Pokemon GO has hit the nation by storm with it’s interactive gaming concept, it’s difficult to spend more than a few minutes outdoors without seeing someone slowly passing by, eyes glued to their phone. The game allows users to live out their 1996 dreams of “catching ’em all” by traveling around the map to collect as many of the fictional creatures as possible. It’s also next to impossible to play the game without traveling. The farther users move, the wider variety of Pokemon they will encounter.
The app has been extremely successful, and critics are praising the game for its clear benefit of encouraging users to get out of the house and exercise. However, many users have reported negative health effects caused by use of the app. Unsurprisingly, several of these complaints mention sore legs and fatigue, which are likely side effects of exercise. Another common injury is neck pain caused by poor posture. The term ‘text neck’ has become a popular term for those who suffer from cervical spine pain when looking downward at their phones in a forward flexed posture.
By taking breaks from Pokemon GO throughout the day and practicing exercises, you will be better positioned to become a Pokémon master without compromising your posture. Perhaps try to counteract looking down at your smartphone for long periods of time, by simply starting to look up. This neck-stretching exercise requires you to tilt your head back, which encourages better posture. However, It is important that you don’t stretch too far back, doing so can result in pain or a strain on your neck. Since the shoulders, chest and back can all be impacted by ‘text neck’, it is essential to practice exercises that will open up these muscles as well. Try a simple shoulder blade squeeze. Pull your chest back by squeezing your shoulder blades together when standing up, your shoulders should pull back and your chest should open up. Repeating this approximately 30 times once or twice a day should help keep those muscles stimulated.
The moral of the story is take care of your body; not only will it serve you well in the digital world but it may come in handy in real life as well! If you are feeling pain in your neck and through your shoulders that may be more serious, and not necessarily Pokemon related, schedule an initial evaluation with a physical therapist. They can recommend a broad range of exercises that will help you get on the road to recovery.
Weingus, Leigh. “People Are Getting Injured Playing Pokémon Go, And Physical Therapists Are Taking It Very Seriously.” MindBodyGreen. N.p., 19 July 2016. Web. 21 July 2016.
Sutherland, Sarah. “Pokemon Go: The Hazards of Catching ’em All.” Advance Healthcare Network. N.p., 20 July 2016. Web. 21 July 2016.