Most Common Gaming Injuries and How to Avoid Them
Gaming comes with a few risk factors just like any sport
In recent years, Esports have taken the world by storm, with more and more competitions cropping up across the globe. The impressive cash rewards and low-risk factors have made this one of the most lucrative careers anyone could opt for, sometimes rivaling athletics and the arts.
Nevertheless, too much of something can be dangerous, and unlike what others might have you believe, gaming comes with a few risk factors if you're not careful.
Common Gaming Injuries and Their Causes
Getting injured while gaming might sound like an exaggeration, but it's more common than you think. You might even be experiencing an injury right now without even noticing.
To help you identify these injuries, we've listed some of the most common ones here.
Lower Back and Neck Pain
Those who stare at a screen for long periods must have experienced this issue.
The injuries are characterized by sharp pains, dull aches, or burning sensations around the neck or back region; during or after a gaming session.
Upper Or Lower Crossed Syndrome
The upper or lower crossed syndrome can be traced back to extended sitting and poor posture.
Your muscles tend to take a particular position whenever you sit to accommodate your weight. As a result, if you remain seated for a prolonged period, some muscles stiffen while others loosen and degrade.
Gamer's thumb—known as tenosynovitis—is a condition caused by extended and repetitive use of the thumb, leading to excessive wear and tear of the muscles and tendons.
The common symptoms include pain in your thumb and wrist, plus weakness when gripping objects with the affected hand.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This condition primarily affects PC gamers who work their wrists for long periods holding a mouse.
It leads to inflammation of the median nerve due to the excessive pressure on the wrist, leading to pain and discomfort.
The most common symptoms include tingling and numbness of the thumbs and forefingers, thumb weakness, and muscle wasting.
The leading indicators here are dryness or redness of the eyes, mainly caused by prolonged exposure to monitors and screens.
Migraines and Headaches
Migraines are extreme headaches affecting the brain.
The cause of this condition is relatively unknown, but there are a few symptoms to look out for.
Blurred vision, sharp blind spots, and tunnel vision have been documented as indications of a migraine.
A splitting headache is a common sign of this condition, which cannot be relieved with over-the-counter medication.
Some people have even reported suffering from migraine hangovers afterward.
Prevention and Treatment of Gaming Injuries
They say prevention is better than cure (cliché but true), so here are a few ways to help you protect yourself as you engage in your favorite activity.
Maintaining Proper Posture
Proper posture in any activity that requires sitting for long periods will help you prevent neck and back issues.
Ensure your feet are flat on the ground and your monitor is set to eye level.
Additionally, investing in a good chair and desk can save you from many posture-related issues caused when gaming.
Setting the Correct Wrist Position
For PC gamers, using the mouse is inevitable. Sadly, most people hold their mouse at an unnatural angle, leading to problems down the line.
Therefore, training yourself to have the wrist upright and straight whenever you game is essential.
Following the 20\20\20 Rule
To prevent eye strain, we recommend following the 20/20/20 rule.
This rule states that if you have been staring at something for 20 minutes, break focus and stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
A bonus hack is staring at a pet for a while.
Take Breaks — Move and Rest
It might be fun pulling extended gaming hours, but it is advisable to ensure that you take a break every 30 minutes or so.
The rule is - to move what's been still and relax what's been moving during your gaming session.
Let your legs move, and your fingers relax. Walking around the house or doing light to moderate stretches can help.
Like any athlete, warm-up exercises are crucial in preparing the body for what's coming next.
So, here are a few suggestions that might help console and PC gamers maximize their skills while mitigating injury risks.
Opposition Finger Tap: Flexed and Straight Finger
Flexed finger: This exercise is pretty simple - slowly touch your thumb with each of your fingertips, making a circle and then releasing.
Do this twice on both hands before moving on to the next exercise.
Straight finger: It’s similar to the flexed finger - only the thumb pads will touch the finger pads and not the tips like in a pinching motion.
This exercise entails extending your fingers as wide as possible and resetting them slowly five times.
It's especially helpful for those experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
You can also secure an elastic band around your thumb and fingers to perform this stretch.
To perform finger circles, connect the fingertips of both hands like you're holding a ball before circling each tip around the tip of the opposing finger in both directions.
For this one, roll your wrist three times, clockwise and anti-clockwise, and you're good.
Hold a small object around two feet in front of your eyes while ensuring the background is around ten feet away.
Focus on the object for two seconds and alternate with the background, going back and forth ten times.
The tips presented above will generally help you prevent injuring yourself while gaming, but it becomes even easier if you maintain a healthy body.
Many leading experts recommend following a proper sleep schedule to get enough rest for your body and recover from the day's activities.
Additionally, adequate nutrition and frequent hydration will significantly prevent injury and increase your performance.
No matter whether you're into gaming for fun or making a living, it's sustainable only when you give more importance to your body.
The good news is that it's not difficult at all.
Have you suffered from one of these game injuries or something we haven't mentioned? Let us know in our Discord server