Physical therapy for gamers

Physical Therapy for Gamers

The Gamer's Guide to Physical Therapy

Scroll through social media and you’ll see endless posts targeted towards traditional athletes, like:

  • Strong Knees for Lifters
  • Core Training for Runners
  • Bulletproof Shoulder Exercises for Baseball Throwers

But when was the last time you saw a post about physical therapy for gamers? If your answer is “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” then this post is for you!

 

How can physical therapy help gamers?

Whether you perform esports professionally or play tabletop role-playing games for fun, you’ve likely experienced body aches and pains at some point, especially if you’re gaming for long stretches of time. Due to sustained static postures and repetitive motions, many gamers suffer from neck pain or back pain, headaches, wrist pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

This can make it more difficult for gamers to play the games they enjoy, as well as affect concentration. No one wants to deal with pain when they’re trying to speedrun a dungeon without taking damage!

There are many factors that can help reduce or eliminate pain for gamers. One of the most important factors to take a closer look at is your gaming set-up. Many wrist, elbow, and neck issues can be helped quickly by just optimizing your gaming set-up for your height and ergonomics. Check out this YouTube video for helpful tips on desk ergonomics.

However, even with a 100% perfect gaming set-up, it is still possible to have pain due to the demanding nature of gaming for long periods of time. Due to the extreme concentration needed for most games, we don’t always think about our posture or positioning while gaming. That is why it is important to have a flexibility, mobility, and strengthening routine that you can turn to after your gaming session is complete.

Here are just a few examples of stretches and exercises that can help reduce pain related to gaming:

Chin Tucks:

chin tucks
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Upper Back Extension:

upper back extension
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Step 2

Tendon Glides:

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Nerve Glides:

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Steps 3

Our doctors of physical therapy specialize in helping people improve their movement and performance as well as manage their pain. If you feel that you need more help with managing pain related to gaming, that’s where we come in!

 

What can I expect during my physical therapy visit?

The first session, what we call the initial evaluation, usually starts out with “What brings you to therapy,” where we then dive deeper into your symptoms. For example:

  • What are your symptoms and where?
  • What makes your symptoms better/worse?
  • What is your gaming setup like? (PC gamer vs. console gamer)
  • What type of gaming do you do (ie, tabletop board games vs. video games vs. card games)
  • How long and often do you play?
  • What have you tried to help the pain/symptoms?

Once these have been clarified, we follow it up with tests to look at muscle length and extensibility, joint range of motion, and muscle strength, endurance, and coordination, as well as tests to reproduce symptoms. It’s essential to assess muscle endurance as many gamers stay in one position for a long time and need the ability to maintain static positions comfortably. Based on these findings, your therapist will outline your diagnosis (the WHAT and the WHY) and a game plan for recovery (the HOW).

At Rise Physical Therapy, we assess each individual and their unique set of symptoms and goals. So if you’re having pain, neck stiffness, pins and needles, or XYZ, we can identify the WHAT, the WHY, and the HOW to get you on the road to recovery, fast!

Get back in the game today! Request an appointment with one of our skilled Doctors of Physical Therapy to start feeling better now.

 

More questions? Give us a call at (479) 442-7473. Check out our Instagram to find more examples of exercises for gamers!

Gabi

Written by Gabi Back-Kremers, PT, DPT 

Featured image by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash.

Maintaining Balance as We Age

Balance is the ability to distribute weight in a way that will let us hold a steady position. Balance begins with a nonstop stream of information gathered by several systems in the body. The visual system (your eyes) helps you to orient yourself in space. The musculoskeletal system (muscles, joints, tendons) contains special sensors that provide you with awareness of your body and movements in space (proprioception or kinesthesia). The vestibular system (inner ear) provides information about head position, spatial orientation, and motion. All three of theses systems are continually sending their findings to the brain. This flood of data gets processed and the result is the ability to stand, move, perform tasks and remain balanced. Strength and flexibility are also other important components of balance. They are required to keep the body upright and under control. Good balance relies on the muscles of the feet, legs, buttocks, abdominals, and torso.

As we age, we lose the function to balance through loss of sensory elements, decreased ability to integrate information and issue motor commands, and loss of musculoskeletal function. What can you do to fight this loss? Resistance training and weightlifting will build strength and stamina. Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates will help with flexibility. Simple activities, such as standing on one foot while brushing your teeth or cooking, always rising from a chair without using your arms, practicing walking backwards or heel-to-toe in a straight line all directly target balance. Researchers have found that balance begins to decline in midlife, starting at about age 50. In one recent study, adults in their 30s and 40s could stand on one foot for a minute or more. At age 50, the time decreased to 45 seconds. At 70, study participants managed 28 seconds. By age 80 and older, they lasted less than 12 seconds standing on one foot.

Because the aging process can affect vision, strength and balance, adults 65 and older are at elevated risk for falls. However, falls are not a natural part of aging and can be prevented.

Balance and Fall Risk Assessment

Physical Therapists can examine you and assess your balance and risk of falling. Guidelines published by the American Geriatrics Society and British Geriatrics Society (AGS/BGS) recommend screening adults 65 and older for fall risk every year. A balance and fall screen may include questions about your history of falling in the past year, and if there was a need for medical attention. Even if you have not fallen, a comprehensive evaluation and balance training are key in preventing potential slips and trips, helping you live without the fear of an accidental fall. Physical therapists will use balance re-training exercises, gait training, safety training, and muscle strengthening to help those who are struggling with balance issues due to injury or aging.

Request an appointment to have one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy assess your balance and help prevent falls.

Written by: Carrie Lynch, PT, DPT
Fayetteville, AR

Photo by Raphael Renter on Unsplash