Although there are many voices that they describe video games as a negative influence Among the young people in our society, there are plenty of studies that say games can treat disorders like hyperactivity or ADD, that platform titles are better for the brain than playing the piano, or that Minecraft is a panacea for increasing creativity. of people. This clearly shows that the world of video games supports a healthy and pleasant life if, like everything, they know how to enjoy and consume with sufficient information and restraint.
However, today we wanted to delve into a less well-known topic and that could have physical consequences for the most playful, and it is that more and more players are accuse ailments or injuries after times of prolonged use of keyboards, mice and controls in video games. In addition, platforms such as virtual reality and its inherent limited game space can cause us to hurt ourselves if we are not careful where we are or if we are not in a place free of obstacles or other people. If you remember, you will probably remember some other unpleasant surprise using the Nintendo Wii WiiMoteIt would not be the first time that someone shakes another person trying to return a setback playing tennis.
Today without need to enter an alarmist state, we would like to inform you about the main injuries that you could suffer if you abuse the gamesThat is, if you do not pause, if you have spent many hours in the same position or if you subject your hands to a huge amount of repeated and stereotyped movements. So, without further delay, we get fully into the terrain of injuries gamer by excellence.
What injuries could appear if we abuse video games?
By abuse, we understand investing an enormous amount of time (more than 6 or 8 continuous hours of play) spread over a long season and without having the necessary ergonomic measures to avoid uncomfortable positions, poor posture of the hands on the keyboard or to mitigate body fatigue or contractures derived from poor body posture. This is especially true in the case of professional eSports players that more than 16 hours a day playing, as indicated by the Dr. Levi Harrison in an interview with Engadget.
The orthopedic surgeon, specialist in treating injuries and problems derived from gaming, it is clear (as we have previously noted) that the main drawback is the overuse of our body and our bad postures when playing and that, without a necessary rest and good hygiene and postural correction, it is inevitable that injuries happen and come to pose a serious setback for those affected. But it must be taken into account that casual gamers also face these health risks and not reserved for professionals, so you have to be very careful with the amount of time we invest in getting in front of the computer or the console. Let's see, then, what are the most common conditions in these cases.
Skeletal muscle injuries
In this section, we will focus on the conditions that most impact our muscles and joints, the first three being the most widespread among professionals and non-professionals of gaming, while the fourth section is based on those problems derived from the mismanagement of space in the use of virtual reality or various accessories that require wide or exaggerated body movements.
Trigger or spring thumb
It is an inflammation of the flexor tendon of thumb that prevents the correct movement of the finger and that could lead, in severe cases, to a joint immobility in flexed position. The best way to try to avoid this injury is rest 2 minutes for every 20 minutes of play, something essential if we do not want to have to resort to a invasive surgery in the most serious cases.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
In this case, the inflammation occurs in the middle nerve being strangled by the muscular pressure on our wrist, more specifically, in the passage of the joint known as Carpal tunnel and that it can generate pricks, pain, numbness or tingling in all or some of the first four fingers (thumb, index, middle and ring). A 2-minute break is recommended for every 20 minutes of play and, in the case of using a mouse, it is preferable to opt for one vertical type
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
It affects the proximal tendon of the common extensor digitorum muscle, at its insertion into the lateral epicondyle (located in the elbow joint) and is due to a micro-break in it that generates acute pain in the lateral elbow and forearm and it can extend to the hand or shoulder, depending on the severity of the injury. The recommendations to avoid it are the same as in the previous case, with rest time being the most effective measure to combat it.
Other trauma and discomfort
In this section we can include both persistent contractures in the trunk, neck, shoulders and arms, due to poor posture or the lack of ergonomic chairs and accessories that enable greater postural correction, such as trauma from blows derived from impacts against other objects or falls (using the virtual reality helmet), or derived from exaggerated movements, primarily with the arms, when making use of accessories like virtual reality controllers or others like the well-known WiiMote from Nintendo.
In this section we will enter consider the factors than can affect our eyesight Due to prolonged use of screens, the vast majority of radio stations blue light, and who are at high risk of eyestrain and even cause a loss of visual acuity.
Fatigue and visual stress
Appears when eyes pass too much time in front of a screen and it is also known by the name of Computer Visual Syndrome (SVI) and manifests itself with headaches, red, dry, tired eyes, etc. It is advisable spend no more than 2 hours in front of a screen to avoid this type of discomfort or, failing that, do 5 or 10 minute breaks for every hour of use.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
This is a macula eye disorder which is the part of the retina that is responsible for perceive the detail of the images in our visual field, attacking the central vision and causing difficulties for read and perceive finer features than what we see. It usually occurs from 60 years, although there are studies that value the impact of overexposure to blue light in our ocular system, causing us to suffer the discomfort associated with this degeneration at a younger age. It is important to say that these studies they are not conclusive, but it is recommended that we try to mitigate blue light as far as possible, especially if we make continuous use of the screens in our day to day.
Altered circadian rhythms
Although this is not a visual disturbance, it does triggered through the eye system by exposure to blue light since this reduces by a good percentage the melatonin creation, also known as the sleep hormone. This kind of self-reported insomnia is because our brain thinks it's daytime and that, therefore, it is not yet time to sleep, altering our sleep patterns if we do not stop that exposure to blue light screens. two hours before we go to bed. Needless to say, this results in poor body rest who is suffering from muscle aches and headaches the next day, which would be a good precondition for increase the risk of injury that we have commented previously.
Measurement and control, the best aids to avoid injuries
After all we've talked about, you may have noticed that the best way to avoid this type of discomfort and injury is rest or, in other words, the control or rationing of the hours we spend playing. Obviously if you are an eSports professional this gets complicated, but there are ergonomic measures that can help you mitigate the harmful effects of playing all day and, it is worth emphasizing this, you need to get enough rest and take the necessary breaks so that your health and your body do not suffer. So you know, when in doubt, measure.