Orthopaedic Medicine is not a sudden innovation. It had to happen. Its roots inexorably emerged from the mists of antiquity because there have always been pain and injuries and hands that touched to help. Healing systems developed in tribes and societies that might have been crude but worked often enough that they persisted.
Captain James Cook was among the great 18th century sea explorer- navigators. He was in Tahiti when he developed “inflammatory rheumatism” so severely that he contemplated ending his voyage and returning to England. The story is related in the National Geographic, September 1971. [LINK]
Captain Cook’s condition was relieved by what the Tahitians called Lomi Lomi, but a particular name is not crucial. The concept is.
Captain Cook’s ship’s surgeon was not able to help him. It is even likely that “inflammatory rheumatism” was his misdiagnosis. It was not a blunder, and this is not a criticism. It is an example of the limitations of persuasion, tradition and training.
The dilemma has persisted from the time when surgeons’ predilections naturally remained surgical while the overall authority imbued to them exceeded the responsibility they readily accepted.
As specialties emerged, when, as example, neurology and neurosurgery jointly, cooperatively and dynamically matured, orthopedics didn’t do that, and therein lies the perennial crisis. All orthopaedics became its domain, while eighty-percent of it is not surgical. It is medical.
That barrier between medical and surgical thinking in orthopedics has still not been realized and resolved despite that they are inherently different in their genetics. It is medicine’s Fundamental Flaw, and the result is the Pain Pandemic wherever Westernized medicine dominates.
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