Tuesday, 14 April 2015

How Playing Video Games Affects Pain

  • Video games can numb pain and increase pain tolerance.
  • People get addicted to playing video games because it makes them feel pleasure.

A 29 year old male from California tore a tendon in his thumb from playing candy crush all day for 6 to 8 weeks after losing his job and he did not feel any pain till he couldn't move his thumb anymore.

An MRI scan done in the hospital later showed he had a tendon tear that would require surgical repair.

Usually a tendon tear is very painful but when people play games, they feel pleasure and excitement, and this can cause natural painkillers to be released in the body – similar to when a person experiences a ‘runner’s high’, a doctor explained.

Doctors who treated him said his case shows video games can numb people’s pain and this might be why some people play them excessively, and why some people become addicted or become injured while playing. 

Although playing video games has positive effects, limiting gaming time is necessary to maintain a healthy relationship, work and life balance.

In a previous study at Keele University, it was found that those who played violent games had an increased tolerance for pain by 65% over those who played a video golf game.

Writing in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers said the ‘painkiller effect’ of video games might have benefits in the right circumstances for pain management.

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