Repetitive strain neck pain may be the unfortunate result of recurrent soft tissue injuries to the musculature of the cervical or upper thoracic spinal regions. RSI, also known as repetitive strain injury, is a diagnosis which is ever growing and evolving, particularly since treatment is highly profitable in both the traditional and complementary care sectors.
RSI in the neck describes a condition in which the individual has suffered multiple or constant injurious events to the muscles which have led to the development of scar tissue. Instead of these minor injuries healing completely with time, they accumulate and intensify one another, causing the existence of chronic pain. At least this is what is speculated to exist by most diagnosticians.
This narrative examines RSI conditions and their role in generating neck symptoms.
RSI can certainly occur virtually anywhere in the muscular anatomy. However, unless the patient has been doing abnormal neck muscle work for an extended time frame, the cervical region is not a typical location for the syndrome to exist. RSI is far more common in the limbs and lower back, but theoretically can occur virtually anywhere in the body.
RSI is aptly named, since back strain is a condition involving minor tears in soft tissues common to overuse, injury or even purposeful infliction from resistance training.
Normally, tears in muscle result in new muscle cells being developed, making the mass of the affected muscle larger and more pronounced. This is the exact reason why people lift weights. They inflict repetitive minor injuries to become stronger and bigger. This is accepted medical fact.
There is quite a bit of debate between fitness pros and medical doctors about where the line exists between what is constructive injury and what is detrimental. This is a controversial topic which has eluded definitive answers for years. The reason for the controversy is that most RSI diagnoses do not involve the same degree of anatomical damage inherent to serious weight lifting or athletic competition.
In essence, what is considered completely normal and constructive training for fitness activities may over-qualify as the grounds for RSI in the medical sector. Many patients are diagnosed with repetitive strain from activities which are deemed normal and non-taxing, especially when compared to the rigors of athletic exertion.
It can all seem quite illogical when viewed objectively.
So, the bottom line on RSI comes down to this: There is no objective black and white answer as to whether any particular person actually has repetitive strain or not. The spectrum instead consists of shades of subjective gray. Depending on whom you ask, the answer to whether RSI exists or not may be certainly or certainly not.
I prefer the middle ground here. Some people are obviously more susceptible to RSI than others. Depending on many factors, a person’s anatomy might better handle repetitive stress compared to identical or even lesser recurrent traumas in another body. There is no absolute.
I do warn readers that many cases of RSI are diagnosed simply to make money. Very little proof is needed to justify treatment and therapies rarely do anything to resolve the structural issues deemed causative for pain.
Therefore, what is the point?
Symptomatic treatment is a form of slavery. I suggest that patients should never simply accept a diagnosis of RSI without definitive and objective evidence. This will help you to avoid the drastic incidence of misdiagnosis of many spinal and soft tissue issues which are mistakenly linked to the expression of neck pain.