Whether you’re a professional gamer or simply a passionate player, you’ve probably experienced back pain. But did you know gaming could be the cause? Gamers who spend long hours sitting in an unnatural position while they play often develop back pain. If not properly treated, this can lead to long-term health issues . But there’s good news! We’ve got scientific strategies and information that will help prevent back trouble. So you can play your favorite games pain-free!
Why Gaming Can Be a Pain
Gamers tend to slouch and sink down into their seats causing their lower back to curve. This poor posture leads to an uneven distribution of weight around the spine, lower back and hips. It also compresses vertebrae in the spine. This compression is often linked to pain and inflammation. Remaining in one static position for hours can even harden collagen in the ligaments and tendons in the back . This can make your spine less flexible, strain your back, hip, and glute muscles, plus cause discomfort in different parts of your body—including your legs.
And the more you game, the more you may experience pain. Research shows that the average amount of time that gamers spend in front of their computers or consoles is about 13 hours per week—and that keeps increasing . When you game this long, nerves in the lower back that extend through the legs are under constant pressure. These inflamed nerves can lead to pain and swelling in the legs. Prolonged gaming even increases the risk of blood clots in the legs, which is a dangerous condition that needs to be addressed immediately .
Prevent Pain With Good Posture
Now you know why good posture while gaming is a must. Luckily, holistic strategies like lifestyle changes, posture, and ergonomic equipment can help. Here are some smart prevention strategies.
- Set a timer so you take regular gaming breaks and stretch tired muscles
- Take daily walks or add other regular activities to your routine
- Switch up your gaming days and the times you game
- Sit straight—back and chest upright, shoulders pressed firmly against the back of your seat
- Maintain good posture with ergonomic cushions or chairs
Back in the Game!
These changes may seem simple, but they’ll help you avoid pain so you can get back in the game, and stay there.
- International Association of Gaming Regulators [IAGR]. Could esports feature at the 2024 Olympics? IAGR, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.iagr.org/industry-news/could-esports-feature-2024-olympics
- Hakala PT, et al. Frequent computer-related activities increase the risk of neck–shoulder and low back pain in adolescents. EUPH. 2006;16(5);536-541.
- Gordon R, Bloxham S. A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain. Healthcare (Basel). 2016;4(2):22.
- Chang HC, et al. Extensive deep vein thrombosis following prolonged gaming (‘gamer’s thrombosis’): a case report. J Med Case Rep. 2013;7:235.