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Why does my neck hurt from playing video games (and how do I prevent it)?

Neck Hurts From Playing Video Games

Research estimates that approximately 150 million people in the U.S. play video games. Almost half of Americans play video games for at least three hours every week on average. The sheer volume of people who play video games for hours at a time is impressive alone. But when you couple this with the health issues that often crop up from playing video games, you get an equally impressive number of people who would benefit from visiting a physical therapy clinic for treatment.

Are you living in a virtual realm but feeling the physical consequences? A large majority of patients who play video games come into physical therapy practices complaining of neck pain. Most often, playing video games is the source of this type of pain. To read more about how video games can cause your neck to hurt, read the information provided in the sections below.

Why might my neck hurt from playing video games?

  • Poor posture — When you play video games, most often you’re not sitting up straight. Your shoulders may be hunched forward, your back curved, and your head pushed forward to see your gaming screen. This can lead to bad posture habits, which can ultimately lead to other conditions. Some of these other conditions include a herniated disc, pinched nerves, neck muscle strain, and inflammation in the muscles and ligaments of the spine and neck.
  • Joint restriction — Another reason some people say their neck hurts when playing video games is because of something called joint fixation. We have joints in the back of our neck that help keep our heads stable yet mobile. When a person plays video games for long periods of time and plays them often, a joint in their neck can become static, leading to spasms. These static joints can cause serious neck pain and limit neck range of motion. Not only this, but when one joint becomes static, the other surrounding joints are forced to make up for the limited range of motion, and this can place added pressure on someone’s neck area.

There are several other conditions that video gaming can cause or exacerbate and lead to serious neck pain. For more examples of conditions that might be hurting your neck when you play video games, read here.

What are some ways I can prevent my neck from hurting when playing video games?

If you’re experiencing neck pain related to gaming, you should consider seeking out the care of a physical therapist. Physical therapy can help train patients whose necks hurt from playing video games to correct their posture when playing so that there is less pressure placed on the spine and neck. They can help with a variety of treatments for neck conditions related to gaming. These include treatment to realign the spine, manage muscle imbalances, and build strength, flexibility, and range of motion in patients with neck pain so that they can play without suffering any further physical consequences. A physical therapist will likely work on surrounding areas in addition to the neck, to strengthen the support of the neck. This might look like doing intensive exercises for the chest, shoulders, back and abdomen. Therapy can be a great way to manage the issues you may have such as a hurt neck, while also providing you with preventive strategies so you can protect yourself against further injury when playing video games.

A great option for gaming-related neck pain treatment is virtual physical therapy. For more information on what to expect from virtual physical therapy for neck pain, read here. At Agile Virtual Physical Therapy, we have several experienced professionals who are qualified to create a personalized plan with you for at-home physical therapy exercises catered to your age and fitness level.

Why choose Agile Virtual Physical Therapy?

Agile Virtual Physical Therapy can offer more than 400 licensed clinicians. At Agile Virtual PT, we provide services in 45 U.S. states, and we also offer free virtual screenings. For more information including our many partnerships, read here.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.