As a young doctor training to be an orthopaedic surgeon Dr Cyriax was working in the orthopaedic department at St. Thomas’s Hospital in London.
After he had been there for several months he realised that there were two different types of patients presenting to the hospital:-
There were patients who came in or were helped in to the hospital with a sore foot, a sore knee a sore arm or a sore shoulder due to fracture, a dislocated joint, a bone cyst or a bone tumour; these patients would have an X-ray taken and when this was studied an immediate diagnosis could be made and these patients were then treated expeditiously and good results followed.
Then there were the others; they would come in with similar symptoms or perhaps a sore back; an X-ray would be taken and the study of the films showed nothing the matter in the X-ray.
These patients had various kinds of treatments to the afflicted part—heat, massage, rest, exercises, sometimes rest and exercises prescribed on the same day; there could be mobilisation by the physiotherapists, shortwave therapy,and so on.
Dr Cyriax noticed that these patients attended the department for months and would slowly just drift away, usually none the better. He realised that no one knew what was the matter with these patients, and that there was no way of finding out
He decided that something COULD be sorted out and spent the next 12 years doing just that; he developed the method of diagnosis now known as diagnosis by selective tension.
He had an excellent knowledge of anatomy and took a careful history from each patient, and was the most methodical clinician I have ever seen. I attended various meetings at which he spoke, read his three text books with an avid interest, attended two week- long courses that he conducted , one in Melbourne and one at St.Thomas’s Hospital in London, and the week after that had the privilege of watching him at work in his private rooms in London.
He was the father of Orthopaedic Medicine; he taught over 1000 physiotherapists in his years as a specialist at the same hospital, and taught every doctor who became a recognised specialist in the world in this particular field. He was still working at the age of 80 and in the latter years of his life he would teach for several weeks at a time in the United States.
His work is recognised world-wide and is being actively taught in the UK, in Europe, in the United States and Canada and in very many other countries with excellent results. It is NOT taught in Australia—go figure ! ! !