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PC Gaming Health – Carpal Tunnel and Your Gaming Abilities

by: MD Weems ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

When it comes to PC games, there are actually some health issues that you will need to worry about. Carpal tunnel is a big one, as you are constantly using your wrists and fingers to game.

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    Keep Your Wrists Healthy

    PC gaming can be hard on your hands and wrists, as I'm sure that most people know. But, a lot of people really don't realize just how bad it can be until it comes to the point that their problems become so bad that they cannot game any longer. Gamers who spend most of their time on PC games as well as typing at work or other areas will find that their wrists will start to ache and hurt after long periods of using a keyboard. If not followed up on with a doctor or other type of attention (such as a special ergonomic keyboard, wrist braces, or wrist supports), this can swiftly develop into carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Carpal tunnel is something that most people hear all the time and assume that it will never happen to them. I know that's how I felt for the longest time. I never ever considered that I would develop it, because I was young. I hadn't been working on a typewriter or keyboard for 50 years. I never ever thought that the pains in my wrists would get worse, and I figured that other symptoms I had were caused by something else. More mornings than not, I wake up with weak hands, where I can't even grip and hold a spoon to eat cereal with the kiddos – I never knew that this was part of carpal tunnel. Also, there are nights after long days on the computer, that my shoulders hurt so bad that I would swear that I had pulled one out of socket – yet another sign of carpal tunnel that I didn't know. And, sometimes I would also swear that I somehow have tennis elbow without ever having played the game – only one more sign of carpal tunnel.

    Finally, the problems with my arms go so bad that I had to go to the doctor. He diagnosed me with carpal tunnel and recommended that I get an ergonomic keyboard (one of the weird ones that is split down the middle), prescribed me some of the most beautiful wrist braces (yeah, right... they are ugly brown and black monsters), and gave me a ton of exercises to do each morning and night with my wrists. Being a gaming nerd, I went ahead and ordered one of the special gaming keyboards that have all the hotkeys to the side and is egronomically designed with the break in the middle. I wear these braces to bed almost every night and usually have to wear them around during the day. And, I do my exercises daily. But, even with all of these things to help me out, I still have problems and they do effect my gaming abilities at times.

    For example, there are times when my fingers hurt so bad that I can't type well at all. While this doesn't sound like much, when you are trying to write a gaming guide, an article, or go through a beta test and your wrists, hands, and shoulders hurt so bad that you can hardly move – then you cannot do what you are wanting to do. This effects my work as I am a gaming writer. If I cannot even use the keyboard to play the games that I write about, then there is no point in trying to write about it.

    Hopefully you see where I'm heading with this...

    For those of you out there who notice some pains in your hands, wrists, shoulders, or even elbows after PC gaming or typing – you need to see your doctor. They can do some tests and check your reflexes to see exactly what is going on and help you find a good treatment that will work with your style and your individual needs. Every gamer is different, so some may only need to change up their keyboard – which can get pricey, I'll admit. But, others may be in my category and find that they need more than just a new keyboard. So, you need to make sure that you don't take any type of pain in your arms and hands loosely and just let it slip by until it gets worse and develops into carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Take it from a gamer who knows – you don't want to stop PC gaming just because you ignored the symptoms.