• health care crisis
  • health care reform
  • healthcare and reform
  • reform and healthcare

Correct Diagnosis and Treatment

by Lawrence Gold Credentials | Publications | Personal Page
Certified Hanna Somatic Educator

Diagnosis is an art. It depends largely upon looking for the right things. Where chronic pain conditions are concerned, much looking goes on for the wrong things -- with effects being mistaken for causes.

In the public mind, there exists a kind of "looseness" between the correctness of a diagnosis and the efficacy of treatment. People tolerate slow or unreliable progress, "payment for no results," side effects, and treatments that disfigure or partially disable.

This article calls for part of the solution to the "health care crisis": educated health-care consumers who develop understanding and exercise their intelligence about their treatment options.

Comparison chart, treatment modalities (PDF)
Discussion, two radically different classes of treatment, using back pain as an example

A diagnosis is sometimes held (by the patient) to be correct or understood by medical science even in the absence of results from treatment. Often, practitioners and their patients confuse diagnosis (symptom analysis) and giving a name to the symptoms of a malady with understanding its cause. In medical practice, to give a diagnosis (even without providing treatment that is actually effective) is considered sufficient justification to charge the patient a fee. Failure to cure, while not actually being acceptable, is often accepted.

This state of affairs is inevitable when no effective treatment exists for a malady; however the absence of an effective treatment points to a failure of understanding of the malady diagnosed. This state of affairs often pertains to chronic medical complaints, in general, and to chronic pain, in specific.

A correction of understanding is needed: If a malady has been correctly diagnosed and is understood correctly, a course of treatment based upon that understanding will provide the desired relief.

Unfortunately, too often the treatment applied fails to provide relief and people accept this state of affairs. Instead of questioning the diagnosis or the treatment, people often accept the idea that the malady is just “difficult to treat” or “slow to respond.”

Acceptance of these ideas shows a willingness to proceed without understanding – the habit of haphazard living. It is unfortunate, but people seem to assume that medical matters are inevitably beyond their understanding (the failure to seek and acquire understanding possibly a fault in their education, in general); even more bizarrely, people sometimes assume that if something seems too easy to understand, it must be wrong or not up to the level of a “professional understanding.”

This acceptance of obscurity is compounded by the tendency of science and medicine to emphasize the microscopic – enzymes, hormones, chemistry, cellular behavior, etc., and the complexity of their interactions. These “microscopia” are the “trees” that, when made the primary object of study, distract one from seeing the “forest”, the grand pattern that simplifies the entire view. Microscopia overwhelm the mind with details hard to understand.

So, in short, conventional medicine is sometimes incompetent to treat certain kinds of conditions, and people are reluctant or unaccustomed to recognize that incompetence because of the status of the profession and because they expect not to be able to understand their condition and the treatments offered. They give too much benefit of the doubt -– regardless of the inadequacy of the treatment they have received.

To recognize the sign of incompetence to deal with certain conditions would instantly liberate people to pursue remedies outside of conventional medicine. Unfortunately, the tendency to proceed without understanding leaves people prey to quackery and skeptical that understandable solutions to their problems actually work (because they are different from the standard offerings).

Clarity comes with a return to this simple observation: if the diagnosis is correct and correctly understood, the treatment selected is correct, and if the treatment is correct, relief follows. If not, something is incorrect. Getting this viewpoint is, for some, a leap into understanding. It’s not for the mentally lazy, however.

So, my final words to you are, “If you haven’t gotten relief from treatment, either the diagnosis or the treatment is incorrect. Seek another understanding of the situation and approach it from another direction.”

This article may be reproduced only in its entirety.

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