Can Uneven Legs Cause My Hip Pain?

Hip Pain Relief

Recently, a patient who was experiencing pain of her right hip asked me if her discomfort was because one of her legs was shorter than the other. She said, for years, her tailor had told her that her legs were uneven whenever she had dresses or pants hemmed. Over the 37 years I’ve been in chiropractic practice I’ve had a number of similar inquiries. This article will discuss lower extremity limb length discrepancy and its possible association with hip pain.

When discussing leg length discrepancies, it is helpful to know that there are two types: functional and structural. A structural inequality occurs when bones grow to different lengths. Typically, this will occur when a bone on one leg is actually shorter than that of the other leg.

A functional inequality happens when one leg appears to be shorter than the other due to an imbalance in the lower body. Many times, this occurs when the pelvis is out of alignment.

When I evaluate a patient for hip pain, I always have them stand facing toward me so that I can observe if the crests of the pelvis are level. Many times, it appears as if one is higher than the other. If I see this, 90% of the time, it leads me to determine that a functional short leg is contributing to the hip discomfort. With other physical examination tests and possible x-rays, it can be determined that the hip pain is from a mechanical misalignment and can be helped with the proper treatment.

It’s important to note that when our pelvis is misaligned, we carry more weight on one leg versus the other. Over time, this will cause ongoing irritation to the hip that is bearing the greater load. It’s not uncommon to see osteoarthritis and degeneration of the hip from years of enduring a functional short leg. The wear and tear of the hip joint simply occurs from years of carrying excessive weight, due to leg length inequality and pelvic misalignment.

Bringing hip pain relief, due to mechanical malalignment of the pelvis, is something chiropractors are trained to provide. Treatment of realigning and restoring proper motion to the pelvis joints with gentle, safe chiropractic adjustments has been a tenant of the profession for over a century.

I’m happy to report that my patient’s treatment to correct her pelvic misalignment and functional short leg gave her complete hip pain relief in a matter of weeks. I’ll be curious know if the next tailor’s visit causes surprise when both legs are found to be of equal length.

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What You Should Know Before Having Cervical Disc Herniation Surgery

Cervical Disc Herniation Pain Relief

Neck pain can be caused by a cervical disc problem. Many people are told they have neck discomfort that is caused by a disc condition but is that, indeed, the cause of the pain or could it be from something else?

This article will give insight into the make-up of the human spine, causes of pain of the neck and possible safe, non-surgical treatment for neck discomfort.

The spinal bones of the neck are called the cervical vertebrae. Disc-like pads lay between the vertebrae. They are a shock absorbing type of tissue for our neck. As we bend our neck the discs become compressed on the side of pressure and become wider on the side of less pressure.

Disc herniation is a term that is used frequently. Slipped disc, ruptured disc and bulging disc are also expressed and can mean something similar. What matters is if the disc is the actual cause of the problem.

If the disc is irritating a nerve or the spinal cord it may induce pain, or it may be painless if it does not. It’s interesting how many people have been found to have a disc derangement with an MRI but, had no pain at all.

What’s important with neck pain is what the patient, subjectively feels and what the doctor’s objective examination reveals. If the patient is having arm pain, weakness or pins and needles and the examination shows weakness of the muscles of the arm or reduction of sensation of the affected arm, it can indicate a cervical disc injury. If the symptoms and objective exam results aren’t as previously mentioned, the cause of the problem is from something else. Usually this is from misaligned or improperly moving vertebrae of the cervical spine which irritates the joints of the neck. These joints are called façet joints and are the most frequent cause of neck pain.

Chiropractic treatment can be very effective in helping both a cervical disc problem and a cervical facet joint condition. For over 125 years chiropractors have been helping people with mechanical neck and arm pain. Chiropractic treatment is safe and natural and doesn’t involve the use of surgery.

A doctor of chiropractic can take action to correct the malpositioned vertebrae and to restore normal movement of the facet joints. Chiropractors are primary care professionals for relieving spinal neck pain. Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat physical, mechanical alignment problems of spine pain.

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My Posture Is Terrible

Neck Pain & Headache Relief

As a practicing chiropractor of 37 years, I have heard many patients say: “I have terrible posture.” Are you aware of your posture? Do you feel as if your head is too far forward and your shoulders are slumped? Do you have neck and upper back pain and suffer from tension headaches? If so, this article is for you. It will describe poor and good posture and simple tips you can employ to improve your posture and health.

Let’s look at posture problems that typically occur:

  • Forward head posture. Our heads weigh about as much as a bowling ball. If our head is positioned directly over our upper body, there is very little stress on the neck and upper back. However, if our head is several inches or more in a forward position it places much more stress on our neck and upper back. These areas then must work extra hard to compensate for forward head posture. This results in neck and upper back pain and stress headaches.
  • Slumped shoulders. When I observe many peoples standing posture, I note that their hands may be positioned at the front of their thighs. However, when one is standing with good posture their hands should be at the side of the thighs and hips. Ideally, we should look like a soldier standing at attention with the hands at our sides.

In the western world the most common culprit for bad posture can be attributed to the amount of sitting we endure. Most of us sit many hours starting as school students. This gets compounded with sedentary occupations. Human beings are made to stand and walk—not sit!

It is important that we take time to get up and get moving. Taking a daily walk is a must with a sitting job.

When we take a walk, a simple trick can be employed to improve our posture. As we walk, pretend that there is a helium balloon attached by a string to the very top of our head. This automatically pulls us into a more upright, erect posture. We want to try to maintain this through the duration of our walk.

Another tip that we can utilize is to have an adjustable, upright desk where we can perform our work. This type of office equipment allows us to sit or to stand throughout the day. Even if a person stands 10% of their workday, a huge improvement in posture can be made.

When a person comes to my office for treatment, I always evaluate their posture and give them stretching and strengthening exercises they can utilize to improve their posture and their health. There is a term in health lexicon called “Upper Crossed Syndrome.”

By exploring online sources anyone can learn about upper crossed syndrome and consult with an appropriate healthcare specialist as to what exercises would be appropriate in improving their posture.

It’s always fun and rewarding for me to hear someone make a transition from saying: “my posture is terrible” to them saying: “I got a nice complement about my good posture today.”

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Take Whiplash Injuries Seriously

Whiplash & Neck Pain Relief

It is estimated that 2 million Americans are involved in a whiplash injury each year. When the term whiplash is used most people envision someone involved in a car collision. However, these injuries can occur from many lifestyle activities. Falls, impacts to the head and physical accidents which traumatize the neck are also common causes neck/whiplash injury. I know a person who was in a low crawl space who accidentally “jammed” his neck while moving about causing a whiplash problem. Whiplash-type complaints can occur from sports and activities like football, soccer, cheerleading and lacrosse.

If one experiences whiplash it is important to take the injury seriously to avoid long-term consequences. Approaches and treatment that minimizes pain and promote recovery are imperative. This article will discuss whiplash type injuries and safe, gentle, natural care for this problem.

An increase in one’s age is associated with whiplash injury risk. A person with osteoarthritis and, generally less neck movement, is more prone to neck injury if an accident occurs. Falls among the elderly are especially significant with respect to whiplash disorders and the need for prompt evaluation and treatment.

If a person is involved in an automobile crash or suffers a traumatic impact it is important to take even minor symptoms as warning signs. A headache or slight neck discomfort, stiffness or limited range of motion should not be ignored. Abnormal findings can be discovered by simple tests.

A doctor of chiropractic is trained to determine if a person has incurred a whiplash associated disorder. Chiropractors undergo extensive training in anatomy, bio-mechanics and kinesiology. A chiropractor can also read and interpret x-ray and MRI imaging.

And physical examination may show spasm of muscles, decrease of normal neck ranges of motion, misalignment or improper motion of the spinal bones of the neck causing pinched nerves and irritated joints.

If examination shows that whiplash injury has occurred a chiropractor can provide treatment. A common treatment method a chiropractor may employ is called manipulation. Another term for manipulation is chiropractic spinal adjustment. It is a safe, gentle manual therapy for managing neck pain. An expert chiropractic adjustment is performed with a gentle movement of the doctor’s hands to correct a malpositioned spinal bone of the neck.  It brings neck pain relief to the patient. Since these methods are a physical mechanical approach, they are natural and no pharmacologic’s or surgery is necessary.

Anyone who is involved in a whiplash associated disorder would be well advised to not delay evaluation and care. Waiting only increases the risk that they may develop chronic symptoms. It is important to take whiplash injury seriously and gain neck pain relief.

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What Research Recommends For Acute And Chronic Lower Back Pain Relief

Acute & Chronic Lower Back Pain Relief

Clinical guidelines are created by healthcare practitioners and researchers to assist practitioners and patients for care with specific health conditions. Because lower back pain is a significant problem in western society, clinical guidelines have been developed to help advise appropriate treatment. This article will discuss clinical guidelines for health providers and patients seeking low back pain relief and a promising approach to bring safe, cost-effective, acute and chronic musculoskeletal-back discomfort relief to the general public.

Primary care doctors are typically the first entry for patients in our healthcare system. However, research shows the average PCP doesn’t have adequate training for musculoskeletal conditions. For example, 79% of all medical doctors failed a basic musculoskeletal cognitive examination.

Spine pain is an enormous problem in America. Back discomfort accounts for nearly one third of chronic pain. This contributes to long-term disability, opioid dependency, and costs, both financial and societal.

Subsequently, experts have recently called for the establishment of a primary spine care practitioner and have recommended that chiropractors can fulfill this role. For instance, the joint commission of the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society recommend spinal manipulation, which is a nonpharmacologic treatment with proven benefits.

Chiropractors are the preeminent healthcare specalists when it comes to relieving pain of the lower spine. Doctors of Chiropractic are professionals trained to diagnose and treat physical, mechanical alignment problems of spine pain.

Since most lower spine pain is due to mechanical problems, such as misalignment and abnormal movement of spinal vertebrae, it takes extensive training and skill to perform spinal manipulation. Becoming a chiropractor requires traditional undergraduate training plus five years of education at a college of chiropractic. Chiropractic education institutions provide academic courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, bio-mechanics and diagnosis. Additionally, clinical courses in manipulation of the spine (which chiropractors term “spinal adjustments”) and extremities, the use of physiological therapeutics such as electrical stimulation and cryotherapy and rehabilitative exercise are taught.

The guidelines for conservative treatment of lower spine pain indicate chiropractic spinal manipulation is very safe. This is especially true when one considers possible alternative treatments of opioid narcotic pharmacologics and spine surgery.

Scientific literature investigating financial costs of varying types of treatment for lower back pain also favor chiropractic care. Actual treatment costs performed by Doctors of Chiropractic have been shown to be less than surgery, physical therapy, spinal injections and certain forms of pharmacologic care.

Research and scientific-based guidelines strongly indicate that chiropractors should be the initial contact and providers for patients who wish to gain acute and chronic lower back pain relief.

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Avoiding Headaches And How To Obtain Pain Relief If You Are Experiencing A Headache

Headache Pain Relief

Unfortunately, almost everyone has sustained a headache. Headaches come in many varieties: cluster, migraine, sinus and stress or tension headaches. This article will discuss avoidance of headaches or steps you can take if you are experiencing headaches.

As a practicing chiropractor of over 36 years my experience has been that most people will get several headaches a year. When these occur, they are annoying but generally not of a serious nature. However, some people will get headaches more frequently. I’ve talked to some patients who get headaches daily, which means they have a headache 365 days per year. Even if a patient gets a headache once or twice a month that’s a dozen to two dozen headaches per year, which I think is too many.

One bit of good news is that only a small fraction of headaches people suffer from is because of serious disease or injury. If someone believes their headaches are due to these types of conditions the best way to rule it out is by having a MRI of the brain and skull and to have a blood lab test performed. If these tests are negative or inconclusive one can take other steps to work to avoid headaches and obtain headache relief.

The number one reason people experience headaches is from poor posture causing mechanical irritation to the nerves and joints of the upper spine. With so many people working at desk jobs and with students, of all ages, having to be in a seated position for hours and hours it’s important that we are aware of our upper body postures. The more the head and shoulders are back, in erect fashion, the less physical stress is incurred at the upper levels of the spine and a concomitant reduction of headache frequency and severity will occur.

Posture is also important when sleeping. It is best to sleep on one’s sides and back and avoid sleeping on the stomach. While it is sometimes hard to find the proper pillow some diligence in searching for and finding appropriate support for one’s head and neck can be accomplished.

Another aspect of headache avoidance is to be aware of our fluid and nutrient intake. Dehydration is a frequent cause of various types of headaches. Most people need to measure the amount of water that they drink daily or else they really won’t know if they are being consistent with their hydration. There are resources available to tell you how much water you should drink per day.

Additionally, some people need to avoid certain food triggers, especially those who experience migraine headaches. It is common for food such as wine, cheese, chocolate, and coffee to initiate a headache in some people. Also, some smells such as perfumes, cleaning products, chemicals like gasoline and scented candles may affect some headache sufferers. It is important to determine if there is a sensitivity to these types of products to avoid headaches.

To those who have taken the previously mentioned steps to avoid headaches but are still suffering from headaches I’d like to offer this advice. For several decades now I have had great success in helping people to reduce or eliminate headache frequency and intensity through chiropractic care. The entire chiropractic profession can claim similar accomplishment. Chiropractic care is very safe, gentle, and natural. No drugs or pharmaceuticals are administered by chiropractors.

I would respectfully advise anyone who is experiencing headaches to consult with a chiropractor to determine if a healthier, happier life can be obtained and obtain headache pain relief.

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For Shoulder Pain Relief Try A Conservative Non-surgical Approach

Shoulder Pain Relief

Since shoulder discomfort is the third leading musculoskeletal complaint among middle-aged adults there is interest in the proper approach to shoulder pain relief. Many times, treatment depends on the type of healthcare practitioner initially seen. A common-sense approach is to try the most conservative type of care first, since more aggressive types of care carry more risk. This article will discuss common causes of mechanical shoulder pain and a nonsurgical, nonpharmacologic treatment option for shoulder pain relief.

The shoulder is a complex joint. Along with the thumb and the hip joints it is one of three joints in the human body that moves in every direction. The shoulder joint should move fully and freely in its ranges of motion. However, injury of the shoulder can reduce aspects of proper movement and create intermittent or constant pain. A sometimes overlooked, feature of the shoulder is it’s association with the neck and upper back.

Research shows that improper movement of the spinal bones of the neck and upper back can have an influence on shoulder discomfort. The spinal bones should move freely. If they are fixated and not moving properly, a medical term called dysfunction, the spinal nerves which innervate the muscles of the shoulder can contribute to shoulder problems.

Doctors of chiropractic typically perform examinations upon patients with shoulder complaints to assess the cause of the condition. X-rays of the shoulder and neck and upper back may be helpful. Palpation, which is simply a doctor feeling the muscles and movement of joints of the shoulder, neck and upper back, can reveal if the areas are moving properly or if there is fixation and dysfunction.

If so, chiropractic spinal manipulation can be directed at improving mobility in the spinal areas to help reduce pain. Additionally, chiropractic manipulation of the shoulder joint itself can restore that joint’s proper movement. Other modalities such as the use of ice packs, electrical muscle stimulation and therapeutic exercises can lead to resolution of shoulder problems.

Most patients who go to a chiropractor for shoulder pain find that having a chiropractic spinal and shoulder manipulation is a safe, pleasurable  experience because it relieves discomfort and restores shoulder ranges of motion.

Although medication’s, steroid injections and surgery are considered by many, most patients do better under conservative care. It’s important to consider non-surgical options first since surgery does entail substantial risk.

For this reason, many suffering from shoulder discomfort turn to safe, gentle chiropractic care to obtain shoulder pain relief.

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Will I Have To Stop Dancing?

Keep Dancing

As a practicing chiropractor of 36 years, I recently had a 66-year-old man, named Clark, come to me with pain of his right hip. He was an avid ballroom dancer and had been having hip discomfort for several months. His pain was constant but mild. However, if he participated in ballroom dancing, which he did once or twice a week, his hip pain flared up for a couple days afterward. He was worried about this and asked me: “Will I have to stop dancing.” He related that, being single, this was one of his significant social opportunities and he enjoyed the recreation and exercise.

This article will discuss hip pain, it’s causes and how conservative, chiropractic care can help give pain relief, naturally.

When I examined Clark, he had problems of two areas. The first was the actual hip joint. This joint is a ball and socket joint made up of the thigh bone (ball) and the pelvic bone (socket). This is the largest joint of the body and moves in all directions. He had injured this joint by overuse and repetition. He said he’d been practicing a certain type of dance which caused excessive stress to his right hip. He’d sprained the joint just as one with sprains their ankle or their knuckle.

He also had a problem with a joint in his pelvis called the sacroiliac joint. This is a joint that’s located in the area where the rear pockets of a pair of pants would be. It is a pelvic joint between the tailbone, which is called the sacrum, and the pelvic wing bones, which are called the ileum. The sacroiliac joints are gliding joints. For Clark, this area had become misaligned and he was carrying more weight on his right lower extremity than on the other side.

Clark’s care consisted of reducing the amount of strenuous dancing that irritated his sprained right hip joint. He didn’t have to completely stop his ballroom dancing, but he had to cut back, for a while, to give his sprained hip joint a chance to heal.

To correct the misalignment of the pelvic sacroiliac joint, I performed chiropractic manipulations, which realigned this area and allowed him to carry his weight evenly on both extremities. A chiropractic manipulation involves a quick, gentle movement of the doctor’s hands to bring about realignment of abnormally positioned bones. It is very safe and typically brings a good deal of pain relief to the patient.

I’m happy to report that within two weeks of care, Clark’s pain was minimal. After a month of treatment, he was pain-free and able to resume normal ballroom dancing. He did decide to exercise discretion with some of the dancing moves he performed but was very happy that he could continue this excellent form of exercise and recreation.

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