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Neck and upper back pain can be quite common side-effects of frequent video gaming, and happens as a result of poor posture. Usually this is as a result of excessively leaning forward and squashing the vertebra in your neck. Alongside neck and/or upper back pain, you may also experience frequent headaches due to the poor posture, so it’s important to be mindful of this while gaming.

Poor posture Is The Main Culprit

We can all say that looking after your posture is probably not a primary concern when video gaming, especially amongst children who enjoy playing video games for numerous hours throughout the day. However, looking after your posture and getting up to move around should definitely be prioritised as it will help to avoid some real discomfort and pain later in life. In that typical gaming position, you might be sat on your bed with the TV at the foot of the bed, crosslegged and leaning forward – or perhaps lying on your front with your head cranked up to see the screen – any position where you’re forcing your neck into an abnormal position or slouching will cause you a degree of discomfort at some point down the line. In these positions, your neck joints are getting rubbed together while you’re sat in that position, you’re not allowing them to move and get rid of any inflammation. You might not notice this due to being distracted by the game, until you stop and notice that all of a sudden your neck hurts, you might have a headache or you may have tense shoulder and upper back muscles.

Easing Compression In The Neck

If playing games is enjoyable for you, you may enjoy it more by investing in a chair that allows you to sit with good posture. So what exactly happens when you sit for a number of hours with increased compression going through your neck? Because your neck is not aligned correctly, the weight of your head applies compression on the more delicate neck joints in your spine, squashing the discs. The ligaments in your neck become lax because they’re becoming stretched, and the muscles adjust to that position. 

This means that you might notice when you’ve stopped playing the games, your neck posture has become more forward and your head is no longer above your shoulders but being carried forward. This extends compression of your discs to no longer being limited to gaming time, and now is likely pressing down continuously. Over time, this can cause your discs to become bulging or slipped, it can cause your muscles to become tight and you might notice that you’re experiencing more headaches than usual due to the nerves at the base of the skull being squashed.

How To Correct Neck Pain When Gaming

So how can you fix the problem? The easiest way to correct neck pain when gaming would be of course to stay on top of it when the problem first arises. Bad posture wasn’t always comfortable, so try to check in with your posture every so often if you tend to switch off when gaming. A good chair will make this easier but if you don’t have one specifically for gaming, just make sure you’re sitting up straight with your head in a neutral position above the shoulders. This might be very difficult and perhaps uncomfortable at first, this is because the muscles that support your posture in your back and core have become weak from not being used. You can help this process by doing exercises that will specifically help strengthen your back and core. We have our own App developed by our spinal experts with exercises that are tried and tested in our clinic to help you overcome back or neck pain. This can be found here: https://themayfairclinic.com/back-in-shape-home-edition

Making Sure To Stay Active

Other things that can make a big difference when you’re getting back or neck pain from gaming, are just care of self. You tend to lose track of yourself when gaming, so make sure if you’re playing a game that has regular interludes – such as re-spawning in shooting games, a football or sports game, make sure to get up and move around. Another simplistic way to help your back and neck pain is simply to not play them for quite as long, it’s important for your health to stay active – especially as sitting has been labelled ‘the new smoking’. Setting up your computer or games console effectively is also going to help you in the long term. Whether that’s having a chair that ensures you’re sat in the correct position, or setting up your screen so that you’re neither looking up nor down at the screen – your neck should be in a neutral position. These issues if not corrected early on, will come to light further down the line. Back and neck pain often results from days, weeks, months or even years or repetitively poor posture – so while you may not wish to correct these behaviours because they’re not harming you at the minute – you might find they affect you considerably in the future.

We hope today’s article has been helpful for you! If you’re suffering with neck or back pain and are struggling to find a treatment that gives relief, contact The Mayfair Clinic today to see how we can help. Call us on 0203 947 3222 or email us at info@themayfairclinic.com to book in your first appointment – an initial consultation where we will go through a thorough examination, including X-ray imaging if necessary and a treatment on that first session.

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