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Kids Get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Repetitive Stress Injuries From Video Games. What Can Be Done ?

Posted Jun 02 2009 4:34pm

San Francisco- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI), and Tendonitis,  are some of the most common forms of neuro-muscular disorders we commonly associate with overuse syndromes. Now we have conditions like Nintendo Thumb,  Nintendonitis, and Play Station 2 Syndrome ( full story ) . Yes, even children can develop RSI and CTS. I have personally treated thousands of cases of RSI at my San Francisco Back and Wrist Pain Center. Up until recently, just about everyone was over 20 years old, which is still a rather young age to have developed RSI. But, there is a maximum amount of stress any of us can handle as far as repetitive movements are concerned. Even young, healthy children have their limits. If your child is playing video games for 3-4 hours per day, sitting in a class room for 6-7 hours (using computers), and  also engaging in regular sports related activities that require repetition, such as baseball, racquetball, or tennis, they are at risk for CTS or RSI.  So, what can you do ? Well, one of the best ways to prevent problems from happening is to only allow your children to play video games for 45 minutes or so at a time before taking a 5-10 minute rest (micro breaks). Also, proper ergonomics is very important. Ideally, your children will learn the correct way to sit at an early age. In addition, there are specific stretches/exercises that your kids can do in between games when they take their micro-breaks. Here is a link to a cool little device that can be used for this purpose.  It's a good idea to start before any problems actually present themselves. It is much more difficult to treat a problem than it is to prevent one. In fact, most of the neuro-muscular problems that adults have are rooted to childhood habits. As we parents know, all of this is easier said than done when it comes to actual implementation and compliance. But, at least we have a good starting point, some things to be on the lookout for,  and some prevention measures to consider.  It's worth the effort.

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