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.’
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 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 pay attention to the balance of tensions throughout the body. We determine the functional integrity of the anatomy. How well do the tissues move? Are the organs, membranes, muscles and bones receiving appropriate blood flow, and venous drainage? What is the quality of the blood, lymph, and cerebral spinal fluid?
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.