GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR RECOVERY
We've all been there at some point. You're playing World of Warcraft and discover a new mount from an elite mob boss only to have your carpal tunnel flare up after 30 minutes of straight fighting it.
Or maybe you're a diehard gamer who lives for those loot drops every few levels, but constantly find yourself disappointed when you don't get that Rare or Legendary item. Your wrist is constantly in pain, but you've got to push through it if you want that epic gear. If this sounds familiar, don't worry! There are ways to avoid gaming wrist pain without having to give up your favorite hobby. You can enjoy your favorite games and hobbies while also taking care of your wrists! Today we'll take a look at some simple stretches you can do before, during, and after gaming sessions to keep those wrists limber and feeling great.
How to treat wrist pain from gaming
before you start gaming
First things first: warm up your hands! This article on arthritis best practices for gamers has some great tips on keeping your hands and wrists loose before you start gaming. By keeping your body warm and loose, you'll be ready to play for hours without worrying about discomfort or injury.
If you're looking for a physical warm-up activity that doubles as a fun break while you wait for other players to log in, try doing some wrist rotations. Simply rotate each hand forward and backward 5 times, then side to side 5 times on each side. If that feels good, mix it up with 10 "windmills" where each arm circles all the way around 360 degrees in front of your body.
As long as things are feeling good during gameplay, there's not much more you need to do for your wrists! But if you notice any pain starting to set in, take a few seconds during your next auto-attack or while you wait for the tank to pick up the next. Here are a couple of stretches that will help you loosen up and feel better while still keeping your character moving through the game:
- Make a loose fist with one hand and hold it out in front of you with your palm facing up. Gently pull on each finger until it stretches out as far as it can go, then rotate each finger clockwise 10 times and repeat counterclockwise. After that, circle both hands around in big circles 10 times clockwise and counterclockwise. Then switch to the other hand and repeat.
- Stretch your right arm forward with your palm facing up. Raise your fingers, then tuck them down toward the palm of your hand as far as they will go. Hold for 5 seconds, then rotate your hand so that your palm is facing down and repeat the motion on the other side. A few sets of these on each side should leave you ready to keep gaming.
Even if things feel good while gaming itself, it's always best to take some preventative measures before starting if you can spare a couple of minutes. This way, you'll be much less likely to have wrist pain later on.
After the game
Some of you may choose to continue gaming even after your wrists are already hurting, but for those who want to take a break or already stopped because your hands started feeling bad, here are some stretches that will help you work out any kinks or tendinitis built up during gameplay:
- Use one hand to gently pull each finger straight out as far as it can go. Hold each stretch for 5 seconds before switching over to the next finger. When that's done, twist each hand into a loose fist then gently pull them apart again 10 times in both directions (this helps restore circulation and get the blood pumping through your hands again)
- While sitting down, use one hand to support the elbow of your opposite arm. Gently bend that elbow until it touches your back, then hold for 5 seconds before switching sides. You can also try this stretch with your palm facing up instead of support with the other hand.
- Turn each hand so that the palms are facing downward and gently stretch each finger forward as far as they will go. Hold for 10 seconds before making a loose fist and pulling them back in toward you again 10 times to release any tension built up in those muscles.
Taking care of your wrists doesn't have to take a lot of time, but it's important to keep them feeling good so you can enjoy your favorite games for years to come. And remember, if you do happen to feel any pain while playing, don't wait until later on—just take a quick break and do some stretches.
One more thing: when in doubt, get yourself a gaming wrist brace. Not only will they help support your wrists if you already have an injury or suffer from chronic pain when gaming, but many models also provide compression and preventative support which can help reduce wrist pain in the future.
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