Physical Injuries From Video Games in Adolescents

Physical injuries from video games in adolescents are less common than psychosocial ones, but they're still very important.
Physical Injuries From Video Games in Adolescents

Last update: 22 January, 2022

The physical injuries from video games in adolescents tend to go unnoticed or simply aren’t taken into account. At least not to the same extent as psychosocial problems.

However, both the psychosocial and the physical aspects are of enormous relevance at this stage. And this’s why, as a mother, you should be as aware as you can of the possible symptoms that your children may have.

One of the greatest hobbies in the world is video games and children develop a taste for them from the time they’re young. In fact, this type of entertainment is now much easier to access as video games are available on consoles, mobile devices, and computers. In addition, there are all kinds. However, this great versatility also increases the likelihood that teens will be injured if they use them constantly.

Below, we’ll share with you the warning signs that you should be aware of in order to keep your children from suffering negative consequences regarding their health.

Control in video games

Thanks to the easy access to video games today, your job as a mother is to pay close attention to the time your kids spend using electronic devices.

It’s not a question of banning them outright, as this can cause certain problems with your children as well. However, controlling schedules and the type of games they use is a fundamental contribution on your part.

At the same time, it’s important to respect their tastes and the choice of their hobbies. So, the best thing is to try to reach an agreement between the two of you.

Physical injuries from video games

Despite respecting their choices regarding the type of hobbies they pursue, you need to be aware of the signs of physical injuries from video games. This increasingly frequent problem among adolescents is due to the inappropriate use of screen devices.

We’re going to talk to you about the most common physical injuries associated with video games. Take note!

A child playing a virtual reality video game.

1. Carpal tunnel syndrome

Among teens who play video games, the most likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome are those who play on the computer. This is due to constant and excessive pressure on the wrists, especially on the dominant hand that uses the mouse.

The carpal tunnel is a space located inside the wrist, through which the median nerve and nine muscle tendons pass. As the ligament that covers it becomes inflamed, the cavity narrows, and the structures contained within it are compressed.

It usually manifests itself as severe, intermittent pain in the hand, wrist, or forearm. Likewise, tingling or numbness may appear in these areas. If the intensity of the pain is high, the function of the hand may be severely affected.

2. Shoulder tendonitis

Shoulder tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons that insert into this joint. This disease has various causes and one of them is poor posture when playing video games.

Although it’s not one of the most common physical injuries associated with video games, it can appear in adolescents who maintain this habit.

This problem arises due to incorrect postures of the torso, especially at the shoulder level. Generally, these are usually slouched forward and downward and are accompanied by a pronounced curvature in the dorsal area.

Shoulder tendinitis causes pain, inflammation, and lack of strength in the upper limbs, and even the inability to perform certain household tasks.

3. Torticollis

Torticollis is characterized by  an involuntary contraction of the neck muscles, which is caused by poor posture sustained for a long time.

This condition usually manifests itself just after waking up, due to the incorrect positioning of the head on the bed or pillow. However, the inappropriate postures that are adopted when using mobile phones or video game consoles also favor its appearance.

The most common symptoms of torticollis are neck pain and difficulty moving the head. Usually, the discomfort occurs on one side, but there are cases in which both sides of the neck are affected.

4. Cervicalgia or neck pain

Neck pain is one of the most common physical injuries caused by video games in adolescents. Generally speaking, it appears regardless of the device used to play the game.

The pain arises from poor shoulder, back, or neck posture. It doesn’t matter if your head is tilted up or down, you’ll most likely experience this type of discomfort.

Pain is generally felt in the cervical and thoracic spine. At other times, it’s so strong that it radiates to the arms or causes headaches.

Are there other physical injuries from video games?

Most physical injuries from video games are associated with the poor posture that adolescents adopt while playing, as well as the excess time they spend on this activity. It’s important to note that when the body adopts a posture for a long time, it begins to manifest certain difficulties.

However, it’s worth mentioning that there are also physical injuries not associated with body posture, such as eye irritation, blurred vision, or poor sleep. All of this is associated with prolonged exposure to screens or bright lights.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.