GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Finding ways to occupy your time during social distancing can be tough. For kids and teens that often means spending hours gaming, but all that time playing for the big win could end up being a real pain in the neck.
Like many kids Deb Bickers boys play a lot of video games, sometimes 3 to 4 hours at a time, "Their favorite is probably Minecraft and then Star Wars Battlefront."
It only took a few weeks of constant gaming before Bickers noticed a change in one of her sons. "Our youngest Colton would start to do a funky neck motion he'd kinda go like this and I was like oh this is not good," Bickers said.
Dr. Rebecca Deyo is a chiropractor for Hartman Family Chiropractic in Jenison. She specializes in adjustments for children. She says these types of injuries from gaming are on the rise in kids.
"They tend to not only have neck pain but right where the neck meets the upper back, I'd say that's the number one area we see problems with," Dr. Deyo explained.
But Dr. Deyo says neck pain isn't the only complaint from gamers like Colton and his brother. "Things like shoulder issues, tendinitis, cubital tunnel syndrome of the elbow, a lot of wrist issues, and of course the thumb in and of itself."
After an assessment, Dr. Deyo made adjustments to both of the Bickers boys. She said fortunately, kids often respond pretty quickly to the chiropractic adjustments, “You’re looking at about 2-4 weeks on average depending on the severity of the injury."
Deb Bickers said she was surprised how fast she saw a difference in Colton, “Within a few weeks Colton's neck was back to normal which was wonderful."
"He doesn't complain at all now he has full motion of his neck he didn't there for a while he couldn't turn his head all the way," she explained.
Deb says now she limits her sons gaming to an hour or two a day to make sure they don't end up with another pain in the neck. Because of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order you'll have to wait schedule an appointment with a chiropractor.
Here are a few tips to prevent injuries at home:
- Don't let your kids lay down and look up at the TV, it puts strain on the neck. Instead have them sit on a couch or chair so they are level with the TV or gaming console.
- For those of us working from home, make sure the upper third of your laptop or computer screen is level with your eyes. You'll be looking slightly downward, but this will help to prevent the tension that builds up in your neck.
- Stretch once an hour.
Try these stretching exercising to reduce neck tension:
1. Raise both your arms straight in front of you until they are at chest height. Make sure your arms touch.
2. Turn your palms up so they face the ceiling. The pinky fingers on each hand should now touch.
3. With palms still facing the ceiling, slowly open-up your chest by separating your pinkies and moving each arm towards the wall behind you. At the end of the move, your thumbs should be facing the wall behind you.
4. Try and make your thumbs touch behind you this will force you into a deeper stretch. As you try and get your thumbs to touch behind you, gently exhale to get a slightly deeper stretch.
1. Place both arms by your sides so that your fingertips face the ground. Imagine there's a light weight dangling from each of your hands, pulling your trapezoid muscles down.
2. Gently turn your head from side to side while keeping your arms at your sides with those imaginary weights pulling your arms toward the floor.
3. Gently exhale with each head turn
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