You’re young, in good health, and your one vice is the way you give up a few hours of your day, each day, to playing your favorite video game. While it’s a harmless activity, things don’t always go smoothly. Whether you play on a computer, a console or a mobile device, a painful neck at some point is all but a certainty. If you’re serious about staying with gaming, you need to take steps before the problem gets out of hand.
Begin by learning about better posture
It doesn’t matter what kind of prolonged computer use you get – at an office or playing a video game – it’s an unnatural activity that your body was never designed for. You need to find ways to help your body adjust.
It’s easy to find thousands of articles online, written on the subject of good posture for sedentary activity. The tips offered don’t usually do much good, however, because every individual has different needs. It takes a commitment to good posture, and a willingness to research and learn over a period of time, until you find out what your body needs. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make an appointment with a physiotherapist for a posture audit and personal coaching on attaining healthy posture.
Invest in good equipment
If you’re already out big bucks on gaming hardware, the idea of spending a few hundred more on a quality PC gaming chair may not seem very appealing. Making the investment, though, is one of the most basic ways to help prevent a painful neck.
It’s important to understand that buying a chair isn’t simply about the chair itself. Your chair of choice needs to work well for the table that you have, and the way in which your gaming equipment is arranged on it. In general, you want your arrangement to allow you to sit with your feet firmly planted on the floor. The table and the armrest on your chair should be level with each other, and the placement of the monitor shouldn’t require you to angle your neck.
If you play on a laptop, you need to make more changes. Laptops placed on tables either force you to crane your neck, or, if you’re willing to raise the laptop to eye-level, to use your hands at an unnatural angle. It makes sense to either get an external keyboard or an external monitor.
Tablets and smartphones can be much harder. Tilting your neck strains it with about 12 pounds of force. It can cause terrible discomfort before long. The usual recommendations — holding your phone at eye level when you are sitting upright, or holding it up as you lie on your back or sit in a recliner — are impractical in many situations. The answer is to take frequent breaks, and strengthen your neck.
Neck exercises truly help
Neck exercises are aimed both at relieving neck stress and improving muscle strength around the neck area. Shoulder shrugs, shoulder rolls, chin tucks, and neck extension exercises can all greatly help. You do need to learn the correct form, however.
As long as you stick to a schedule, you’ll get to participate in the activity that you love, with little cause for worry.
About the Author
Evie Harper is a geeky girl who spends most of her time online either working on the computer or gaming which is her passion. Over the last year she has noticed how this is effecting her body with neck and wrist pain. She shares her story and insights with others through her articles.