Conclusion: OCCUPATION NEUROSES AND THE PSYCHOGENIC CONNOTATION OF "REPETITION STRAIN INJURY": THE MISCONSTRUCTION OF NEUROSIS

The construct of neurosis has been characterised by confusion over the two centuries of its usage. The 18th century ideas of "hysteria", "hypochondria" and "melancholy" became conflated with known diseases of the brain and nerves, the new terms "nervousness" and, later, "neurosis" evolving during the 19th century to denote the concept that affections of the mind were indeed disorders of the brain. Over the critical 30 year period from 1890 to 1920, the body-mind confusion resurfaced and was literally translated into the concept of "commotion" in the central nervous system, leading to "dissociation", not only of certain functions thereof from normal brain activity but also of schools of thought, the proponents of (now) psychoneurosis vying with those in favour of the older idea of organic disease. Confusion also attended the semantic and metaphysical usage of the term "neurosis", which as pointed out by Knoff (1970), could mean "disordered nerve", "disordered mind" or "disordered social relations", in any combination, depending upon the context. Lastly, the circularity of the postulated aetiological interaction between "predisposition" and a host of "environmental" factors perpetuated confusion as much as it explicitly affirmed body-mind dualism. The Occupation Neuroses fell foul of this process and with them has gone RSI as the latest legacy of that dualism.

Those who interpreted the 19th century construct of the "central" origin of the Occupation Neuroses as being equivalent to "psychogenic" failed to appreciate the nature of the construct of neurosis and its epistemological evolution into the 1980s. Their misconstruction of "neurosis", invoked to explain the RSI pain syndrome as a problem of the mind rather than of the body, served neither the interests of the sufferer nor of historical veracity. RSI is indeed an example of the 19th century construct of occupation neurosis but a victim of its misconstruction.

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