Five Things You Can Do If Gaming Is Causing You Back Pain
Video games are a great avenue to take for escaping the problems of the real world. However, there is just one problem that many of us gamers struggle escaping from: back pain caused by long hours of playing.
Let's face it: The human body was just not designed for sitting for long periods of time. Many serious video gamers report spending countless hours playing their favorite games. This can take its toll on the body, especially the neck and back.
Oftentimes we humans tend to slouch when we start feeling slight back pain in order to subconsciously relieve some of the discomforts. However, in the long run, we are actually ruining our posture and causing possible serious long-term damage.
So does this mean as gamers we are doomed to have terrible posture and a lifetime of back discomfort? Must we turn off the consoles indefinitely and put our controllers on the shelf?
Of course not!
Instead of giving up our beloved game time, we need to try the following five solutions to help alleviate back pain caused from long term gaming.
1. Proper Ergonomics
No matter what type of device we are gaming on, the best way to reduce back pain is by maintaining good posture. In order to do this, we must position our screens at eye level, with a distance of 20 inches or more from our faces. We also need to keep our shoulders as relaxed as possible by aligning our heads and necks with our torsos and keeping our elbows close to our bodies. Finally, our feet should be flat on the floor. Maintaining these proper ergonomics while gaming will increase our energy and allow us to focus on the fine details of the game in order to perform our best.
2. Gaming Chair
Having the proper chair to sit in during avid gaming time is a must to help support the proper ergonomics mentioned above. Gaming chairs are contoured to support the spine. The best gaming chairs allow for better blood flow to relieve tension in achy muscles and joints in the back and neck area. Many chairs also come with extra accessories such as cup holders and speakers to increase the pleasure of the overall gaming experience. When seated in a gaming chair, our performances can only improve because we will be less distracted and stressed from being in pain, and as a result, we will be able to focus more on enjoying the games themselves.
3. Stretching & Low Impact Exercises
Of course, even when we try to maintain the best posture possible, and even with the most comfortable supportive gaming chairs, our bodies still need breaks for movement. Regular physical activity is a must for good back health. Low impact exercises that promote stronger back muscles include walking at a brisk pace, swimming laps, yoga, and stationary biking. Don't have the time for low impact exercises? Just taking breaks every 20 to 30 minutes to stretch can significantly decrease neck and back pain and re-energize our bodies for many more hours of play time.
4. Get Active Games
Don't want to take too many breaks from game time? Get games that promote more physical activity. With today's technologies, there are a variety of these game types available. We no longer have to be sitting to play games. There are many active sports games that will not only eliminate our back pain, but also help get us into shape by improving our hand-eye coordination, balance, stability, and cardio.
5. Wearable Sensors
Finally, if all of these options have been exhausted and back pain is still an issue, there is a new technology that may help! Revolutionary gadgets are being produced that we can wear to promote better posture. Gadgets like the Lumo Back produce sensors that will nudge us if our postures begin to weaken. Other gadgets like Valedo can be worn while playing games on our mobile devices and sync physical movements with our avatars, causing our characters to play through a series of obstacles that are meant to strengthen our back muscles and reduce pain.
So there we have it. Our gaming systems are not doomed to sit on a shelf and collect dust. Our backs are not doomed to chronic, un-relievable, unbearable pain and terrible posture. Instead, if we utilize the options mentioned above we can significantly improve our posture, stamina, focus, and game performance all while still doing one of our most beloved activities for hours and hours at a time! Back pain will cease to be one of those real world problems we as gamers need to hide from when we immerse ourselves into a multitude of video gaming hours.