Dr. Jean-François Marc’s interview, rheumatologist and sport medicine physician
In their practice, what are the gamers suffering physically from ?
Positional lumbar and dorsal pains, upper limb tendinopathies (wrist, elbow, shoulder), carpal tunnel syndrome, cervicobrachial neuralgia and ulnar neuropathy at the elbow, patellofemoral pain syndrome…
During gaming tournaments:
Erythromelalgia (burning pain, warmth or redness of the extremities), dystonia of fingers (spasm and involuntary muscle contraction), trapezius pain (cervical and scapular muscle spasms on the dominant side), tension headache, eyestrain and neck pain related to uncoordinated movements between eyes, neck and shoulders)
What simple solutions do you recommend ?
For each problem there are actually natural and simple strategies which will be implemented as early as possible to avoid the switch to chronicity and prevent escalation of drug use. Without taking into account all diseases in this interview, let’s focus on the most common.
For instance, for some types of tendinopathies clinically know as tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), golf elbow (medial epicondylitis) or biceps tendinitis, Cyriax’s specific friction massage techniques (deep transverse friction (DTF) well-known among sportsmen) are very effective and sufficient when performed in the early stage of complaint onset. DTF is applied transversely to the specific tendon involved in order to break down inflammatory adhesions and stimulate tendon circulation, which enhances its own repair mechanism. These painful massages, to be effective, should be performed for 3 minutes at an interval of 48 hours to relieve the affected area and a total of 6 to 9 DTF sessions are needed. At a little bit more advanced stage, supplement foods may also facilitate the return to normal. These products usually contain zinc for tissue repair, collagen (main component of tendons) with spirulina, silicon, iron…
Some non-drug treatments may be given as both a preventive or curative treatment. After 20 years of research on short-range continuous magnetic fields (without interfering with computers), we have a full therapeutic range to control pain and restore magnetic field of human body for the affected area (let’s not forget that MRI is a technique of medical imaging making possible to view the affected area by a change in its magnetic field). There are no X-ray radiations, no contraindications, except for pacemakers…
‘Massage vigorously through the painful tendon to release local inflammatory adhesions and activate the blood flow of the tendon’
Dr. J.-F. Marc
For the carpal tunnel syndrome, the median nerve (thumb, forefinger and middle finger) is compressed as it travels through flexor tendon sheaths of fingers in the wrist area (carpus). People with CTS can experience numbness, tingling, burning, pins and needles sensations in middle fingers and thumb. They may sometimes experience excruciating pain which is often occurs at night but during gaming tournaments it can become unbearable.
Early in the disease, nerves are very sensitives when the blood supply of extremities is achieved, that’s why patients suffering from this pathology shake out or dangle the hand in the air when blood is flowing less properly because of a lying position causing venous stasis. For this nerve entrapment syndrome, it is therefore important to use vasodilator agents for improving the circulation of the vasa nervorum such as moxisylyte (3 times a day; 1+0+2) and avoiding cortisone injections (helpful at an advanced stage) and even surgery as the endoscopic neurolysis (section of the transverse carpal ligament and reduced thickness of the flexor tendon sheaths to release the nerve)
‘In carpal tunnel syndrome, the median nerve (median thumb index) is too narrow with the flexor tendon sheaths of overworked fingers’
Dr. J.-F. Marc
For pain in the spinal area due to the gamer’s prolonged static posture, if you feel persistent pain, it is crucial to resupply postural muscle ATP levels. Many safe natural health products sold over the counter and available in your drugstore may be used as a treatment for 6 or 8 weeks (e.g. Adenosine triphosphate – 3 capsules daily in the morning or Uridine triphosphate – 3 phials per day taken at one time. Adenosine triphosphate is considered to be the energy of muscle cells (Krebs cycle); it is like gas in your car. These small energetic molecules of phosphorus improve the skeletal muscle tone, especially for white postural muscles which continuously work compared to red muscles related to external environment (upper and lower limbs) which only work when they are involved. It is only when you are in a coma that back muscles do not work anymore.
If you experience persistent pains, it is obvious that a diagnosis must be made by a healthcare professional in order to not overlook other causes…
Relaxing massages associated with postural rehabilitation can prove to be valuable.
‘L’adénosine triphosphate est l’énergie de la cellule musculaire (cycle de krebs), c’est comme l’essence de la voiture. ‘
Dr. J.-F. Marc
Can we prevent it ?
It is important to drink sufficient amount of mineral water to compensate the loss by the release of ions such as magnesium and potassium) and follow a healthy diet (fresh and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables able to remove natural waste of our body as free radicals). Furthermore, attention should be paid to keep your teeth healthy for providing a protective effect with tendinitis and it is essential to regularly stretch at-risk areas. Some specific stretching exercises may be actually performed to increase the resistance of our tendons to tearing…
There are, of course, some extrinsic factors applied to the individual making this tendinitis a technopathy in case of inappropriate equipment or misuse of keyboards, mice or “player stations”.
For the carpal tunnel, it is critically important to stretch preventively the transverse carpal ligament by practicing for 20 seconds per day yoga-based exercises such as the salutation seal.
For positional rachis pain, you need to move… Moving is the best friend of your back… You need to get up, walk, relax between your video game matches even though you are participating in a big tournament…
You also need to have a regular practice of axial stretching, for instance sat down on a chair without touching the chair back, you raise both arms overhead and you interlock your fingers in order to maximally stretch your body out. Stay in this position for 5 seconds. And then while slowly exhaling, return to the starting position, relax for 5 seconds and restart 5 times this stretching exercise. Doing 1 set of 5 stretches per day is enough, requiring a maximum effort of 25 seconds. Practicing regularly stretching is the “magic bullet” solution.
It is also recommended to strengthen your spinal muscles by static training.
Lying face down at the end of the table (make sure of its stability), with the feet on the ground, holding on tightly to the table, moving up the legs horizontally, and holding the lower part of the body in a stretched position as a competitive diver. Holding the stretch for 5 seconds and slowly release by keeping the feet on the ground. Performing one set of 5 reps every day and then 10 reps.
The player station (screen and desk height, quality of the gamer’s seat …) should be assessed, if necessary, by an ergonomist in the event of posturopathy.
If you’re suffering from headaches due to eye, neck and scapula pain and tension is experienced in trapezium muscles, it is essential to coordinate eye movements with neck and shoulder movements Specific rehabilitation exercises to treat eye, neck and scapula pain are performed by physiotherapists.
Is there a specificity of physical pathologies associated with gaming practice ?
Physically, no, there is no “gamitis” because the gesture is not pathogenic in itself compared to video games which require non-physiological movements with a large amplitude resulting in atypical pain induced by this kind of practice called “wiitis” or wiifitis”. On the contrary, the gamer will be especially affected by prolonged static positions of the dominant lower limb where shoulder, elbow and wrist form a single unit, allowing the hand to control optimally gaming mice with hyper-fast scrolling.
However, the competitive gamer needs to follow, like a high-level athlete, an intense and regular physical training and, if possible, carefully supervised by a skilled coach.
Trainings based on a multisensory approach are the special nature of gaming practice.
Let us not forget that a gamer is an “eye, a brain and a hand” and his speed of reaction time as well as his accuracy with a high number of action per minutes depend on the effective coordination of these three organs.
That’s why it is important to do whatever it takes to maintain these wonderful sensory human tools because they deserve a particular attention and they will avoid developing the most common medical problems such as the overuse or overload syndrome also known as musculoskeletal disorders in the occupational medicine language.
When a gamer is physically weakened or gets sick, it’s the whole team that getting hurt so a highly professional sportsman must be capable of taking full responsibility with respect to his teammates and being award of his personal health.
To be a gamer is to also have the capacity of representing his teammates in a 3D spatio-temporal background, the optimal perception of sound and use an encrypted oral communication in the team. A gamer is a multisensory human being who optimizes instantaneously and for a long period all his senses and is exposed to the risk of exhaustion with breakdown, burnout and addiction problems. But the aim of BlackMice.org will be to mention all these risks and show how we can prevent them.