Most children and adolescents regularly experience physical injuries from ordinary play and sports. However, with the increasing popularity of computer and video games, some kids are now feeling the same kind of pains and aches that adults get from sitting behind their desks all day. Taking steps to prevent computer and video game injuries can ease pain today and possibly minimize the risk of long-term damage.
Chiropractors believe that common musculoskeletal problems caused by excessive gaming in front of a screen result mainly from postural stresses and lack of movement. Some of the common health problems experienced by gamers include:
- Wrist, arm or elbow strain
- Hand or thumb strain
- Classic carpal tunnel syndrome
Neck and upper back pain
While there are gaming systems that encourage movement, the inactive reality of gaming is a major concern for chiropractors. The reason is simply that joints must move to remain healthy. In other words, joints get nutrition through movement.
Subjecting young spines to poor postural positions for long periods with minimal or no movement at all can lead to changes in the normal S curve of the spine. This can result, in some cases, in pain as well as potentially long-lasting problems. Chiropractic care can help to offset the postural stresses and lack of movement linked to gaming.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is normally the result of compression of the median nerve as it passes through the wrist. In fact, it is the most common nerve compression injury and it is the most costly and common repetitive strain injury. It can be caused by both excessive gaming and prolonged computer use. Typical symptoms usually include:
- Night pain
- Weakness in grasping
- Index and thumb finger pinching, and other thumb movements
- Clumsiness, like dropping things and awkward hand movements
- Paresthesias or abnormal sensations such as numbness or tingling in the thumb, middle, and index fingers
Given that carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common and costly repetitive strain injury (RSI), there’s a high likelihood that you or your child are experiencing the problem due to prolonged computer use at work or excessive gaming. You may need to consult our family chiropractor at Zannetti Chiropractic for advice on how to prevent computer and video game injuries.