BRANCHBURG – This holiday season many families and individuals will un-wrap their gifts to find interactive video games, like Nintendo’s Wii System waiting for them. The Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC) advises all potential users of these games to be conscious of the fact that just like engaging in real competition and exercise programs, they can suffer health problems from using these games.
“As people engage in these games they will be bending and twisting their back, reaching out with their arms and legs with rapid shore fire motions, or staying in one position for a long time, which can lead to health problems” said ANJC member, Dr. Neil Kosin of Kosin Family Chiropractic in Freehold.
“These interactive games are known to be addictive. If players become engrossed with activity for extended intervals they can inflame their muscles and joints. Unlike the real activity that involves physical strength, endurance and training many gamers participate in these activities as ‘weekend warriors’ and can develop tendinitis and other stress-related problems.”
In fact, “Wiiitis” a condition coined by Dr. Julio Bonis a family medical practitioner in Madrid in June 2007 examined the effect of right shoulder tendinitis in a medical resident that had been playing Nintendo tennis for several hours at a time. In 2004, the medical journal Lancet and the South African Medical Journal wrote about a condition known as Playstation Thumb, a condition caused by the excessive use of the thumb by children playing video games.
So before playing interactive tennis or bowling, or jamming on your imaginary guitar, what can you do to make your interactive video game experience an enjoyable and pain free one?
Here are a few general pointers the ANJC encourages users of all ages to adhere to:
- Use common sense before engaging in interactive gaming. These games simulate the same muscle groups that are used in the actual sport. Never perform the activity cold. Always allow a few minutes for warm up period applying basic stretches to the following muscle groups: neck, back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, trunk, legs, thigh, hamstrings and calves.
- For example in Wii tennis besides utilizing the shoulder you are using the muscle groups in your wrist and hand especially the one holding the remote. Don’t hold the remote in one hand for extended time period. Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) may develop.
- In Wii bowling, keep in mind you are utilizing your back and knees as well. It is important to cool down with additional stretching. If you experience pain at any time discontinue the activity.
- Finally, if you have any orthopedic or medical issues consult your health care professional for further guidance prior to engaging in these activities.
- Moderation is the key. Overuse can lead to injuries. If you experience pain during or after playing the game, you’ve probably played too long.
For additional information visit the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors’ website at www.njchiropractors.com.
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