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:
Upper Back Extension:
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!
Written by Gabi Back-Kremers, PT, DPT
Featured image by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash.