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ErgoRounin
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Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:06 pm

HI guys:
New to the forums. I've an avid gamer, but also just spend a lot of time in front of the computer. Lately I've been developing wrist pain, nothing too serious, but I was wondering, could my gaming be the culprit? I mostly play first person shooters. If you guys have any suggestions in terms of equipment or routines I can follow as a gamer to minimize the chances of developing health issues, I'm all ears.
 
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:11 pm

Well wrist pain isn't directly carpal tunnel. Yes gaming can increase the likelyhood of the problem, not everyone will experience it. If you want to know if you have it go to a doctor and he'll forcefully finger poke the vein that gets damaged. If you punch him after he does it you have carpal tunnel.

The pain could just be indicative of uncomfortable form while playing. I figure if you apply yourself to examining your form while playing games you'll be able to figure out what it is that's causing the problem. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to guess.
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whm1974
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:14 pm

I'm not sure. But I found that the in past if I'm play FPS games all day, every day long enough my wrists and hands will be really stiff and hurting. I would advise you take a break from gaming for awhile, or least with FPS. Like a few days at least.
 
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:25 pm

Was playing Elite Dangerous with a twist stick for yaw control... After long sessions driving the SRV (moon buggy) on planets my wrist was giving me a lot of issues and I was well on my way to carpal tunnel syndrome.

I bought a set of rudder pedals and use you those for steering the buggy and it has made a significant improvement on my wrist issues.
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:23 pm

I've always felt you can just massage your own hands/wrists every so often and keep things from getting weird (probably not with actual carpal tunnel, but with gaming issues anyway.)
And now I'm no longer primarily a PC gamer. *shrug*
 
ErgoRounin
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:17 pm

LostCat wrote:
I've always felt you can just massage your own hands/wrists every so often and keep things from getting weird (probably not with actual carpal tunnel, but with gaming issues anyway.)


I've been doing this already with hand exercises like squeezing a ball (like these exercises), It helps, but I feel like I'm just treating the symptoms , not addressing the issue, whatever it is.
 
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:48 am

No, not by itself, life is never that simple. I'm not the only heavy 'gamer' (computer or otherwise) passing 2 or 3+ decades of daily use without any problems. Meanwhile a doctor I know who specializes in various kinds of physical therapy has several teenager patients with extreme thumb(!) problems with only a few years of smartphone addiction.

My understanding is that things like carpal tunnel and joint pain are complex problems, no two people are exactly alike in their repetitive patterns or biology and there are many other factors. One person might debilitate their wrists within a year while someone else might hit retirement and still play the piano. Surprisingly a lot of things are immune system related, once your body attacks itself things suck.
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JustAnEngineer
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:06 am

If you ever played for a few hours with the original Atari 2600 joystick, you'd be a believer in repetitive stress injuries.
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:31 am

Bauxite wrote:
Surprisingly a lot of things are immune system related, once your body attacks itself things suck.


Having one of those bodies myself I can attest to that, but so long as you pay attention to your body and don't ignore the signs of excess strain(which is something everyone really should do anyway), then RSI's aren't really so hard to avoid.

JustAnEngineer wrote:
If you ever played for a few hours with the original Atari 2600 joystick, you'd be a believer in repetitive stress injuries.


The claw! It reminds me now of that scene in The Matrix where Neo gets his ass kicked by Morpheus and then realizes it's not just all in his head. That was the 2600s way of smiting you in the real world as well. :P
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:04 am

ErgoRounin wrote:
HI guys:
New to the forums. I've an avid gamer, but also just spend a lot of time in front of the computer. Lately I've been developing wrist pain, nothing too serious, but I was wondering, could my gaming be the culprit? I mostly play first person shooters. If you guys have any suggestions in terms of equipment or routines I can follow as a gamer to minimize the chances of developing health issues, I'm all ears.

If you experience pain, reassess your workplace.

Make sure that your wrists are straight and relaxed at all times. NEVER operate keyboard or mouse with the wrist at an upward or downward angle.
Also, if you work with low sensitivity on your mouse, move your entire arm, not just the hand.

I have been a heavy gamer/computer person for 20 years now, the only time I had pain was after transitioning to a new keyboard. A simple little cushion under my wrist in front of the keyboard fixed that.

Pain is a warning signal, do NOT ignore it and do NOT try to "man through it". Find the root cause and fix it.
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Pancake
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:41 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
If you ever played for a few hours with the original Atari 2600 joystick, you'd be a believer in repetitive stress injuries.

Or the even more vile Commodore joysticks. Quickshot Pro FTW!
 
NTMBK
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:57 am

I work on a computer all day, so I have similar concerns. I do most of my gaming with a gamepad now, so that my hands and wrists get a break. Not great if you play competitive online FPS, but I find it just fine for single player.
 
whm1974
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:33 am

NTMBK wrote:
I work on a computer all day, so I have similar concerns. I do most of my gaming with a gamepad now, so that my hands and wrists get a break. Not great if you play competitive online FPS, but I find it just fine for single player.

I noticed that is easier on my hand and wrists if I switch between KBM and my Steam Controller every so often. That reminds me, I need to start using my controller more often...
 
cegras
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:06 am

How do you hold your mouse? If you pivot your wrist, that can lead to RSI. In highschool I injured my right wrist that way, and switch to pivoting my elbow instead, which fixed the problem, but my wrist is still injured, and can be aggravated by the wrong movements.
 
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:18 am

RSIs are from repetitive motions, so periodically break the repetition in healthy ways.

Stretching out your finger and wrist muscles between matches goes a long way in preventing RSI. Adjust your position so the rest of your arm moves the mouse more, and consider bumping the sensitivity on your mouse so you have to move less.
 
JustAnEngineer
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:25 am

Using a good gel wrist wrest on both keyboard and mouse has pretty much eliminated any wrist pain for me. The advice to ensure that your chair height is correct so that your wrists are straight is also helpful. If you're into retro gaming, the Wico bat-handle was the best of the digital 8-way sticks for gaming on the Atari 2600 or Commodore 64.
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travbrad
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:45 pm

whm1974 wrote:
I'm not sure. But I found that the in past if I'm play FPS games all day, every day long enough my wrists and hands will be really stiff and hurting. I would advise you take a break from gaming for awhile, or least with FPS. Like a few days at least.


Yep and when you do play games it's probably wise to take breaks too (not just because of carpal tunnel either, it's also not good to sit for long periods, it can be hard on your eyes, etc). I've never really had problems from gaming, but I've had sore hands from playing guitar/bass. Taking short breaks and "loosening them up" as well as stretching them before playing always helps me a lot. As others have mentioned it's crucial to get the best, most ergonomic posture as well. It's also generally better to use a "light touch" if you can too. It might even be a good idea to take a closeup video of your hands/arms while gaming to see what's really going on since it's hard to notice that kind of stuff in the middle of some intense gaming.

Using alternative input methods is a good idea too (mouse+kb, gamepads, joysticks, wheel/pedals) if it's actually suitable for the games you play of course. FPS gaming on a gamepad is nearly as painful as carpal tunnel for some of us I think. :P
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Re: Does gaming lead to Carpal Tunnel?

Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:25 pm

whm1974 wrote:
I'm not sure. But I found that the in past if I'm play FPS games all day, every day long enough my wrists and hands will be really stiff and hurting. I would advise you take a break from gaming for awhile, or least with FPS. Like a few days at least.


This is a good idea in general, but I've noticed that since I started using trackballs I stopped having wrist problems.

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