Australians love video games. So much so that around 17 million of us play video games in some form. And 5.5 million households own at least two devices dedicated to video games.
Whether you’re hardcore or a casual gamer, if you sit with a console in hand or behind a screen, the worry is the same: gaming can be wreaking havoc on your posture and your health.
The postural habit you don’t want to become the norm
There’s one thing gamers have in common, apart from their mutual love of video games. They are at risk of developing serious issues as a result of poor posture. Why? Because the most popular posture they adopt while getting lost in a game is slouching. Before they realise it, slouching starts to feel more natural than sitting upright and they’ve quickly assumed a bad habit.
Health care professionals like physiotherapists justifiably preach the importance of good posture. That’s because slumping, hunching and drooping have real – sometimes even serious – ramifications. And back and neck pain is just the start.
Do you have gamers neck?
We’ve explored the dangers of tech neck. It’s the name given to the pain that results from the awkward position adopted while using technology. Gaming neck is similar. Put simply, gamers are guilty of slouching into a rolled position, slumping their shoulders and leaning forward. This causes the neck muscles to weaken and the back muscles to tighten.
So it’s not surprising that shoulder, neck and back pain are at the top of the list of common complaints from gamers. Followed by strained muscles, nerves and ligaments. Others scramble to treat scoliosis, wrist and finger RSI and headaches.
The physical impacts of poor posture
A gamer’s body cops a beating:
- sitting in a hunched position sparks shoulder pain
- continuously sitting in the same position results in backache
- all that rapid and repetitive wrist movement causes carpel tunnel
- overusing the hand and wrist results in tendonitis, and
- the intense concentration of playing for extended periods of time puts a strain on the eyes and leads to headaches and migraines
Here’s an interesting fact. The terms ‘Nintendinitis’ and ‘Nintendo neck’ were coined in the 1980s (when Nintendo was popular) after physiotherapists started seeing an influx of patients with repetitive strain injuries. The culprit? Continual button pressing, rapid mouse clicking and fingers locked in odd positions.
A gamers guide to guide posture
This generation is defined by technology. And let’s face it, our kids are not thinking of their posture when they’re engrossed in a video game. So it’s not surprising ergonomics has become a booming industry.
You could invest in a gaming chair or a keyboard with a wrist-rest or you could follow some simple tips. Keep your neck and shoulder muscles relaxed and avoid rounding your shoulders. And if you’re sitting in a chair, sit all the way back so your back is pressed against the back rest.
See a physiotherapist to correct your posture
If the horse has already bolted and you’re seeing the signs of poor posture, seek physiotherapy treatment from an experienced physiotherapist.
The New Age Physiotherapy posture correction physiotherapy clinic treats patients experiencing back, neck and shoulder pain as a result of poor body posture.
We teach specific exercises that target the muscles and strengthen the spine. We also offer invaluable advice to break those bad posture habits.