Compensation, Adaptation and LLD
5/29/08
Published in the Times Standard
 
 
    Leg length discrepancy or LLD results in a myriad of symptoms due to spinal and muscular compensation and adaptations.
    Low back pain is the most common pain pattern seen due to the tilting of the pelvis to the short leg side. Axial or spinal curvature (compensatory scoliosis) develops to various degrees depending on the leg length difference. The body is trying to keep the head and shoulders balanced over the feet. Over the years the body adapts through the compensations that have occurred. However, muscular trigger points develop in the lumbar musculature particularly the ilio psoas and quadratus lumborum and are frequently a source of low back pain. As the spinal curvature develops, distortions in the musculature occur throughout the body. The most visible changes are the spinal related muscles. The thoraco-lumbar musculature will be asymmetric and unilateral hypertrophy of the cervical musculature occurs. This constant balancing of  the shoulder girdle axis to maintain eye level and the head erect, requires constant compensation of the neck muscles. This constant strain perpetuates trigger points in the neck and shoulder muscles causing tension headaches and neurovascular compression of spinal nerves and blood vessels. The results can be numbness, tingling, pain and weakness of the shoulders, arms and hands. With the tension in these spinal muscles attached to the vertebrae, spinal misalignments or subluxations can occur. This causes additional stress on spinal joints and the existing nerves with interruption or blocking of the nerve flow to the associated body parts.
    Shoulder and head tilt, while they may be an indicator of LLD, cannot be a means of determining which leg is short. The tilt is different for each individual depending on the amount of leg discrepancy. Specific examination standing and lying down with additional muscle testing is used to delineate the side of LLD.
    LLD is also associated with increased disc abnormalities, spinal joint arthritis, sacroiliac joint arthritis, hip joint arthritis and bursitis, myofascial pain, knee, ankle or foot pain.
    The LLD, I have found, is easily corrected with the proper adjustment to the pelvis and any lumbar spine involvement. If the LLD is due to a true short leg from a badly healed fracture, surgery or a congenitally developed short leg, the proper amount of heal lift may be required to achieve stability. With time, periodic check-ups and adjustments muscular balance will be restored. The stressful compensation and adaptation process is relieved.
    With less stress on the body better health and function is restored through Chiropractic “naturally”.
 
 
 
Crosbie Chiropractic
Michael H. Crosbie, D.C.
1828 Main Street
Fortuna, CA 95540
(707) 725-5668
www.crosbiechiropractic.com