Did you ever wonder, "why does my gaming chair hurt my back"?
When gaming enthusiasts suffer from back pain, they sometimes assume it is due to the fact that they’ve been playing for long periods of time without a break.
The truth is, there is much more that you might be doing wrong if you have back pain and you play a lot of video games.
The good news is that once you know what these things are, you can easily remedy them and start suffering with a lot less back pain so you can enjoy your hobby again.
Let's get started!
Does Your Gaming Chair Matter?
Your gaming chair matters because it has to accommodate you and allow you to have relaxed muscles and a spine that is properly aligned as you play. If you have the right chair, you shouldn’t feel any sort of pain or discomfort. If you do, it usually means that something is wrong. Gaming chairs are specifically made to sit and play for long periods of time and still be comfortable. Before we get into details about what to do if you’re experiencing pain while gaming, let’s take a look at the four main factors that can contribute to that pain. They are:
- The size of your gaming chair
- Your usage of the chair’s ergonomic features
- Your habits while you sit at the workstation
- The overall lifestyle that you practice
Now, we’ll be taking a look at each of these areas in more detail.
1. The Size of Your Gaming Chair
The size of your gaming chair has to fit your own size. If the chair is too small or too large, that’s when the problems creep in. The two things you’ll want to keep in mind when you sit in your gaming chair is that your feet should rest flat on the floor, and you should sit up in a straight position so that your spine is straight. Gaming chairs usually come with size ratings, and you’ll need to pay attention to those because each rating is recommended for a certain height range.
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If your gaming chair comes with lumbar support for your back and either a headrest or footrest (or both), make sure you use them. Keep in mind that these features are there to force you to sit in a certain way; in other words, the right way. For example, if you are 5’2” or smaller, you won’t want a desk that is made for the 5’3” to 5’11” size range. Your feet should never dangle, and never curl your back as you’re sitting in the chair and playing your video games.
2. Your Usage of the Chair’s Ergonomic Features
Gaming chairs are always ergonomically designed, and this is a feature you should insist upon. If you’re short and your legs are too short for your chair, you can add an ergonomic footrest so that you can keep your feet flat on the ground and sit taller as you play. Choose a neutral sitting position and use the lumbar support for lower back alignment and the armrests so they can absorb the weight of your limbs. Never sit like a banana peel, but instead tuck in your hips and scoot your butt deep into the seat so your hips don’t curl forward.
If your hips are not slightly higher than your knees, adjust the seat height until they are like this. Your feet should be flat on the floor and around shoulder-width apart. The lumbar support should place slight pressure into the small of your lower back, and you should push up with your feet and lean your body weight into the backrest of the chair. You’ll also want to change positions every few minutes for even better results. You can always alternate between sitting upright while using the back muscles and leaning against the backrest.
If you can, get up and walk around for a minute or two every 20 minutes so that your body doesn’t stay in the same position for too long.
3. Your Habits While You Sit at the Workstation
Anytime you suffer with stiffness, pain, or general discomfort, you should check your movements and analyze your break routines. Switching up your sitting position and taking frequent breaks, along with making sure you have the right type of gaming chair, all contribute to how comfortable you are while playing your video games. The best part about obeying all of these suggestions is that when you do get back to your games, you’ll feel refreshed and comfortable, and ready for whatever the video games bring to you.
But assessing your movements and your habits is the first thing you need to do. Ask yourself if you’re sitting properly and doing the things you’re supposed to do to be comfortable and as pain-free as possible. If you’re not, it’s not too late to change and start doing things the right way.
4. The Overall Lifestyle That You Practice
This may sound funny, but it’s good if you think of gaming as a sport. This is because just like many other activities, this one is much easier to do if you’re healthy. If you get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise regularly, you’ll be able to handle spending hours at a time in front of a gaming computer. Being healthy is a full-time commitment, and once you’ve decided to do all of the things you need to do to stay healthy, you’ll feel better 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including the times that you spend gaming.
Practical Steps You Can Take to Experience Less Pain
Although choosing the right gaming chair is important for comfort when you’re gaming, there are still a few things you can do to help out even more. After all, simply buying a good quality gaming chair may not end all of the problems you’re having with pain. There are still things you can do on your own, such as the suggestions mentioned earlier, that will help a lot. Here are a few more suggestions to consider:
- Check the sizing of your chair. You may need a smaller or bigger chair, or you may need a footrest. The seat may also be too deep for your legs.
- Make sure you move around as you play and take frequent breaks.
- Make sure you sit correctly. Again, keep those feet planted on the ground and make sure your chair height and desk height are synced so they match.
Although it may sound a little odd, make sure you keep yourself well-hydrated the entire time you play. Drink lots of water so your body can respond well while you’re sitting in that chair for hours at a time. A little common sense goes a long way when it comes to experiencing less pain while you’re gaming.
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Back pain is not that uncommon when you’re into gaming and you spend a lot of time on this hobby, but that doesn’t mean you have to just suffer with it. The good news is that once you pinpoint the source of the pain, it’s very simple to do something about it. Sitting correctly, taking frequent breaks, and keeping yourself healthy is a great way to start, but take a look at the gaming chair you’re using first because that’s where most back pain problems seem to come from.