PS4 pain!

Didn’t know if this fits better in here or “Everything Else” but:

I have found that, after playing Witcher 3 (my current and past obsession for the last few months) on my PS4 that my right wrist, elbow, and forearm aches. A lot. I’ve never had carpal tunnel type syndrome in the past, but I think I play W3 longer at a time that I used to play other games and, perhaps more importantly, I play it differently. I’ve never been a melee player - Skyrim, for example, I played as a stealthy archer and I rarely had a lot of fast button pushing. With W3, I find myself really squeezing the controller tight with my right hand as I’m fighting, etc.

Is there any trick to avoiding this pain? Other than play less? Even as I type this, my right forearm and elbow are aching.

Could be tendonitis from repetitive stress. Wear a wrist brace while gaming and take breaks to stretch out your wrist and hand. If that doesn’t work, time to see a doctor.

You could look into getting a wrap for your arm, your local pharmacy will sell them for about $15-20 or so. Wearing it will relieve the pain from an inflamed nerve, which is mostly likely what’s going on. Ice it, take a break from using a controller for a day or two, and it should recover. You can wear the wrap while you play, if taking a rest from the controller isn’t in the cards (I know that feel). It’s probably not carpal tunnel. Try some Ibuprofen, it will also reduce swelling and allow you to heal faster.

I am not a doctor. But I’ve had that happen before, thought it was typing a lot that brought it on. It actually went away on it’s own though. I do have a wrap I can wear on my forearm, too many push-ups one day messed up something just below my elbow and wearing it helps tremendously, is why I suggested it.

EDIT - Yeah, what Stusser said, I couldn’t remember the word “tendonitis”!

I played a huge amount of Destiny and had something like this crop up. I wonder if a different layout or replacement off-brand controller would help? I’m pretty smitten with the PS4 controller, but it does tend to wear in a way the xbox doesn’t.

Step number one is to either go to a doctor or to stop playing until the pain goes away. That means “stop playing completely”, not “play a little less, and see if it goes away” or “wear a wrist brace and continue playing” or “do some stretches and continue playing”. These kinds of things are effective at avoiding RSI when you start off healthy, they will not cure it. Continuing to do whatever is causing the RSI while trying to work around the problem is a really, really, really bad idea.

I haven’t had a controller cause RSI, but did have it from typing a long time ago. Since I was a young and a total idiot, I continued on typing every day while simultaneously testing all kinds of workarounds. None of them worked, instead the pain got worse and worse. After a couple of months I was in agony 24/7, despite complete abstinence from computers. Even sleeping was a challenge. At that point I finally went to a doctor, who prescribed some industrial strength anti-inflammatory painkillers. A couple of weeks of that managed to reset the system. Only then did the stretching exercises etc. start pulling their weight.

As a current sufferer of a repetitive motion hand injury (centered specifically on my right middle finger and knuckle, which is a joke that pretty much writes itself…) all I can say is monitor it carefully. Soreness? Well, soreness is a thing that might not really be anything serious. Or it might be. Welcome to the wonderful world of “Everyone’s different.”

What I will say is this: if you’re feeling tenderness in your hand for hours afterwards, and especially if you start to notice swelling, go see a doc.

I was diagnosed last week. I have been wearing dressings with small ice gel packs in them pretty much 5 hours per day, which is a little longer than I should. Having said that, the half-golfball sized swelling on my middle right knuckle is almost down to normal now. Doctor strongly recommended no inflammatories in my case, saying he doubted their effectiveness “as a first line of treatment.” My treatment has been ice, rest, and wearing a brace that holds my hand in a “proper” resting position when I sleep. (Apparently I aggravate my injury by tending to wedge my hand into the slats of the headboard of my bed under my pillow, which is also no bueno.) Had my first check-in with an OT today and she was so pleased with the progress (despite scolding me for over-doing it a bit with the ice) that I’ve been cleared to do a bit of typing along with other exercises and hand stretches.

Oh, and oddly enough, they’ve got no problem with me playing video games. It’s my mousing behavior primarily that’s a culprit for me, typing being a close second.

Listen to those guys, they have direct experience with it.

I was getting wrist pain from playing too much Destiny. The pain went away when I turned off controller vibration. This is not medical advice.

I’ve had a similar problem when I first started using x360 pad years ago. Several years ago I started using it again more frequently after a long break but this time I haven’t experienced any pain. The only thing that changed in between was the chair that I use for gaming, it has slightly higher supports for arms and this apparently made a huge difference. If you’re gaming from a couch maybe look into getting some support for your elbows, like a harder pillow or something?

The pain is in your arm and wrist, but the problem could easily be in your shoulder (spoken as someone with experience). Give it some rest before playing again (and if the pain isn’t going away, you could have a nerve impingement that is upsetting the balance of things and making it difficult for the body to heal itself). Once you are feeling better, playing in shorter bursts is definitely a good idea, with breaks in between. Avoid binge playing for hours on end. Try not to grip the controller so tightly. beyond that, make careful note of your positioning after a few minutes (stop and evaluate without moving anything). Are you hunching your shoulders? What muscles are tense in your hands, arms, shoulders, etc? Are your elbows properly supported with your shoulders in a natural position?

On a side note, if you know a good massage therapist or chiropractor, this might be a good time to go. When I screwed up my thumb so bad working at Gamestop, and the cortisone injections and PT didn’t help, it was a customer of mine, a massage therapist, that told me the problem was in my shoulder. Doctors and PTs tend to isolate areas of the body without looking at the whole thing and with this kind of problem, the source isn’t always where the pain manifests.

Pain can be a very serious indicator, and is there for a reason. It’s very easy to develop conditions that will plague you for years if you’re not careful. It’s best to error on the side of caution. I’ve had long standing problems with RSI from both music and gaming, some of them lasting for years. Listen to what your body is telling you, pain = bad.

I realize it’s probably unhelpful to say ‘don’t squeeze so hard,’ but I think you’ve identified the culprit.

I’ve made auto-melee macros for some PC games, and they’ve saved me a lot of wear and tear (especially while playing Warframe). Is it possible to do something like that on the PS4, maybe with a third-party controller?

That’s really not always true and in all cases. Pain is definitely the way your nervous system sends warning signals to your brain, but pain is not necessarily bad or even detrimental. Ask anyone who works out vigorously. Pain, and even muscle pain in the hands, wrists, and forearms may be something as benign as new muscle groups working in different ways than they have and the muscles reporting excessive use of oxygenated blood as a new experience.

Pain is bad sometimes. Many times. But not necessarily all the time.

Stop gaming and go see the doctor. They’ll assess the condition, maybe do nerve conductivity, blood, and other tests, and suggest remedies. Everything from abstaining from what causes pain, to exercises, anti-inflamatories, nerve pain meds, surgery, etc.

Hope yours turns out to be minor that can be treated well!

After 30 years of typing / geeking way too much, I developed both cubital and carpel tunnel. Have had surgeries, on nerve pain meds, etc but is still only down to a “kind of manageable” level. Limits how long I can play, type, etc on a daily basis and means I couldn’t go back to a full time IT job if I wanted to. Don’t be me and wait 10 years since the pain only comes and goes, etc.

Get it treated now.


From someone who’s had carpal tunnel and persistent tennis elbow - deal with this immediately. A good regimen of physical therapy (teaching proper stretching) might help.

Sigh, I may have to post this in another forum, because the answer I wanted was wear this or use this on your controller and carry on. (Wink)

I am going to have Witcher 3 withdrawal pains but I got the general trend here. Thanks guys.

Hope it goes well for you!

Well, right now my wife is out having a dinner with several other wives, and it is KILLING me to not be able to fire up Witcher 3! ARGH!

My doctor recommended anti-inflammatories as part of a first line of treatment that included stretching exercises, ice and stopping the activity that caused the soreness for a time. The doctor guy on NPR on weekend mornings recommends them too. While you don’t want to mask the pain with drugs and just keep doing the activity, when you have inflammation, anti-inflammatory drugs can be very effective.

I’m sure they can, and I’m sure that they’re absolutely a first line approach in many situations. One thing my specialist informed me of, however, is that not all of these injuries are similar, and what is effective in some considerations is not effective in others. I’ll go with his advice in my case.