7 Easy Steps to Reduce Carpal Tunnel From Gaming

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common issue for people that work with computers on a daily basis or for gamers that play extensively and where the games require high actions per minute.  In this article, we will discuss the steps you can take to prevent carpal tunnel from gaming.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

You probably already know this since you are already here but in case you are not sure what the pain your experiencing is we will try to explain what carpal tunnel is.  Carpal tunnel syndrome is where the median nerve is compressed where it passes through a small tunnel at the wrist.  This will cause pain, tingling, numbness or general aching.  Often people complain tingling is worse during the night or in the early morning.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Generally speaking, carpal tunnel syndrome can be introduced for a number of reasons.  However, it is often due to excessive use of the wrist where there is a lot of pressure being put on the median nerve.  Repetition of the pressure can cause swelling and inflammation which can obstruct blood flow.  In the case of gaming, it is related to how you use your keyboard and mouse and how you position yourself at your desk.

Steps to Reduce Carpal Tunnel from Gaming

Now that you know a little more about carpal tunnel we can discuss how you can reduce the pain you are experiencing. 

Desk Height

It is vitally important that your desk is not positioned too high or too low.  Too high and you will be leaning which can cause upper back problems and rounded shoulders.  Too low and your arms will be naturally higher which can then exert added pressure to your wrists which is the primary concern for carpal tunnel sufferers.

Adjust Your Chair Height

In relation to the previous section, make sure your chair isn’t too high or too low so that it accompanies your desk height so that you are sitting at a comfortable height.  The top of your monitors should be just above eye height to prevent you looking down and causing issues with your neck.

Position Your Keyboard Correctly

Your keyboard should be directly in front of you and be around 30cm from the edge of your desk to provide adequate room to rest your arms.  If your keyboard sits high and you are having to arch your hands over it, try to find a padded wrist rest to provide you with some comfort and support.  Ensure that your wrists are resting at a natural angle, try not to twist them.

Ergonomic Mice and Wrist Position

There is a wide range of ergonomic mice on the market that can assist in providing support for your wrist.  Often these involve holding your mouse slightly differently, putting pressure on the base of the hand rather than the wrist.  We will be doing a review of the best ergonomic mice so stay tuned for that.

When using your mouse you should move your entire forearm and not twist your wrist.  Often gamers use their wrist for snapping and aiming in FPS games.  Over time this can cause real problems for the wrist.  Try to get in the habit of using your whole forearm to move your mouse if you are experiencing pain.  You may not be as accurate but it will reduce your pain!

Take Breaks

If you are already experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome then you should be taking breaks often throughout gaming sessions.  Sit out one round of PUBG or Dust2 and give your wrists a break!

Get a Wrist Splint

Wrist splints are one solution that helped me.  Since I spend a lot of time at a computer for work and then also game in my spare time I started to experience pain.  To reduce this I started wearing a wrist splint throughout the day and as it got better I only wore it at night.

Wrist Exercises

Wrist exercises helped me hugely when suffering from my carpal tunnel.  I tried to incorporate these three exercises throughout the day whenever I had a spare minute.  At first, there wasn’t much improvement but after consistent practice, it really started to alleviate some of the pain.

Bend Downwards

  1. Hold your arm out straight in front of you with your hand extended but flat and facing the floor.
  2. Spread your fingers naturally and using your other hand bend the downward facing hand towards the floor so there is a slight angle between your wrist and hand. Don’t push too far, just until it feels comfortable.
  3. Hold the position for 10-15 seconds and release.
  4. Do the same with the other hand.

carpal tunnel exercise bend downwards

Bend Backwards

  1. Hold your arm out straight in front of you with your hand extended but flat and facing the floor.
  2. Spread your fingers naturally and using your other hand bend the downward facing hand up towards the sky.  Do this until it feels comfortable and you can feel the stretch down your wrist.
  3. Hold the position for 10-15 seconds and release.
  4. Do the same with the other hand.
carpal tunnel exercise bend backwards
 

Thumb Stretch

  1. Put your hand out in front of you with your palm facing away and fingers down.
  2. Reach under your arm and grab your thumb,
  3. Gently pull your thumb back towards you.  You should feel a slight stretch straight up the base of your wrist.
  4. Hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat.

carpal tunnel exercise thumb stretch

Prayer

  1. Put your hands together so your palms are touching as if you were praying.
  2. Push your fingers tips together so your palms open up completely until only your fingertips are touching.
  3. Close your hands again until your palms are almost touching.
  4. Repeat this multiple times.

Shake

  1. This one is pretty straightforward. Relax your hands and shake them gently up and down and side to side, as if you have just washed your hands.

Wall Press

  1. Face a wall around an arms length away.
  2. Put your arm out in front of you and turn it so that your fingers are pointing to the ground and the underside of your wrist is face up. (As if you were handing your arms over to get handcuffed). 
  3. Press your fingers against the wall and push until your palm nears contact with the wall.  Do this gradually until the base of your wrist almost touches the wall.  You will feel the stretch all the way up the underside of your wrist and forearm.

Lastly, for more information on different exercises and advice check out Dr Levi Harrison.  He is the ‘gaming doctor’ and has lots of expertise in treating injuries related to gaming.  Or for more medical advice check out webmd here.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.