What do we know about gamers? They sit for hours, days sometimes, fully focused and tuned into a screen, sometimes with headphones, or cradled in specialised expensive gaming chairs – not eating, not drinking, communicating with other seated gamers all over the world – united in the virtual world of gaming. As mothers or concerned friends we scream – Posture! Exercise! Thankfully, there is some relief to be found for our precious aliens of Gameville.
Gaming can do terrible things to your body and gamers learn this the hard way. They hear clicks in places they never knew they had places, neck pain, back ache, cramps and pins and needles to name but a few. It starts out insignificant, and you brush it aside, paying no attention at all.
Soon this turns in debilitating pain and you’re hardly able to function when outside of your specialised gaming chair. And so begins the start of months of pain that render any addicted gamer unable to enjoy what they love most.
The most immediate form of relief would be physiotherapy or at least advice from a professional. Educate yourself – know how your body, its limits, your posture and how it’s all supposed to work.
This will go a long way to relieve your physical agonies and in the hope of bringing awareness and some relief to your gaming-abused body, gamers might begin to understand how sitting for hours on end can cause torture to your bones, muscles and tendons – and how you can help yourself.
Upper crossed posture seems to be the main gripe with gamers and office workers. Symptoms can be debilitating and requires intervention. What is experienced is inhibited neck flexors, tight upper trapezius and levator scapula, tight pectorals and inhibited rhomboids as well as serratus anterior.
This happens when you sit with poor posture for hours on end in a cheap gaming chair that doesn’t support your posture. What also happens when you game, is that your eyes chase the screen and your head protracts or reaches forward towards the screen.
This in turn exerts extra pressure on your joints in your neck and shortens a large amount of muscles. This can cause problems such as shoulder pain, headaches and nerve symptoms down the arm. Interestingly every extra 1 cm your head is forward is equivalent to about 6 kg of weight on your spine, which is about the weight of a bowling ball.
Think about lugging that around on your head all day, and the strain it will put on your spine. And how detrimental is it, both in the short and long term? What professionals have noticed is that people in their 40’s and 50’s are getting disc replacement and other major surgeries earlier.
It causes impingement which is when the shoulder blade rolls forward and pinches down on the ball of the shoulder. This can be particularly annoying if you like your sleep, enjoy exercise or even eating without pain – basically most functions in life. What professionals have also seen is more 14 – 17 year olds with neck pain. Many pro-gamers tend to get RSI which is Repetitive Strain Injury. So get yourself a good gaming chair, take frequent breaks and stretch, and see a professional!