The lockdown caused an explosion in the popularity of eGaming. Playing video games is nothing new. However, it proves to have many benefits in this time of social distancing. I admit that I had a thing about children no longer knowing how to have fun without a game controller in their hands. However, in a recent post, I admitted to having changed my tune. I now know that gaming is a valuable tool in this time of distance learning. Furthermore, it helps children and adults stay in contact with friends, preventing loneliness.
More gaming increases risks of eGaming injuries
As in any sport, exercise or game, playing video games pose injury risks. Any activity in which you use specific muscles repetitively could cause injuries. For example, tennis players and golfers develop elbow problems over time. Similarly, video gamers find themselves with unfamiliar ailments, called eGaming Injuries.
eGaming could cause Gamer’s Thumb
Repetitive extension of the thumb causes inflammation in the tendons you use for that movement. The fancy name for this condition is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. A progressive injury that develops from excessive use of your wrist. Similarly, it will eventually cause pain when you make a fist or grab something.
Low back pain caused by eGaming
As with any activity that requires long periods of sitting, eGaming cause low back pain. The usual culprits are poor posture and muscle strain. If your gaming device’s level has you hunched over and looking down, your neck alignment could cause low back pain. A massage or heat and ice treatment can bring relief.
Tech neck and text neck, typical eGaming injuries
Did you know that your head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds? So, what happens when the angle of your neck is between 45 and 60 degrees while looking down at your gaming device? It increases the force on your neck to between 50 and 60 pounds. Therefore, it makes sense that several hours of such strain will cause neck pain. Initially, you might experience stiffness or sharp pain. However, if you do not make changes to your set-up that will eliminate the need to sit with an awkward posture, your problem could become chronic. In the long run, the pain will also affect your shoulders and upper back.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The nerve that runs through your wrist into your hand and fingers is the median nerve. The carpal tunnel protects the nerve as it passes through your wrist. Most importantly, your wrist’s continuous use causes swelling that compresses the median nerve in the restricted space of the carpal tunnel. Telltale signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include pain, numbness, weakness and tingling in your hand.
Like tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, there is now a condition called eGamer’s elbow or tendinitis of the elbow. Tendons are the connective tissue between the muscles and bones in your elbow. Overuse causes the swelling of those tendons. It could become severe enough to need steroid injections, physical therapy or even surgery.
Watching the screen for several hours can cause strained eye muscles. Similarly, a glare from the screen could cause red and watery eyes. You can prevent eye strain by taking frequent breaks away from the screen.
Did you know that the World Health Organization recognizes eGaming disorder as a condition that can be diagnosed? Symptoms include being a preoccupation with playing games and an urge to spend more and more time gaming. Most importantly, if you give up other activities to satisfy your gaming urge, it is a sure red flag. eGaming mental health disorders include addiction and anxiety.
Bottom line — enjoy eGaming but do not ignore your body. If it tells you to take a break, do so! Moderation is crucial, and so is a set-up with a chair that supports you back and neck. Furthermore, have the screen at a comfortable eye level.