This post is here to help those specifically that get a postural diagnosis they do not like. Though some of the information will lap over into other realms about
What is a Diagnosis
A diagnosis by definition is “the art or act of identifying a disease from its signs and symptoms.” Simply put, if you feel A, B, and C then you probably have “X.” This can be treated in a variety of ways (depending on who you talk to) and from there we will see how you are feeling.
Sound familiar? Now, obviously, a diagnosis is extremely necessary when a patient is in a dangerous or life-threatening situation. They are going to need to be treated as quickly as possible in order to give them the highest likelihood of a positive outcome. For these people, getting something on the board is important and a diagnosis is perfect for that.
But for some of us a diagnosis, whether self or professional, can mean mental confinement. Because a diagnosis can lead to symptom mindset, it can be hard for us to break free of that and give ourselves a true shot at health.
A Quick Word on the Difference Between a Medical or Self-Diagnosis
A medical diagnosis can only come from those that are legally trained and allowed to diagnose a patient. This is a relatively small list including doctors and specialists who have gone through medical training.
A self-diagnosis is when either you or someone you know decides that you have something. When getting a “diagnosis” from someone else it is usually based on personal experience or experience from a friend. Self-diagnoses can be a helpful place to start but should always be double checked before you get into the symptom mindset.
Now while a diagnosis is a good thing to have, you can be mis-diagnosed or change over time. But we will get into that soon.
What is “Symptom Mindset”
Because a diagnosis is based on symptoms anywhere you look that is what you see. If you are talking to friends about your diagnosis they are really talking about symptoms. When you look up your diagnosis online, there will be a list of symptoms. What can happen when we look at symptoms so much is that we focus on them. Yes, it’s easy to focus on symptoms because that is the thing at the surface, but there is something deeper.
What is deeper than a symptom? A root cause. Symptoms do not just appear, something triggers them. Symptoms are actually the last part in a string of events that happens. Think about when you are sick, get a diagnosis, or don’t feel like yourself. There was a time before that when you were feeling good and like yourself. Then something happened. You were on a flight and someone around you was sick, your ex text you, or you have been feeling a kink in your neck after sitting all day. After that happened, your body went through chemical changes. Whether it be to fight off an infection, chemicals dumping into your brain, or muscles contracting around the irritated area. Then you get the symptoms. Then you get the cough, the sadness and the constant ache in your neck.
When all you think about and try to deal with is the symptom then you miss the point. You are dealing with the affect when you will get more work done trying to find the cause. While it can take more time to understand and deal with the root cause, when the symptoms goes away, they truly go away. And if they pop back up again, you will know exactly how to treat them. Just like you do with the common cold.
What about a diagnosis is dangerous
Posture diagnosis can be very problematic in particular due to the non-standardization. There is no virus we can check to make sure it is anterior pelvic tilt. It is based on the person doing the assessment and their skill and understanding of the body. There’s a tendency for people to focus on the symptom or diagnosis and forget that the body is a tensegrity structure. The word tensegrity is a mixture of the words tension integrity and the easiest way to think about it is to think of a web.
When you pull on a web over in one corner there is a change in tension in other places as well. Meaning that when we have a postural imbalance it is not compartmentalized. We do not just have an anterior pelvic tilt or rounded shoulder or flat feet and nothing else.
Rather, we are dealing with a working diagnosis. As in, right now you have these postural compensations, instead or this is it forever. Scoliosis is just the sideways bend of the spine. But because this is such a huge diagnosis, people play into the symptoms. They get braces and surgery instead of working with the body to give it new stimuli to adapt to. Movement is stimuli and our posture is a snapshot of the stimuli that we give it every day. The more diversity in stimuli the better and more adaptive our body can be.
Generic Information on Your Diagnosis
When we go out into the world wide web with our postural diagnosis in hand, we get a lifetime worth of information. While this is wonderful, is it?
Just think. How did you get here verses another person? The body truly only has so many ways to compensate. The pelvis can only be anterior, posterior, neutral, or a mix of both. Your shoulders can either be rounded, pinched back, or elevated. There is some diversity that comes in when we get to the rotation or the body, but you can only rotate in and out, up and down. So, the end result is the same, the road that lead you to those rounded shoulders are very different.
Hence, why generic information is not actually going to work for every person. In an earlier blog I spoke about the difference between a compensation and dysfunction. Knowing which of these your problem joint is will help someone to figure out exactly how they need to work on their areas of issue. I have also written a blog to help people understand their shoulder and hip issues, both of which take on the concept of diagnosis.
Diagnosis can Change
The most important thing to remember, especially with postural diagnosis, is the fact that a diagnosis can, and most of the time will, change. Just as a spider web can snap back into place if not broken the body will do the same. Even if broken, the web can be repaired but may work differently then before.
As you learn your body more, move it consistently, and understand feedback better your body will be able to unwind and balance out. When the muscles are not having to pull on the bones so hard to keep them from rotating, elevating, or turning out of position your muscles can relax. Diagnosis can and will change as your joints all begin to gain more freedom from the relaxed muscles and better positioning.
While diagnoses are important and can help keep us alive, they can also hinder our growth. Our focus on the symptom (the last part in a chain reaction) should be turned to finding the root cause. Once we begin to work on the root cause, instead of the symptom, we can get more work done and create longer lasting change. It is during this process that a diagnosis can change and you can be free from your symptom mindset.