03 Dec What Gamers need to know about Injuries
Injuries happen when we game.
It’s unfortunate but understandable when we are immersed into our game. Whether it be consecutive matchmaking games on CS:GO/LoL, achievement hunting in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or even just progressing along the storyline of a newly released game (Fall Out 4 most recently) – GAMING BINGES ARE INEVITABLE. THEY HAPPEN.
Whatever game it may be, it’s not unusual to start a game and then bargain with yourself to just finish the next mission or the best one of all that can apply to most games…
“just one more”
Before we know it, we’ve been sitting for 8 hours and something will ache. Or we’ll feel like stretching.
Here’s something interesting I discovered with Starcraft 2 Professionals.
Professional SC2 Players reach up to 600 Actions per Minute (APMs). This means wrist and finger motions (clicking/moving the mouse). The professional level competitive games seem to take 30-40 minutes on average but can sometimes reach up to 3 hours (WHAT?!)
Lets do the math on those.
Avg Game: 600 APMs x 30 Minutes = 18,000 Actions for 1 professional Game
Longest Game: 600 APMs x 180 Minutes = 108,000 Actions
That’s a whole lot of small movements for the wrist and hands… and is probably why injuries have truly happened to the best of us.
I see patients every day who have taken expensive and drastic measures to limit the stress on their bodies from their sitting job at work. From ergonomic chairs to complex lumbar supports and customized wrist braces, these tools are all for one thing – to prevent more pain and damage to their money makers.
Gamers don’t usually take the same measures, and are typically unaware of how all this sitting and awesome gaming experiences can actually do some harm.
I want to help. My goal is to help all gamers understand injuries so they can manage them.
It’s not rocket science, Gaming is on the rise. Twitch is on the rise. There is more and more going into not only just playing games, but watching games. This just keeps more of us gamers in our chairs.
What do we need to know?
The most important and very first thing for us gamers to understand is that there are two primary types of injuries when it comes to gaming.
This is the cumulative strain that occurs with consistent wrist, forearm and hand use during competitive or casual gaming. Long hours means a lot of repetitive stress on your muscles, tendons, ligaments and even nerves.
This can affect your lower and mid back, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrist, hands, fingers and yep.. even your eyes. Whew that’s a lot of body parts. The most common of these are those that we consistently hear about but there never seems to be any sort of resource to help.. These are –
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Wrist Tendinopathy (Wrist Repetitive Strain)
- Shoulder Pain – Rotator Cuff Issues
As gaming evolves, I’m sure there will be more unique injuries that will arise. But the bottom line is that muscles, nerves, tendons joints and your eyes are affected. I want to help you avoid dealing with any of these.
Your posture is truly the foundation for your physical health. And while its importance has been argued over the years, I am a firm believer that proper posture can go a long way in extending our careers.
Why? Poor posture makes certain muscles work harder (it comes down to the biomechanics and how we work against gravity), and can even alter how your muscles work in your neck and shoulder. Again, there are common injuries that tend to occur as a result of poor posture… these are –
- Lower Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder Pain – Rotator Cuff Issues
While ergonomics have attempted to help with this, the gaming peripherals out there are young and have not quite solved all of the problems that should be addressed.
I will continue to update this page as soon as I release articles, join my newsletter to find out when I do!
What can we do?
There is a simple four-step approach you can take to manage injuries in gaming. Learn more about them in the posts above and my future ones!
- Prevention (Modification of the basics – Posture and Ergonomics)
- Active-Rest (How do we keep playing during the recovery process?)
- Exercise to address the cause (Address the weakness which usually causes muscle strain)
- Extra Treatment (Ice, Heat, Massage, etc.)
If there is anything else you’d like to know or want me to discuss, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
Until the next post…