Because the spinal cord is housed by the spine and the exiting nerve roots communicate with the autonomic nerves that basically run our organ function, maintaining alignment of the spine and pelvis is very important to minimize nerve irritation and subsequent health-related problems. The focus of this article is on leg length, its effect on our posture, methods of assessment, and treatment.
Leg length plays and important role in posture. When there is a difference in leg length, the pelvis cannot maintain a level position, and because the spine’s base is the pelvis, it cannot stay straight if there is a leg length discrepancy.
Doctors of all disciplines realize the importance of leg length, especially orthopedic surgeons as they consider a hip or knee replacement! There are many causes of leg length issues, and some include a genetic predisposition (inherited) or trauma during bone growth years.
From a treatment standpoint, a heel lift (with or without arch supports) can be placed into the shoe on the short leg side. Unfortunately, there is not a 1 to 1 mm correction of the leg length deficiency with heel lifts. In adults, it has been reported that about a 66% correction occurs, which means a 10 mm lift would result in around a 6.6mm leg length deficiency correction.
Many doctors have found that it is usually wise to GRADUALLY increase the amount of heel lifting, and so patients often start with a 5mm lift and at one week intervals, increase it to the next height, such as 7mm, followed by 9mm, and so on. At 12mm (0.5”), problems with the heel lift being pushed out of the shoe and/or sliding forwards in the shoe may prohibit the use of these thicker lifts after which point the bottom of the shoe can be built up by a shoe cobbler (some services can be found online as well).
We’ve all heard time and time again that we should sit up straight and practice good posture; possibly because our mothers constantly reminded us to look more poised and proper. But posture impacts more than just our looks. Poor posture, over time, can lead to many health problems. Here are four painful conditions that may result from poor posture.
1. Neck Pain –Neck and shoulder soreness is very common among those with poor posture. Poor workstation ergonomics and excessive mobile device usage are common culprits. Learn more about neck pain how you can avoid this problem here.
2. Lower Back Pain – It’s one of the most common reasons people miss work in the US. Poor posture places extra strain on the muscles and ligaments causing aching or pain that progresses gradually over time.
3. Headache – Believe it or not, your chronic headaches could be the result of poor posture and the added stress on your neck. Learn all about this condition and how to prevent it in this helpful video.
4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Studies show that neck pain (often caused by poor posture) can irritate the nerves in your arms, leading to a painful wrist condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Poor workstation posture can also cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you’re required to sit at a desk and use a computer for long periods of time, be sure to use proper workstation ergonomics.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize or take note of their posture until a painful injury occurs. As chiropractors, we strive to educate our patients about how to avoid spinal damage while maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. Sedentary lifestyles also cause postural issues over time, leading to some of the same conditions. So, stand up straight, keep moving, and if you find yourself burdened by an injury, give us a call at 772-286-5277.
With Permission via ChiroUP
Cliff Atwell, B.S., D.C.