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When The “Hand Of God” Breaks...

Starcraft Broodwar is one of the most popular real-time strategy video games of all time, and was one of the first video game titles to spearhead the esports revolution.

Its meteoric rise in the early to mid 2000s gave birth to pro-gaming as a profession in South Korea and transformed Korea into the Mecca of esports.

Starcraft Broodwar: A popular real-time strategy game

Lee “Flash” Young Ho stood tallest among the rest and is widely regarded as the greatest Starcraft Broodwar gamer of all-time. His complete dominance over the competition led casters and fans alike to bestow him with the nickname “God”.

Flash is widely regarded as Starcraft’s GOAT

Flash was well-loved and respected, not only for his brilliant strategies and complete mastery over the game, but also for his incredible “micro-management” skills and high APM (actions per minute - a metric used in video gaming to measure one’s dexterity with the keyboard and mouse)

However, tens of hours of practice each day, together with inhuman APMs in the 300s, came at a heavy price.

Despite Flash being in KT Rolster, one of the biggest esports organizations in Korea, with a huge 6-figure annual salary and access to top coaches and sports doctors, repeated abuse of “God’s Hands” led to severe nerve damage and Flash was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.

But Flash didn’t let carpal tunnel syndrome get in the way of his hunger for trophies. He muscled his way through the gruelling training practice regimes and even in tournament matches, with tens of thousands of dollars on the line.

Flash needed ice packs after his tournament matches to ease the growing pain in his hands

Repeated surgeries for both his wrists and arms were also needed to manage the increasing sharp pain that would persist even when he wasn’t at the computer desk.

Sharp pain in his forearm and wrists meant that he could no longer subject himself to the gruelling training needed to stay ahead of the competition.

After his swan song at the Afreeca Star League Season 8 in 2019, he was forced to throw in the towel and hang his mouse, in order to undergo surgery.

“It’s like a badge of honor” - Flash

The Nightmare Of Every E-sports Athlete

While gamers, professionals and amateurs alike, suffer from a multitude of medical conditions including gamer’s thumb (de Quervain's Tenosynovitis) and mouse elbow (lateral epicondylitis), wrist injuries are by far the most common of them all, particularly the carpal tunnel syndrome. They have become performance-crippling, if not career-threatening issues.

And Flash is not alone in experiencing this.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome forced Mvp into retirement as he could no longer practice regularly

Carpal tunnel syndrome has also ended or disrupted the professional gaming careers of many others [1], including the likes of:

  • Jung "Mvp" Jong Hyun (Starcraft II) - 4-time GSL champion
  • Cloud9’s Hai “Hai” Lam (League of Legends)
  • Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács (Counter-strike Global Offensive)
  • Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer (Counter-strike Global Offensive)

Many of them eventually underwent surgery as well, but it was usually too late to fix the irreparable damage that was dealt to their nerves. As a result, they may go on to suffer chronic wrist and arm pain for the rest of their lives.

Did Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Kill Keith Emerson?

Keith Emerson was an English keyboardist, songwriter and producer who was widely regarded as one of the top keyboard players of the progressive rock era.

AllMusic, an American online music database, described Emerson as “perhaps the greatest, most technically accomplished keyboardist in rock history”.

Keith Emerson, one of the greatest keyboardists

In 1993, Emerson was forced to take a year off from playing after he developed carpal tunnel syndrome in his right hand.

He likened the nerve condition to “writer’s cramp” [4] and was forced to take extended breaks away from his music during rehabilitation, which included a nearly career-ending nerve-graft surgery. [5]

It took Emerson close to 10 years before he could regain full use of his hands and play to his usual strength in 2002. [4]

Unfortunately, Emerson’s story did not end well.

Emerson died on 2016 in Santa Monica, California, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His death was ruled a suicide and an autopsy concluded that he had also suffered from heart disease and depression. [6]

According to Emerson’s girlfriend Mari Kawaguchi, Emerson had become “depressed, nervous and anxious” because nerve damage had hampered his playing, and he was worried that he would perform poorly at upcoming concerts in Japan and disappoint his fans. [7]

Chronic pains can lead to mental health issues such as depression, and should not be taken lightly.

Those Who Spend Long Hours In Front Of The Computer May Be In Danger Too

While the past 3 examples of people who suffered from CTS were of famous people who were experts in their craft, the reality is that carpal tunnel syndrome does not discriminate against the rich or the poor - anyone can be affected by it.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the musculoskeletal disorders that is often regarded as an occupational hazard, especially for occupations involving computer use. And in the current modern Information Age, a huge portion of modern jobs include usage of a computer.

This situation is further worsened by the recent pandemic, as more people start to experience a significant shift in their lifestyles, with more people working from home, and many people having a less-than-ideal computer setup at home.

This can result in a sub-optimal work-from-home setup, with the heights of desks, monitors and chairs not properly aligned, resulting in improper hand, arm and wrist posture which can quickly aggravate one’s hands and wrists.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Explained

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the compression of the median nerve as it passes into the hand. The median nerve is located on the palm side of your hand (also called the carpal tunnel).

The median nerve provides sensation (ability to feel) to your thumb, index finger, long finger and part of the ring finger. It supplies the impulse to the muscle going to the thumb.

Swelling inside your wrist causes the compression in carpal tunnel syndrome. It can lead to numbness, weakness and tingling on the side of your hand near the thumb.

Common Causes Of Carpal Tunnel

While certain medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, fluid retention, high blood pressure or rheumatoid arthritis may increase one’s risk of suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel is largely caused by the following activities:

  • Improper positioning of one’s wrists while using the keyboard and mouse
  • Repeated movement that extends one’s wrists such as typing or playing the piano
  • Construction work
  • Manufacturing & assembly line work
Long hours of gaming and work at the computer can contribute to CTS

Treatment Options

Doctors usually offer patients a variety of options, depending on the seriousness of the condition. They include:

Surgery - Carpal Tunnel Release

This is often used as the last resort, if there is severe damage to the median nerve. Surgical decompression for carpal tunnel syndrome involves cutting the band of tissue in the wrist that crosses the median nerve so as to lessen the pressure on your nerve.

Click to show picture
(Image may be a little gruesome. Click on it to display)

While surgery is often effective, there may be certain risks and complications such as [8]:

Carpal tunnel release surgery may leave an unpleasant scar on your hand
Bracing/Splinting

Splinting is commonly prescribed as it is a relatively inexpensive, nonoperative treatment for CTS. One purpose of splinting is to minimize motion at the wrist and subsequently decrease symptoms of pain and numbness.

While immobilizing the wrist with a splint is a common practice in treating CTS, it is unclear as to which specific type of wrist splint to use.

Wrist braces may be itchy or uncomfortable to wear, especially over long periods of time

A total of 120 subjects with CTS based on history, physical examination and electrodiagnostic studies were randomized into treatment with a soft hand splint or a wrist splint to be worn at night for 3 months. [9]

Both groups had decreased symptoms and functional limitations at 3 months, although these results were diminished after 9 months.

Wrist splints are often uncomfortable to wear as they may rub, strain, pinch or squeeze the hands and wrists. Also, while wrist splints may offer temporary relief, they are often less effective in providing long-term pain management.

Injections

Corticosteroid injections are also frequently used to treat CTS and are usually effective for short-term pain management.

They work by reducing swelling in the connective tissue, which relieves the pressure on the median nerve.

While some patients may have relatively long-term relief of carpal tunnel symptoms with a corticosteroid injection, it appears that patients become resistant to repeated injections and symptoms may continue to persist. They may also experience certain side effects, including infection and mild/moderate pain right after injection.

A Light At The End Of The “Tunnel”

Not all hope is lost. While each of the previously covered treatment options may be effective under different circumstances, they each come with potential drawbacks.

However, there might just be a better solution for managing the pain in your wrists - massage guns.

Massage guns such as HYDRAGUN are amazing devices that can act as your personal 24/7 massage therapists and provide significant pain relief to your wrists and hands via percussive therapy, making them the ultimate tool for dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Massage guns are one of the latest breakthroughs
in physical therapy and pain management
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Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome With HYDRAGUN

  1. Place your forearm on a flat table and switch to the fork attachment.
  2. Gently move your HYDRAGUN up and down your forearm for 15 seconds. Don’t press to hard on your forearm.
  3. Turn your forearm over and massage the bottom of your forearm for another 15 seconds.
  4. Use the bullet attachment to massage your palms in a circular motion for 15 seconds.
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HYDRAGUN - The Quietest Massage Gun

Strength of Massage Gun

The strength of a massage gun is dictated by its amplitude and its percussions-per-minute. With a 12 mm amplitude and a max speed of up to 3200 PPM, HYDRAGUN is able to give its users a deep-tissue massage unlike any other.

And with 6 different attachment heads (including the bullet head which is very suitable for massaging the tiny bones on one’s feet), HYDRAGUN is one of the best treatment options out there in the market that is affordable and convenient.

Quietness

Another often overlooked aspect of massage guns is their quietness. HYDRAGUN is the quietest massage gun in the market, with a range of approximately 50 dB. And it is able to keep its noise level to a minimum, with its SmoothDriveTM technology and its space-grade aluminium shell which is able to insulate sound effectively.

Many people do enjoy using their massage guns while watching TV in the living room, or in front of the computer desk. And many of the other massage guns in the market out there produce a loud jarring sound that can be very counterproductive to work or relaxation.

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Reviews

R

21/07/2021

Ross Carroll

A well made and engineered device

"This is a quality product that works brilliantly. The different head attachments cover all of your needs, its comfortable and very powerful. I can’t recommend it enough. When something is great, thats all there is to it."

a

11/07/2021

adrian pope

My new 2nd best friend...

"Well... my wife is still No. 1 on the list but I am so impressed with the Hydragun.

I ordered the Hydragun to aid my recovery from DOMS when I returned to playing badminton again after a ten year layoff. Prior to ordering I had terrible muscle soreness from one week to the next after playing, especially on my calves and achilles tendons. Now, using the various Hydragun attachments I’m pretty good for another game after a couple of days (1 days rest after playing). I use the Hydragun when I get home from the club, have a hot shower and do a bit of stretching and the difference I feel the next day is amazing (I could hardly walk the next day previously).

Also, it’s so quiet... this was one of the reasons I bought it in the first place. I can sit next to my No. 1 best friend and massage away quietly while watching TV. It doesn’t impact on the viewing one little bit and it feels just great on my sore muscles after exercising."

B

17/06/2021

Bob Omar

Fantastic Gun

"I have tried few cheap brands and it doesn’t give me the oomph. Tried this magical baby and wow...instant relief. Of cos i got to bribe my nephew to massage my back...money well spend. My lovely mum is so afraid to use this on me :). I have recommended a friend to use this product and he loved it. Will give another colleague this as a farewell gift."

S

16/06/2021

Steven Ang

Pioneer

"I am pleased to have bought the hydragun on the recommendation of my pain management consultant. The massage gun worked to help to relieve my lower back pain as well as the sore body muscles. The gun although is slightly heavy for me at age 78 but still manageable. I like it because it’s extremely quiet. No hesitation in recommending to anyone looking for a good massage using this gun."

DISCLAIMER: This article is not meant to be taken as medical advice. When in doubt, consult a medical professional.