16 May HEALTHGAMEFAQS#2 – SHOULD I USE A WRIST SUPPORT MOUSE PAD, COLD HANDS AND MORE
HEALTHGAMEFAQs#2Welcome to our second monthly grab bag of questions – again every month we answer popular questions we receive through email, twitter, instagram, etc. about gaming and health.
SHOULD YOU USE A WRIST SUPPORT MOUSE PAD?1| I am suffering a lot because of my wrist, I am planning to buy wrist-support gel mouse pads recently, are they helpful? The first thing we would have to address would be… what is causing the pain your wrist! While wrist -supporting gel mouse pads can be helpful it is always more important to determine why your wrists are in pain. For the purposes of this short answer – most of the time it is length of play, poor wrist endurance and poor ergonomics/posture. We play too much, don’t take care of our wrists and play in a position that causes us to overuse our wrists in general. The wrist-support gel mouse pad CAN be helpful to keep our wrists in complete neutral (see the picture below). BUT 0 degrees is NOT necessary to maintain healthy wrists. A slight bend less than 15 degrees is ok as well (based on length tension relationships of muscles) So to answer the question: yes – they can be helpful to keep your wrist in a neutral position but that is often not the only reason you have wrist pain and you should consider the big three as I mentioned above.
- Length of Play
- Wrist Conditioning – I’ve made a 9 minute daily exercise video you can perform to keep your wrists healthy 🙂 check it out here
- Posture/Ergonomics – Refer to our complete guide on it here
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AND GAMING2| Do you have any tips for someone who has recently been told that it is highly likely they have RA? Anything to make my hands hurt less when gaming? Rheumatoid arthritis, often shortened to RA, is a pretty serious diagnosis. The first thing you should do is confirm with a rheumatologist that that’s an accurate diagnosis for you, and talk about what your options are for treatment/management. That part of things is outside my wheelhouse, and I can’t give any good help there. When it comes to gaming, though, there’s plenty you can do if that’s your diagnosis. Using heat and a thorough warmup before gaming along with ice for inflammation at the end of a gaming session is especially relevant for you. Making use of adaptive controllers which require you to use less grip strength, like a hitbox-style controller, will reduce stress over time. If you remember, we’ve talked about the idea of your body’s risk of injury as a heat meter mechanic. (If you don’t remember, here’s where you can read all about it.) In your case, your “heat capacity” or the amount of time it takes you to get to the point of injury and pain is reduced. Knowing your heat capacity is even more important for you than for most, so that you can play to a point below that threshold, use your break time to incorporate stretches/heat/etc., and keep your heat meter at a manageable level. You may also want to consider compression gloves. They can help with swelling and pain, although I’d caution you not to buy into any claims that copper-weave gloves or gloves with magnets will do anything more than what a standard fitted neoprene glove will do.
COLD HANDS WHILE GAMING3| I’m not sure if you know what this is all about but whenever I play Smash, my hands get freezing cold. I’ve tried stretching them, shaking them, hand warmers, etc. After I’m done, they start to warm up significantly. Is there anything at all that you know of that might be linked to this? A good place to start would be one of our articles here There are medical conditions that can cause cold extremities, like Raynaud’s. However, if they only time you’re experiencing cold hands is when you’re playing Melee, that would suggest that something about how you’re playing–your posture, your grip, your movement, your stress levels–is the culprit, especially since it seems to resolve immediately after. A common site of compression is at the elbow, especially if you’re someone who tends to lean forward and rest your weight on your forearms while playing. Adjust your posture so that you’re sitting back in your chair, using the backrest for support, with your hands (and the controller) resting in your lap.Another possibility is excessively tight grip. It make require you to set a timer to check, but pay attention to your grip. Does it get higher when you’re stressed? Does it relax significantly between games? Compression gloves are a potential short-term way to address cold hands, as they can increase circulation. However, they treat a symptom, not the source, and addressing the source is the only way to resolve this long-term.
That’s it for this month’s questions–if you’ve got answers you’re looking for, send the questions our way (via twitter @hpforgamers & @caitmcgeept or direct email in the askmatt/cait links above) and we’ll answer them in the next iteration of HEALTHGAMEFAQS