing. Tendonitis arises with overuse, with the tissue that links the bone and muscle becoming inflamed. You may feel tenderness or an ache in your hand, and it could swell.
Thumb joints are particularly vulnerable to injury when gaming. The controllers are often small, and the buttons used by the thumbs put the hand at an awkward angle. The smaller the controller, the worse your hand issues will be.
2. Forearm Pain From Gaming
You don’t have to be on the tennis court to develop tennis elbow — you can get it by playing video games. The repetitive motion of gaming can damage the tendon that helps your fingers extend. You will feel pain in the elbow and forearm, which could reach down the entire arm.
3. Gaming Shoulder Pain
So-called “mouse shoulder” occurs most frequently among gamers who play games on PCs. It develops from overuse, and the real name of the condition is biceps tendonitis. You will feel pain in the biceps muscle, which shortens when you’re using a computer mouse. Without counteracting the shortness by lengthening the biceps, you can become injured. Poor posture, which many gamers suffer from, can make the injury even worse.
4. Back and Neck Pain From Gaming
Looking up or down at a TV or computer console can create strain on the neck, and the strain worsens when you do it all the time. Causes of neck and back pain from gaming are tied to:
- Poor posture.
- Long periods of sitting and inactivity.
- A badly designed desk or workstation.
Taking more frequent breaks from gaming and stretching your muscles can reduce neck and back pain. Decreasing the amount of time you play will be the most effective solution to avoid worse pain, though.