While gamers might not be thought of as athletes, many consider them to be virtual athletes. As virtual private servers allow gamers to immerse themselves in their own virtual world, the evolution of gaming has geared many towards hours of prolonged sedentary activity. As a result, gamers face many of the same injuries that real athletes face including nerve injuries. If you’re a serious gamer, you know how serious nerve injuries can be and how painful they are.
If you’re still somewhat new to gaming and have not experienced any injuries, this guide will cover what you can expect and symptoms to look out for to minimize damage.
Since gaming has become a job, hobby, and a pastime for many people, injuries are on the rise because of the small and repetitive movements that the hands and wrists do during gaming. Sitting for long periods of time can also cause injuries.
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Injuries in the Spine and Neck
Nerve injuries in the spine and neck are common when it comes to gamers because they sit for long periods and the way they sit causes pressure on the spine and neck. If you have poor posture, your spine and neck injuries can be even more severe.
Poor posture can even lead to early degeneration in the neck and lower back.
If you have nerve injuries in the neck and spine, you might notice some of the following symptoms and issues:
- Lower and upper crossed syndrome. This is muscle tightness and weakness in certain areas of the body. They can cause significant pain and make it hard to function.
- Tension-type headaches. This causes pain in the head but can also you to be sensitive to light or to have nausea and vomiting.
- Sacroiliac dysfunction. This causes many different issues including pain in the lower back, numbness, weakness, tingling, hip pain, groin pain, and leg instability such as the legs giving way or buckling at random times.
Not only are neck and spine injuries serious, they can be hard to treat. Some people experience spine and neck pain for the rest of their lives or until they stop gaming.
This happens to both professional gamers and those who just play casually from time to time. It’s common, but it’s still irritating and makes it hard to keep playing and do other simple activities.
There are some nerves in the body that are more prone to injury, especially because gaming has the same small repetitive movements that aggravate the wrist and elbows. The most common nerves to become irritated during gaming are the median nerve in the wrist and the ulnar nerve that is located in the elbow.
You might have nerve pain in your wrist and elbow if you have numbness, tingling, weakness, or experience muscle wasting. This is also called muscular atrophy and happens when the muscles lose their nerve supply and become very quick.
Some of the most common nerve impingement disorders include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. This is when there is pressure on the median nerve. It can cause serious pain in the palms and on the wrists. It can also cause tingling and weakness in one arm and hand.
- Cubital tunnel syndrome. This is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome but it affects the ulnar nerve rather than the median nerve. It affects the inside of the elbow and the nerve can become inflamed and irritated.
- Sciatica. You might have sciatica if you have pain in the legs or butt. It’s caused by too much pressure on the nerves and sometimes needs to be treated with surgery or epidural injections.
This is a common but painful condition. It causes irritation and inflammation of the hand, wrist, and thumb. The tendons in this part of the body tend to be very sensitive and they can get strained and injured very easily.
Treatments for Nerve-Related Injuries for Gamers
If you’re a gamer and have nerve-related injuries, you might be wondering if there is treatment and what you can do to relieve some of the symptoms.
One of the most important things to do is rest. Make sure you do not continue playing if there is pain. Instead, try to take a few days off. See a doctor if the pain lasts more than a few days or if you are not sure if the pain is from gaming or something else.
You can also try to treat the pain with some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine. This includes things like Advil and Aleve. They can reduce the pain and also decrease swelling.
If your pain is severe and has been ongoing, you might need to do some physical therapy for your hand, wrist, and elbow.
Preventing Game-Related Injuries
If you’re a gamer, it’s very important that you take the proper steps to prevent game-related injuries. By taking some prevention steps you can reduce your chances of having more significant problems in the future.
- Play for short times. It can be tempting to sit in front of the TV or computer and play games all day but it’s better if you play for about two hours and then take a break before going back.
- Stand up and take breaks as much as you can. This keeps you from sitting all day long and allows you to get your blood flowing. It also allows you to keep your posture straight rather than being slouched over all day long.
- Before playing, do some stretching activities including stretching your feet, legs, shoulders, hands, and wrists. Make sure your bones and ligaments are prepared for the game rather than just jumping into it.
- Take a nerve supplement such as NerveControl911 to help strengthen your nerves and give them more support.
While gaming all day is fun and can make your skills better, it’s important to consider the consequences that come with gaming often including injuries. There are some preventative measures you can take that are very important so that you do not have worse injuries in the future.
Keep in mind that these injuries apply to all gamers whether they are playing on the PC or with a game controller. All gamers need to ensure they are taking care of their bodies including their wrists and hands.