How to Prevent Back Pain While Gaming During the Holidays
Now that it's the holidays and you're on vacation from school and work, you have a few weeks to relax and catch up on some gaming! But recent news warns you to pay attention to any back pain you experience when you're gaming. Here's why and what you can do about it.
You've worked hard since September, hitting the books relentlessly at school or meeting deadlines and getting projects done at work. Now you get your well-deserved vacation until the first or second week of January when you can do fun and relaxing things you've been pining for since the start of fall! You can go back to playing your favorite video game for hours on end because you don't have to worry about time management or looming exams.
But gaming for long periods has been linked with causing health problems, like back pain. The City University of New York cites studies with children that found that children who game for longer than two hours have increased risk of developing lower back pain. The negative effect seems unique to video game players because children who watched television for two hours or longer don't have the same increased risk for back pain.
According to WebMD, back pain is more common in adults than in children or teens because younger people have more flexible bodies. If gaming can cause back pain for this young age group, gaming as an adult is more likely to cause back pain and the severity can be more intense.
Don't worry – you can still enjoy hours of fun playing your favorite MMO or console game without developing back pain. The Cleveland Clinic advises you do the following to help prevent developing back pain while gaming:
Use a game-friendly chair. The Cleveland Clinic says that sitting or lying down on low-support chairs and couches can put your body in strained positions, which leads to back pain. Specifically designed gaming chairs support your back and keep you in proper posture while you're playing video games. They're also made to keep you cushioned comfortably for extended periods of gaming.
Use a therapy ball. Sitting or lying on a therapy or exercise ball while you're gaming will actively work your core muscles and other muscle groups you don't normally use while being sedentary because you're constantly using these muscles to keep balance on the ball. It also improves your posture, which strengthens your back and helps prevent back pain. Because you're working more muscles while you're sitting, it increases your metabolism and helps prevent gaining weight from playing video games.
Why is it important to lower your back pain? Researchers found that chronic back pain can make you twice as likely to develop psychosis, stress, depression, and sleep deprivation. Those are some serious findings – a hurting back can make you go crazy! If you're an older adult, Associate Professor Lynn Marshall at Oregon Health and Science University says that back pain increases your risk for falling down by 30 percent.
Enjoy the holidays and get back to gaming – but if you're playing for extended periods of time, you should take care of your back because developing back pain can harm your mental health.