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Risks of Poor Gaming Posture

05 October 2023

PC gamers that use a setup with a keyboard and mouse must maintain good posture. That is not to say that posture is not essential when using a controller. It's just that using a keyboard and mouse requires gamers to sit upright, while controller users can recline their seats. However, maintaining poor posture throughout your gaming sessions when sitting upright can lead to various health issues and worse performance than when sitting ergonomically. This article highlights the risks of poor gaming posture and explains what you can do to help reduce those risks.

Risks of Poor Gaming Posture

Below are some risks of poor gaming posture that you must know. These risks can be easily prevented if you fix your posture and make it a habit to follow good ergonomics. Ergonomics is when you maximize efficiency and comfort by setting up your equipment in an ideal way. With that said, here are the risks and potential fixes.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common postural ailments of sitting at your gaming seat for too long. If you don't try fixing it, the ailment can become a chronic problem. As a result, you may have to reduce your gaming time or stop playing completely until you get better. That can become especially problematic for professional gamers who play in paid competitions.

Dangling your feet can also lead to lower back pain

Posture Adjustments You Can Make to Solve This Issue

The first thing is to set your ergonomic gaming chair in the right way. The height and seat reclining position will vary based on your comfort and body. That said, here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Adjust your seat height so that your feet are flat on the ground. Lower your seat if only your toes are touching the floor. At the same time, look at the position of your thighs. Your thighs should be about parallel to the floor (if you look at your profile). It's also acceptable if your knees are slightly lower than your hips. Increase your seat height if your feet are flat on the floor, but your knees are higher than your hips. You can also look at the angle of your knees. They should be at about 90 degrees. Positioning your seat in this way will also help reduce strain on your knees. This is because you are higher off the floor with less bending in your knees than when sitting lower, reducing strain on your knees when you get up from your seat.

2. Another thing to keep in mind is that your feet should be just under your knees. Placing them forward or backward will increase or decrease the angle of your knees, which can become problematic. This is also because your feet won't support your body.

3. You should also ensure that you let both of your thighs rest against the seat's cushion. So, avoid sitting with your legs crossed because that can lead to muscle imbalances, which may lead to a common condition among gamers known as lower crossed syndrome.

Pain in Your Hips and Lower Back

It's important to understand that all of it is connected. When you compromise one part of your posture, you're going to cause problems in another part of your body as well. Also, your lower back and hips are closely connected. Hip-related problems can also lead to issues such as sciatica or lower crossed syndrome.

Posture Adjustments You Can Make to Solve This Issue

Sit fully back into your seat. You may be tempted to sit at the edge of your seat during an intense match, but that can compromise your lumbar support, resulting in hip and lower back pain. Thus, there should be no space between your lower back and the chair's backrest.

Upper and Lower Back Pain

Examine the position of your back when you're gaming. If you're slouching, with your back bent forward, then you have poor posture. This position is also known as rounded shoulders, with your chin pushed forward. You could also start to experience upper crossed syndrome if you don't start making postural changes immediately.

Posture Adjustments You Can Make to Solve This Issue

Sit back in your seat completely, with your entire back resting against the backrest. Make sure that you're sitting upright as well to prevent your back from creating rounded shoulders. If you have a high-quality gaming chair like the GC2 from FlexiSpot, you'll also get the opportunity to adjust the backrest's reclining angle. The ideal range you should consider when gaming with a mouse and keyboard is between 100 degrees and 110 degrees. Setting your seat at 90 degrees can be uncomfortable, putting some strain on your lower back as you'll struggle to maintain an upright position. Moreover, at 90 degrees, you may increase your chances of rounding your shoulders.

One factor that may be overlooked but is crucial to minimize and eliminate the risks of poor gaming posture is to sit close enough to your ergonomic gaming desk. If you sit too far from your desk, you may lean forward to adequately reach your mouse and keyboard. The best way to find the best distance is to ensure that your elbows are at about 90 degrees when you have one hand on your keyboard and the other on your mouse (at a neutral position).

Mouse Shoulder

If you have a chair that does not have armrests or adjustable armrests, you may start to experience mouse shoulder. This condition is a term used for gamers who do not have support for their elbows when they're gaming. Therefore, they use their shoulder muscles to hold up their arms and use their mice. This condition can lead to significant shoulder pain in the long term, which can prevent you from playing for a considerable period.

Posture Adjustments You Can Make to Solve This Issue

The best way to fix this issue is to buy an ergonomic chair for gaming that has adjustable armrests. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get such a feature. The GC2 gaming chair linked above allows you to raise or lower your armrests so that your elbows always have the necessary support.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that you should place your mouse and keyboard shoulder-width apart. So, your keyboard arm should be at your shoulder position when your fingers rest on the keys WASD. At the same time, ensure that your mouse, when resting, is right in front of your shoulder. This way, you'll improve your overall mouse movement and allow your arm to rest on your armrest. This tip will also help prevent the risk of gamer's thumb, a condition that develops when you bend your hand toward your thumb or pinky finger.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Mouse Elbow

Carpal tunnel syndrome and mouse elbow are two very different conditions. However, we have grouped them together because one postural change can help fix reduce the risk of both conditions. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when your wrists are flexed upward when you're using your keyboard or mouse. Thus, this position can swell your wrist muscles and push against your nerves, causing pain in your wrists. Permanent nerve damage can occur if left untreated.

Mouse elbow is when you rest only your elbows on your armrests instead of your entire forearms. Staying in that position for long can cause pain in that area of your arm.

Posture Adjustments You Can Make to Solve This Issue

You need to ensure that your wrists sit straight when you're using your mouse or keyboard. Therefore, your wrists should be at the same level or slightly lower than your elbows. Moreover, your forearms should be parallel to the floor or slightly bent downward. So, keep your elbows at about 90 degrees to 100 degrees. You may need to adjust the height of your ergonomic gaming desk to do so.

Something to Note about Furniture

It's always a good idea to invest in a high-quality ergonomic gaming chair that can help provide you with the foundation to maintain great posture. You must remember that you should avoid taking risks regarding your health. Thus, an excellent chair that is of high quality, has great features, and is affordable can be a fantastic long-term investment.

Final Thoughts

Knowing the risks of poor gaming posture shows you why you must make a change in your sitting position as soon as possible. by doing so, you'll play better and feel better.

You should also keep some other ergonomic tips in mind that can help. For example, you should take frequent breaks when playing. You should also make it a habit to stand up every 30 minutes, place your hands on your glutes, and push forward. This way, you'll help stretch your lower back and decompress your spine.