The word “diagnosis” means to know… through and through, the Greek roots “dia”, meaning ‘through’ (as in diagonal – an angle through) and “gnosis” meaning ‘essential knowing.’
The nature of an osteopathic diagnosis differs from what we usually think of when a physician provides a label for a disease process. Using the information we receive through our hands, we consider the integrity of anatomic relationships and their function; how well the tissues move, the balance of tensions and degree of freedom.
Before treatment can begin, we must first learn the way in which trauma has imprinted itself upon the patient. This diagnostic process is essential. Obviously, we cannot treat without knowing what we are treating! We learn through touch. Dr. Sutherland spoke of “thinking, feeling, seeing, knowing fingers.”
The most common osteopathic diagnosis is “Somatic Dysfunction.” Somatic Dysfunction is defined as: “Impaired or altered function of related components of the somatic (body framework) system… and related vascular, lymphatic, and neural elements.” An older name for Somatic Dysfunction was Osteopathic Lesion.
One of the peculiar aspects of Osteopathy is that it is often difficult to separate diagnosis from treatment. Diagnosis and treatment, in a sense, blend together. Throughout the treatment process I am learning about the patient. Throughout the diagnostic process the patient is being treated. Feedback is constant .