Ergonomic Gaming and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Every Gamer Should Be Afraid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you’re a gamer who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome or find yourself worried about all the other potential ways you could damage your hand, arm, and nerves from gaming, then you’re not alone. Evidence suggests almost 5% of the population suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome, with more than 3 million US cases per year, and those figures are only rising as each generation spends thousands upon thousands of additional hours on a mouse and keyboard.
You may find yourself cutting your playing sessions short due to the pain and tension you feel in the wrist and hand area. Carpal tunnel and other ailments causes shooting pains, aching, tension and numbness in the wrist, arm and even in the fingers. The core cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is constant tension in the wrist, which causes pressure on the median nerve within the wrist. This can come from any prolonged repetitive activity with the hands, such as typing, gaming or working on small, precise tasks. For many gamers who spend hours at a time playing games without taking a break, carpal tunnel can develop and make marathon gaming a thing of the past.
Traditionally, gamers with carpal tunnel were told cutting back on gaming and other repetitive actions was the only way to get relief. However, there are now more options for those who suffer from carpal tunnel pain but still love to game. Luckily for gaming enthusiasts who suffer from carpal tunnel, it is now possible to get equipment that eases the pressure on the wrist and makes gaming possible again without the associated pain. Choosing the right mouse can alleviate the painful symptoms of carpal tunnel and make hours of gaming enjoyable again.
Find the Right Mouse for Gaming With or Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There is no one universally perfect gaming mouse for every user, because the size of your hand and your grip style on the mouse can make a big difference in selecting the right mouse. However, chances are that if you suffer from carpal tunnel, a larger size mouse is more likely to be right for you. A smaller mouse is usually not a good choice for a gamer with carpal tunnel because the size of the mouse means using a tighter grip. Gamers who suffer from carpal tunnel should stay away from a smaller sized mouse and look instead for a mouse wide enough to match the size of the palm. Many companies now offer a larger size mouse for gamers, with enough space for the palm to rest comfortably across the top. Look for a one size fits all, ergonomic design, as these tend to be supportive without breaking the bank. These mice are designed to fit the way most people hold their hand during gameplay, and may include built in ridges and rests for the thumb and wrist area to sit on.
But First, You Should Stretch!
Professional gamer and streamer “Day9” has been at the forefront of StarCraft since the late ’90s, so he knows a thing or two about keeping your fingers loose and limber.
In addition to those, I’ve had this useful collection of stretches linked in my toolbar for a while now.
Are Certain Materials Better In a Gaming Mouse?
If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, the weight of your gaming mouse is an important factor in reducing your symptoms. An aluminum mouse is typically lighter weight than one made of another material. The lighter weight means that the mouse can be moved with less effort and exertion from the hand, reducing the amount of tension in the hand and wrist. An aluminum mouse may also be somewhat malleable and customize itself to your hand size and grip style as time goes on.
Choosing the right mouse is crucial for gamers who already have carpal tunnel syndrome, but it can also be wise to consider these factors even if you don’t already suffer from the syndrome. Choosing a wider size, lightweight mouse can help to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome in the future, especially for gamers who like to engage in marathon game play sessions or game at least a few days out of an average week. In addition to choosing a good quality mouse, there are a few easy things gamers can do to reduce the chance of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. Taking regular breaks during gameplay, stretching the hand and arms and switching hands if possible can all help to prevent carpal tunnel pain from striking in the future.
And let’s not forget about ergonomics! Countless medical professionals and studies have proven that proper posture and ergonomics go a long way to alleviating and preventing pain!
Which Gaming Mouse is Best to Prevent Pain?
Unfortunately most gaming mice focus so much on performance and features, they they skimp or outright abandon proper ergonomics. However after researching the available options, it’s clear Razer has both the best ergonomic gaming mouse for FPS, MMO, and every other type of game you might want to play!
However if you’re worried about preventing carpel tunnel or wrist strain while non-gaming, I highly recommend the Logitech M570 ergonomic mouse. It’s what I personally bought after hours of research and I now use it all day long at work and I love it!
When is a Customizable Mouse Right for Gaming With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
If one size fits all isn’t right for your hand and grip size, a customizable mouse may be the best choice for gamers with carpal tunnel. This type of mouse usually comes with multiple built in rests for various parts of the hand and allow the user to customize where they need the most support. This can help to alleviate some of the tension in the hand that builds up during a long gaming session without slowing you down as you play. Many customizable mice have built in rests for the pinky, thumb and wrist, three of the areas that require prolonged support to prevent carpal tunnel. If a built in rest isn’t comfortable for you, using a wrist rest or padded area to rest the wrist between games is a smart way to reduce carpal tunnel pain.
However this is something you should only worry about if you’ve tried all the methods above without any success!
What About Helpful Non-Mice?
As silly as they look, you’d be surprised how much medical evidence shows those weird braces your mom wears gardening (called fla prolite wrist splints) also help at preventing carpal tunnel.
We found the Elaxor Neoprene wrist wrap to be the most practical for gaming, as it’s way thinner than most braces on the market since it’s made out of neoprene. It works on both hands too, so you could buy one and alternate gaming with it on different hands to get a feel for how you should be positioning yourself.
If you’re a little closer to actual carpal tunnel or already find yourself in a small bit of pain or discomfort while gaming, you’ll probably want to step up to the Mueller fitted right-handed brace. It’s a bit thicker and ridgid, but that’s what you want to prevent further nerve damage! These come in different sizes, so make sure to pick the right one for you!
It’s hard to be a gamer with proper posture, but it’s almost impossible once long-term damage has set in! Getting in the habit of gaming without stressing your hand, wrist, and arms is something you’re future self will thank you for!