Gamer’s Fact or Fiction: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The growth of the popularity of video game consoles and the rise of high-tech gaming laptops has brought the affliction of the carpal tunnel syndrome to the public. A common condition contracted by people who perform assembly line work like manufacturing, sewing, cleaning, and food packing, the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve, one of the largest nerves running from the forearm to the hand, gets compressed at the wrist. This nerve controls sensations and movements in the palm side of the fingers and thumbs, including the small muscles in the hand. In CTS, the tissue of the carpal tunnel surrounding the median nerve becomes inflamed and compresses the nerve, resulting to numbness, pain, or weakness in the hand and/or wrist.

While studies have not confirmed nor denied that prolonged playing of video games increases the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome among gamers, there is enough proof that long sessions of playing have contributed to an increase in hand injuries. Although, it must be said that people who play a lot of video games or spend a lot of time on the computer aren’t really putting themselves under more risk than those who do other kinds of work. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you can spend all your time playing for reasons that go beyond CTS. Long periods of playing video games are not healthy whether it contributes to CTS or not.

Can Gaming Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Despite the small chance of getting CTS solely from hours of gaming, several other factors contribute in developing this condition: age, obesity, diabetes, pregnancy, thyroid problems and activities that stresses the hand. Moreover, women are more likely to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than men. The combination of all these factors plus additional wrist and hand stress could just be enough to develop CTS, so why risk it?

If you suspect that you might have CTS, symptoms usually start from frequent burning and tingling numbness in the palm of the hand and fingers, specifically the thumb, index, and middle fingers. This pain maybe very pronounced even without any visible swelling. Symptoms worsen over time and can be described by decreased grip strength and difficulty to perform manual tasks. In chronic cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb become useless across time. Early detection is important to avoid irreparable damage to the median nerve. Treatments for the condition range from prescription drugs, exercises, therapies, and in worst cases, surgery.

So, for now, gamers might dismiss the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as a myth because studies have not yet proven prolonged gaming as a main cause for the condition. Nonetheless, developments in technology and further studies could just prove otherwise. Surely, you would not want to be among the first to prove CTS for gamers as an absolute truth. Better be safe than sorry!

5 Ways to a Gamer’s Heart

Falling for a gamer or even being with one seems really cool. But if you are not really into games, admiring or being with one can be a bit challenging. Of course, there is this dilemma of not being able to fully understand him and his interests. What if you cannot really understand where he is coming from? What if you cannot follow?

What you don’t really have to worry about is the fact that you are not really into computer games. Even if the person you like is a hardcore gamer, there are some particular ways through which you can connect with him and soon find a way to his heart. And here they are:

Winning a Gamer's Heart

1) Open your mind.

Fine – gaming is not really for everyone. But if you really want to win a gamer’s heart, you better open your mind and embrace the possibilities. Do not set your mind and tell yourself that there’s no way you are ever going to be into gaming. And instead of dismissing gaming as a waste of time, try to think of it as something else, as a passion or even an expertise perhaps. Widen your perceptions! Also, it would be helpful for you to also get to know the benefits of gaming. With sincere curiosity, try to discover the love gamers have for gaming.

2) Try to understand.

Sometimes, it’s quite easy for an outsider to judge the members of a particular group. When you don’t know much about what they do and the reason behind their actions, it can be difficult for us to hold our biases and prejudices. Often times, this is the issue between gamers and non-gamers. Non-gamers have the tendency to judge gamers most especially if they do not appreciate even a single thing about gaming. Some even dismiss their interest as a pointless “addiction.” This, of course, is offensive on a gamer’s part. So, if you want to get close to a gamer, make sure that you never judge him even if you don’t really appreciate what he is into. Instead, try to understand him. Think of him as a person who loves their craft the same way musicians love their music.

3) Show some interest.

Just because you are not into a particular hobby or sport does not mean you cannot be interested in it in any way. So even if you are not really into playing such games, let him feel that you are eager to know even a little about it to have an idea of what it is all about. It is a simple way of telling him that you are interested in every aspect of his humanity.

Gamer Couple

4) Do not be jealous.

The thing is, in some relationships, computer games create conflict. This is because computer games are usually time consuming and, well, pretty addictive. It is usually hard for anyone to stop a particular hobby once he has developed the necessary skills. Or once he’s acquired that special item. Or once he’s reached that certain level. You get the point. Instead of expressing jealously towards the game, try to involve yourself in his quests. Who knows? It could be your next ultimate bonding.

5) Be supportive.

Do not ever say he is just wasting his time. Never antagonize him for being so fond of games. Support the guy for Pete’s sake! Show him that you appreciate his interest and talent when it comes to gaming. When he wipes the entire enemy team by himself, cheer for him! When he makes the game-winning shot, congratulate him! If his controller gets busted, give him a new one! Oh, trust me. He’ll love it.

Sometimes, computer games seem to belong to a different realm, most especially from the point of view of a non-gamer. This is the reason why non-gamers appear to be alienating at times. And yes, it is not easy for non-gamers to deal with this fact. But to think of it, such a dilemma can actually be resolved if people are patient enough to understand them. So, if you are ever planning to get close to a gamer, make a way to his heart by being there for him. Open your mind! Try to understand him and his passion; show him that you are interested to know more about his world. If you can do it, surely, you can win his heart.