Structure Versus Function
The start of my residency was the first time I became aware that there was a rift in medicine regarding diagnostic testing. The controversy was as basic as using a non-surgical versus a surgical approach for the treatment of disease. This one centered upon structure versus function. As a general rule imaging tests take pictures of structure. If something looks to be broken it must be. If not then there is nothing wrong. On the other hand function oriented tests look a how something works. Functionally oriented people have a harder time communicating their ideas as an explanation of findings is usually required. By way of analogy your house electrical breaker box may look fine (its structure is ok) but if there is no power going to it then it will not function. A structure oriented test would take a picture of the breaker box and conclude that everything is where it needs to be so it must be fine. A function oriented test would hook a volt ohm meter up to see if there any power getting to the box; if not something is wrong. If you have chronic pain, weakness, numbness, or disease and are not satisfied with treatment options or your diagnosis consider asking if your problem might be resolved by looking at function rather than structure. Depending upon the circumstance also considering looking at both. When both structure and function identify a problem with the same thing its a pretty good bet that working on it will help. Learn more about diagnostic testing and treatment options at piedmontpmr.com.