I am sure you have been here too? The new video game is out and you are looking forward to a few hours of discovering new worlds and the challenge of fighting your way through the next level. But suddenly the back hurts, you just can’t sit comfortably anymore, never mind how you slide around on the chair. Your gaming performance and the fun subsides?
It’s not just gamers, anyone who sits in a bad posture on bad furniture suffers back problems. This can start in school where the chairs are too small or too big, in the office, at the university, back pain seems to be part of everyday life.
What causes back pain from Gaming?
Every esports enthusiast knows the problem, an hour of video game quickly turns into a five-hour session without not getting up once. In today’s life, the average person spends over 13 hours sitting. Moving around, exercising, and other physical activities are often reduced to a bare minimum.
How can back pain be prevented?
There are essentially three causes that cause back pain in gamers
- Wrong gaming chair
- Poor posture
- Lack of movement
Why does the wrong chair cause back pain?
Many people have the opinion that the kind of chair is not so important as long as one feels to sit comfortably. However, this is only in part true. Back pain is often caused by a bad cheap chair that is not ergonomically designed. This leads to poor posture when sitting and stresses the back muscles which then tense and hurt. Unfortunately, it takes a while to notice that.
What features should a gaming chair have?
A good gaming chair must above all be suitable for long-term sitting. When buying a chair, it is essential that the chair is selected in the correct size and according to the bodyweight of the player.
In addition, the chair should have the following features
- Ergonomically designed
- Adjustable backrest with headrest
- Lumbar support
- Multi-adjustable armrests
The design of the chair is extremely important. Chair design must take into account the anatomical peculiarities of the human body and the stresses and the burdens of sitting of longtime sitting.
A good gamer chair should have an adjustable backrest, adjustable headrest, and fully adjustable, padded armrests. A lumbar support system that supports the lower back and gives support is essential. This is what modern ergonomically designed chairs are intended to do.
What are ergonomically-designed chairs?
Ergonomics is the science of human work. The term ergonomics is made up of the Greek words ‘ergon’ (work) and ‘nomos’ (law). This means adapting working conditions to people and not the other way around. The aim is to create a good working atmosphere and to design the conditions in such a way that the health impact is as low as possible.
When it comes to the ergonomic design of a ‘work chair’ (an office chair or gaming chair is a kind of tool), maintaining productivity and health are the primary concern. If both are achieved, the physical burden on the body is reduced to an absolute minimum while maintaining wellbeing, concentration, and performance.
This does not mean that one can sit forever in a chair without getting up. Proper posture and regularly getting up and moving around a bit, is part of ergonomic sitting.
Back problems due to incorrect posture?
Even the best chair cannot prevent back pain if you don’t sit properly in the chair. A chair that fits the size of the user can only be supportive if you use the chair properly, which means everything needs to be optimally adjusted.
Make use of the seat pan, sit far back in it so that your lower back is in contact with the lumbar support. Let your back lean against the backrest, adjust the armrests correctly. But it doesn’t stop here, the desk, screen, and all the peripherals must be set up correctly.
What happens when sitting in an incorrect posture?
Everyone knows the warning signals that the body sends out. Tensions in your back, neck, and shoulder area are just the first signals that must be recognized as such. Other warning signals may appear in the form of headaches, dizziness, and a blurred field of vision. When permanently ignored further problems may follow.
Physiologically, the body is put into a rest phase while sitting. This results in the body slowing down the cardiovascular system, the whole metabolism slows down and calorie consumption drops. If this phase becomes the norm, the body will respond and unused muscule and organs will be “downsized”. The whole body becomes weaker. You will notice it when you use stairs and are out of breath after two floors.
Weak muscles lead to poor sitting and you start to slouch in the chair. In the initial stage, doctors speak of poor posture. In the long term, however, this leads to irreversible changes in the intervertebral discs or deformation of the skeleton.
Correct posture and working out
To avoid back problems, two things are absolutely essential.
- A really good ergonomically designed chair that supports your body
- Regularly getting up, walking around a bit, and stretching to tone the back muscles and keep them flexible
I know sometimes it’s really difficult to interrupt an exciting game, but you should try to make it a rule. Fortunately, there is a need to go to the toilet every now and then or go to the kitchen to get a drink or some food.
So if you are a bit lazy doing physical sports and working out, then the best thing you can do is to invest in a good chair.
Only the best chairs will do…
Take a look at the chairs in a modern office? There is nothing cheap around there, just well-designed ergonomic workplaces to maintain the productivity of the employees. Take a look at esports events where it is all about winning the often insanely high price money. Only the best gaming chairs are there. This is the only way that professional esports players can perform at their best for many hours.
The best gaming chairs are not only beautifully designed but are also tailored to the ergonomics of the player.
What’s a good gaming chair?
There are more and more chairs on the market, every week there seems a new player to hit the scene. Unfortunately, not all may hold up their promise, even if they look very nice at first glance. On closer inspection and often only after some time of use, one or more shortcomings in quality and features may emerge.
For a really good gaming chair that is ergonomically designed, robust, and of high quality, you have to dig deeper into your pocket. To get the right gaming chair, you should pay particular attention to a few features and selection criteria.
The ergonomic design is probably the most important feature when choosing a new gaming chair as an incorrect sitting position can be responsible for many things. Dynamic sitting (varying sitting positions) is what modern ergonomic chairs support.
A modern chair needs to be individually adjustable to the wishes and physical requirements of the user.
Obviously, the seat height must be adjustable, as is the height and position of the armrests. Seat angle adjustment and an adaptable seat depth add greatly to the comfort. The seat depth should be set so that the lower back touches the backrest, while the backs of the knees are two fingers’ width free from the seat edge. This ensures adequate blood circulation in the lower legs. An adjustable backrest together with a lumbar support system is important to support a proper posture of the hip.
Regarding the quality of gaming chairs, it is as with everything. You get what you pay for. The market is very competitive and there are a whole lot, I want to put it diplomatically, very cheap products that are advertised with high performance and high-quality materials, and so on. But, there is no ‘high quality under 100 dollars in the world of gaming chairs. Good chairs start at 300 dollars.
Anyone who has once sat in a cheap chair and then sits down in a seat in the ‘upper’ price range, will notice the difference right away. There is no wondering why an esports enthusiast who sits in a good, individually adjusted seat will perform better than someone who has to struggle with an uncomfortable cheap chair.
Tips for the correct posture in front of the computer
But even sitting in the best gaming chair will require some discipline to prevent back pain from gaming.
- Adjust the seat height so feet touch the floor completely
- Your knees should be level with your hips
- Sit straight with your back resting against the backrest
- Push your hips back as far as possible
- Feel the lumbar support in your lower back
- The armrests should be adjusted so that shoulders are relaxed
- Hands and wrists should be straight in line with the desk
- If you get back pain, give yourself a longer break – even if it is difficult
- Change your seating position in between, slouch, lean further back, lean forward…
- Get up in between and take a few steps – sometimes that’s enough to relieve pain
- If you feel strain in your muscles or have a tight neck, let your shoulders circle to loosen up muscles
- If you have any complaints, you should definitely see your doctor!
Give your body a rest from sitting and screen time. Every hour or so, take a short break, get up, stretch, get some fresh air. Gaming should be fun, and if you don’t overdo it then it has many advantages and might actually be good for us.