Today, online gaming is a popular activity all around the world. Video games are a great way to spend time, have fun, relax and escape from reality. Furthermore, it isn’t just a popular hobby. Top gamers can practice up to 15 hours a day, leaving gamers suffering from aches and injuries, just like other sports.
While your characters in games will often be badly injured or die, if you are experiencing pain while playing video games, this takes all the enjoyment out. Hand and wrist injuries, back and neck pain, eyestrain, and hearing damage – are the most common issues, and some of them can even be more severe than others. Therefore, gamers need to be smart about their health and should take the following steps to prevent common conditions when engaging in play.
Practice Good Posture
Most discomfort and injuries like neck strain, back, arm and shoulder pain are caused by bad posture, poor desk or workstation design, and prolonged sitting. Although sitting does not involve a lot of muscular effort in comparison to standing, it still exposes the body to tremendous physical fatigue.
The best solution is to pay attention to purpose and refrain from playing games for hours on end to prevent joint and muscle complications. Also, make sure to sit at an adjustable desk and gaming chair, which are designed for computer use. Adjust your desk and chair such that your feet are resting flat on the floor, while your forearms should be nearly parallel to the floor and at the same level as the keyboard.
Using an ergonomic keyboard can help to keep your wrists and hands in a natural position. Be sure to place your keyboard at a proper height, allowing your elbows to lay comfortably at your sides, and ensure the computer screen is at eye level or a little bit lower.
Keep The Volume Low
While headphones can improve your gaming experience, always wearing headphones and listening to loud noises can damage your hearing. Try to keep the game volume at a reasonable level, take the occasional break, and avoid earbuds that keep the noise close to the eardrum to protect your hearing while gaming.
Take Regular Breaks
It might be challenging to stop yourself from playing if you are entirely immersed in the game, but try to take frequent short breaks every few hours. This includes standing up, putting your equipment away and moving out of your environment. You can use this opportunity to use the bathroom, walk around the house or in the fresh air. Even a small 5-10 minutes breaks are beneficial.
The same goes for your eye health. Staring at a computer screen for hours might cause eye strain, which includes pain, dryness, redness, and blurry vision. If you feel your eyes are getting tired, make sure to consciously blink or simply prioritise the 20-20-20 rule to help rest the eyes. This means that every 20 minutes, you need to look at something 20 feet (or 6.1 meters) away for 20 seconds.
Sustaining a sedentary lifestyle and eating unhealthy foods is more likely to lead to obesity due to the lack of physical activity. Ideally, you should exercise daily to keep your body fit by going for a run, playing a sport, or hitting the gym. In case this isn’t possible, at the very least try to get up, stretch, and walk around while taking regular breaks. You can even involve in physical fitness video games, like those that get you exercising or dancing.
Exercise You Hands
Just like your body, your hands need rest and exercises as repetitive motions of moving joysticks or clicking buttons for long periods of time can cause various hand pain and injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, tendinopathy and trigger finger.
By taking frequent two- to five-minute breaks at least every one or two hours of play and stretching the fists, palms and thumbs, you’ll reduce the risk of inflammation and allow your muscles and tendons around the hand to relax and recover. Stretching exercises before, during and after gaming not only help your hands stay healthy but also can enhance your performance by keeping the muscles warm and the joints lubricated, so your movements during the play are accurate.
To avoid developing these hand injuries triggered by overuse, look for common symptoms such as pain, weakness, numbness, decreased range of motion and swelling. In case you frequently experience any of these symptoms, make sure to take a break from gaming and visit your doctor to take the preventive measures.
Drink Plenty Of Water & Manage Stress Levels
Playing video games usually means experiencing migraine or tension-type headaches, which can range from mundane to serious. If you face headaches from video games after playing for a prolonged time, you might just be experiencing dehydration or fatigue, which are two of the most common causes of all headaches. The solution to prevent these headaches is easy – drink more water (at least eight glasses of fresh, clean water), take more breaks and try to spend less time playing games.
Another common trigger of headaches is increased stress. While reducing stress is easier said than done, there are a few methods that can help to manage stress and address other issues that can contribute to tension-type headaches. Try to incorporate effective practices into your daily life like meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, massage or physical therapy. All of them can be helpful with stress reduction, muscular release, improved posture, clarity and body awareness. Choose any activity that can be suitable and beneficial for you.
Furthermore, if you notice that your headache from gaming become worse after especially challenging, exciting or frustrating parts of the game, you might be suffering from Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)-mediated stress headaches. During stressful moments of the game, you can be clenching your jaw. As a result, your jaw muscles transfer their stress on to muscles in your neck and head, which lead to headaches. Symptoms related to TMJ also include the neck, back or jaw pain, cracked, chipped or worn teeth, popping or clicking noises in the jaw, ear pain, tinnitus or feeling like your teeth don’t fit together correctly. If you are subjected to headaches in addition to any of these symptoms, you might need to visit a TMJ dentist for necessary treatment.
Consider Adding CBD To Your Routine
While CBD, or cannabidiol, is commonly used for pain and stress relief, this natural supplement is also beneficial for promoting a healthy lifestyle. Support of the body’s endocannabinoid system and potential benefits of CBD oil might help to improve energy levels, reduce headaches and migraine, provide better sleep quality, regulate the hunger and fullness indicators, and enhance endurance to stay committed to regular physical activity and perform at maximum capacity during gaming. Also, taking CBD oil for anxiety is proven to help decrease stress and anxiety levels to promote a focused and calm state of mind.
Also, a potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties of CBD can help to treat a wide range of issues, including disorders of the ears and eyes such as tinnitus, eye pain, strain, blurred vision, migraine auras, and floaters.