By Dr. Trevor Farmer

With the rise of Esports, twitch streaming, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic leading people to stay indoors and social distance more, many people have found themselves playing video games more often and for longer hours. However, with increased play time comes increased repetitive motions and prolonged poor sitting positions leading to problems such as golfer’s elbow, gamer’s thumb and low back pain, just to name a few. So, whether you’re sitting slumped back on the couch building your island in Animal Crossing or hunched forward with a tight grip on the controller trying to beat that final boss, try these handful of suggestions to make that gaming experience even better.

Station Ergonomics

Whether you are playing for a few minutes or hours, it’s always helpful to set up your area as optimally as possible. If you are unable to set things up in this manner, invest in proper equipment to save your body some aches and pains. Here are a few things to keep in mind for you mouse and keyboard players:

Break Time

How many times have you started playing a game and all of sudden it’s 5 hours later? This might sound simple, but so many people (myself included) will go for hours in the same position without any break to their sitting position or for their hands. Using external cues like alarms to cue you for a break can often times be helpful. Even cues within a game can help, such as every time you hit a save point, clear a level, or frustratingly can’t beat that one boss, use it as a cue to stand up, move around and take a breather. You can be even more specific by doing 15 to 30 second holds of simple range of motion exercises and stretches like these to get some blood moving again.

Posture

This might sound contrary to popular belief, but “bad postures” don’t always correlate to pain. More so, we tend to stay in one posture for way too long because we’re either distracted or it feels comfortable. Then, when we move out of that position, our joints cry out because they’ve been in a constant state of load for an excessive amount of time. Adjusting your posture, as instructed below, can be a positive influence on your pain.

Please keep in mind that these activities should not be painful, if they are, you may benefit from an individualized assessment and program by our wonderful team at Stride Physio. Don’t let pain keep you from conquering that final boss, give yourself a one up and give us a call today!