Why are you waiting for healthcare ?
PC Mac Xbox ps4 ps5 gaming in pain?
Repetition, posture and force, in the world of gaming; are all CUMULATIVE over your career, and are independent of age, gender, fitness etc. This is a guide, some strategies that can easily implemented for immediate results.
Is this YOU?
As the intensity of the game builds, you are in the zone, nothing else matters and the screen pulls you in…
- the obvious FORWARD HEAD POSTURE; can lead to those sore trigger points in the neck and shoulders (called myofascial trigger points) which over time can become tight, hardened areas of muscle, rung of their oxygen by the tension of keeping the head forward, with shoulders and chest lifted at the ready! Next, pain…referred to the shoulder, scapulae, arm, hand and head.
- START by lifting all your monitors; such the centre of the action is at eye level (not just the top of the screen!); as if the curser was your guide, where is your gaming character, your POV, your target…get your monitor high enough to put that action point at eye level.
- SECOND squeeze your shoulder blades (scapulae) together and down, DO this a thousand time a day, sitting, standing, lying, walking…stretching the chest and contracting the upper back. you can even add an UPPER BACK ROW exercise. It’s easy for me, or anyone to list some exercises; but professionally, I’d rather do an ‘assessment’, a virtual triage even to better address your needs…I’ll even include the EXERCISE TUBING to do your specific exercise plan.
- the dreaded thumb ache; pain, stiffness, joint noise…how old are your joints? Every joint over time will experience wear & tear. This manifests as OSTEOARTHRITIS and TENDINITIS both at the thumb (a ball& socket joint like the shoulder) or tendons that load, and act at the thumb, wrist and fingers.
- RICE! ever heard of it? not to get the moisture out of your phone when you drop it in the toilet, but REST-ICE-COMPRESSION-ELEVATION. Micro-breaks; put the controller down, open the hands and stretch every finger, comfortably. Ice, even a cold water bath, open and close the hand for a few minutes, under cold water. Compress, like a neoprene glove (at any drugstore) on your hands when you are not in competition. Elevate? usually meant to get the swollen or inflamed body part above your heart; such that your circulation and lymphatic drainage can work with gravity.
- Keep your postal ELASTICS…no need for fancy web devices! Wrap a large elastic around the fingers and open slowly against that resistance. It’s easy for me, or anyone to list some exercises; but professionally, I’d rather do an ‘assessment’, a virtual triage even to better address your needs…I’ll even include the EXERCISE TUBING to do your specific exercise plan.
- great chair, sweet system, awesome acoustics, but as the competition goes on, as the document seemingly gets longer or as the Flix binge extends…WE SLOUCH, fatigue? compensate for weakness? How’s your core? How long can you plank for? Can your little sister out gun you in sit-ups? The CORE is not only your six-pack abs (or for many of us a 12 pack every weekend); it is a complex group of muscles and fascia that support our centre, in orientation to function at any given task. Your back musculature, your glutes, your pelvic floor (yes guys, you have one too) and your abdominal wall (including small muscles between the ribs) plus your diaphragm (internal breathing muscle).
- Look at that list!…how many exercises must we do to challenge the core??? eSport athletes are endurance athletes; your stamina is crucial in the performance of specific tasks. LEARN TO BREATHE…for rowers, distance runners, formula drivers, your VO2 MAX (the max volume of air you can process at a given time) is crucial to performance, and the oxygen concentration in your blood (ahhh science). The greater amount of air you can move, deeper into your lungs, the greater the concentration of oxygen in your blood, the more your muscles can do, more efficiently and for longer. BREATHE into your BELLY BUTTON! Thereby expanding your lungs by pushing the diaphragm down, increasing the air flow into the lower lungs, where more oxygen crosses over into the blood. Like before, train in sitting, standing, lying, walking every day.
- Now KEGEL! tighten your abs, and glutes, as if you want to suck in that gut (or actually stop the pee flow). Don’t get it? Not sure? …ask your Mom (but your Dad should do it too). It’s easy for me, or anyone to list some exercises; but professionally, I’d rather do an ‘assessment’, a virtual triage even to better address your needs…I’ll even include the EXERCISE TUBING to do your specific exercise plan.
- are your hands loaded? fingers ready to impact the keys? the load upon the wrist, holding the hand at the ready, plus add the impact down (quick flexion) of the fingertip’ all ADD up (are cumulative forces on that posture) to the risk of ELBOW pain. Tennis or Golfers’ elbow, lateral or medial epicondylitis, where groups of tendons (not one) attach at the same large point on the elbow. Because of this origin, you may feel a deep ache, with most tenderness on the bone. Computer users experience ‘tennis or lateral epicondylitis’ due to the loading posture of the wrist, or fixed wrist extension. Common braces try to reduce the tensile force at the elbow versus correcting the posture at the wrist.
- Upon ergonomic assessment, I look to correct the wrist posture while also observing the neck and shoulder, given the nerve connections to your lower neck. A neutral or straight wrist is key to provide some relief to the tendon, while a downward angle at the wrist may make sense; the finger displacement or distance to the keys will influence cumulative tension over time. Try to position ‘flat’ wrists, avoiding loaded hands ‘held in extension’ and avoid wrist bends towards thumb or little finger sides.
- Stretch the hand open, and try to stretch each finger individually. A hammer or golf club is handy for exercises, slowly rotating the wrist as if it were a cheer baton. It’s easy for me, or anyone to list some exercises; but professionally, I’d rather do an ‘assessment’, a virtual triage even to better address your needs…I’ll even include the EXERCISE TUBING to do your specific exercise plan.
Know your Ergonomics
Winnipeg PC gamers, how’s your gaming setup? Do you get stiff, achey or are you in pain because of your gaming position? It maybe your ergonomics! …or how your individual biomechanics play, sit or use your equipment. Believe it or not; the choice of desk and chair are just as important as the hardware used to play games.
It’s no surprise, that many people wonder if a standing desk even works when you’re gaming. Can you play games using a standing desk, or is it more of a tool for office ergonomics? It may be worth try for you:
If you like to try standing, go for it! It will be different, but it gives you the option to change and continue to play…otherwise we define standing as a micro-break from play; standing every queue, every new weapon, every character bonus! Here are a few potentially ‘ergonomic’ accessories that could benefit your gaming
- A sit-stand conversion desk. Manual, electric, crank, user memory…workstations, or ‘gaming stations’ have come far into the future, including sound, kinaesthetic sense (that rumbling beneath you) etc. A robustly-engineered desk that offers flexibility is better than a cheap desk that only offers sitting or standing, and not both. Always look for a workstation, even a portable desk-top unit that is sturdy and stable.
- A monitor riser. There is a variety of configurations, lifts, poles, platforms, etc. that work with an adjustable gaming station. Start with your chair; adjustability and comfort are key, them the gaming surface, the station; remember your most used area of the screen should be your eye level. You must know that measurement; whether it be in sitting and/or standing.
- An anti-fatigue mat. Everyone who has tried a standing desk for any length of time knows that thick carpet, yoga mats, and other forms of cushioning simply don’t do the trick. Anti-fatigue mats are designed to distribute the impact of the floor surface against your impending weight upon the floor. Remember high school Physics? “Space foam, injected to a higher density, a denser rubber product, spongy thickness that seems to support your weight”, all describe the feeling of an anti-fatigue mat.
Optimize your Mind
CROSS-TRAIN your brain, your senses, your reactions…train like a goaltender, to react to the moment, with immediacy and action. It may seem ridiculous, but if you train in an ‘ideal’ environment, your brain becomes static to those conditions. You must train to be dynamic, to encourage ‘neuroplasticity’ of the brain:
To endure, to perform, to win…
“You judge what’s sustainable based not only on how you feel, but on how that feeling compares to how you expected to feel at that point in the race… Exhaustion is more in your head than you think. That mental repositioning alone can help in your next high intensity physical activity” Alex Hutchinson, Endure
Win more competitions! …with your Physio Winnipeg