View Full Version : Chiropractic diagnosis: One leg Shorter Than The Other?
07-18-2002, 07:06 PM
One of my friends was having back pain, so he went to see a chiropractor. This quack told my friend that the reason for his pain was that his right leg was shorter than the left leg! On doing a little research, this "diagbosis" appears to be quite common in chiropractic...they claim that many people havre it! Now, I can see that if you really have a big difference between your legs, you might have a problem-but how common can this condition be?
Supposedly, the "doctor" took casts of his legs, and showed him the difference. The "treatment" includes spinal manipulation, vitamins, hot packs, etc....probably from now into the forseable future. Do these "doctors" know what the hell they are talking about? Medical doctors-how common a condition is back pain caused by asymmetric legs?:confused:
07-18-2002, 07:35 PM
Did the Quackpractor mention anything about custom shoe inserts or a built-up shoe to help the patient walk and stand properly? IANAD, but that to me would be a logical treatment for someone with one short leg.
07-18-2002, 07:53 PM
Chirobase (http://www.chirobase.org/) has tons of skeptical information about chiropractic. I'd be particularly wary of anyone suggesting vitamins as part of a cure. Legitimate chiropractic does not involve nutrition advice.
07-18-2002, 08:02 PM
Originally posted by ralph124c
[B]One of my friends was having back pain, so he went to see a chiropractor. This quack told my friend that the reason for his pain was that his right leg was shorter than the left leg! On doing a little research, this "diagbosis" appears to be quite common in chiropractic...
It's quite common among faith healers too. I happen to have a part-time Pentecostal preacher friend, and about 98% of his diagnosis, always ends up with the person's pain being related to one leg being shorter than the other. The sad part is, he's convinced that he really makes the other leg longer to correct the problem. He tries so hard, it's difficult for the other person not to say he isn't feeling at least a little better. Suggestion goes a long way. He used to pull this stunt all the time at the old workplace, not just at his Church. I have to admit that it was amusing as hell to watch.
07-18-2002, 09:34 PM
I have been seeing a legitimate chiropractor for a bulged disc (verified by a "real" doctor). He told me I too had one leg shorter than the other but this wasn't the cause of my pain but rather a symptom of my problem. The muscles in my back were contracting in response to the pain from the disc causing my pelvis to shift thus making my legs "unaligned". Walking like this just aggravated the whole problem. He would have me on the table, put my feet together then lift them up to show me one was shorter. Then give me a spinal adjustment and Voila! they were the same length again.
Now I'm not singing the praises of all chiropractors because I agree that there are some quacks out there. But everything this guy has told me has made sense. He's kept me out of pain and, more importantly, out of back surgery for going on 2 years. And he's never suggested vitamins or anything like that.
07-18-2002, 10:01 PM
Chiropractors tell just about everybody who walks through the door that they have one leg shorter than the other. If it hasn't been said enough times on this board, it might be time to say it again "Chiropractors are the modern day equivalents of snake oil salesmen"
Reputable chiropractic is a contradiction in terms.
The link to Chirobase above is good.
07-18-2002, 10:33 PM
Forgive me if I am wrong (and am hijacking the thread slightly), but doesn't everybody have one leg slightly shorter than the other, even if it's just by a fairly small fraction of an inch? So, therefore, chiropractors are just shooting fish in a barrel when they hand out the diagnosis of 'yer lopsided!'. ;)
But yes, speaking from personal experience (IANAD! insert other standard medical disclaimers here), one leg that is shorter than the other can cause problems: the location of the problems depends on how your body tries to correct the imbalance that results. In my case, my hips, knees, and ankles paid the price. And my treatment did most certanly not consist of hot packs, vitamins, etc. It consisted of surgery to remove the bunion that had formed and the creation of shoe inserts to stablize my feet and lift the shorter leg up enough to prevent further problems. (For the record, the difference in length for me is about 1/4": only noticable if you're looking for it, and know what to look for.) Again, this is my personal experience, not the words of a trained medical professional. :)
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07-18-2002, 10:47 PM
Originally posted by John Zahn
It's quite common among faith healers too. I happen to have a part-time Pentecostal preacher friend, and about 98% of his diagnosis, always ends up with the person's pain being related to one leg being shorter than the other. The sad part is, he's convinced that he really makes the other leg longer to correct the problem. He tries so hard, it's difficult for the other person not to say he isn't feeling at least a little better. Suggestion goes a long way. He used to pull this stunt all the time at the old workplace, not just at his Church. I have to admit that it was amusing as hell to watch. This is going to sound like a joke, but it's a serious question: Is this where the term "pulling your leg" comes from?
Here's a chiropractic website (http://www.chirobase.org/06DD/activator.html) that talks about "apparent" differences in leg length due to variations of hip position and muscle tension. Very similar to what Red 2 describes.
It also seems to me that a quack could easily make a slight turn to the patient's hip that would create this symptom, which he would then "cure".
07-18-2002, 11:37 PM
Motog said If it hasn't been said enough times on this board, it might be time to say it again "Chiropractors are the modern day equivalents of snake oil salesmen"
Any chance of modifying you statement to something like "many chiropractors are the modern day equivalent of snake oil salesmen.?"
and Reputable chiropractic is a contradiction in terms
You might want to read the post above yours, from Red 2. He seems to disagree with your statement.
07-19-2002, 01:04 AM
Originally posted by samclem
Any chance of modifying you statement to something like "many chiropractors are the modern day equivalent of snake oil salesmen.?"
"Reputable chiropractic is a contradiction in terms"
My apologies, I went overboard. I allowed my personal experiences with a particular chiropractor to colour my view of all of them (I spent 6 months in chronic pain after a shonky chiropractor tried to "align" my neck).
There are some reputable chiropractors out there but there are unfortunately far too many shysters. The Chirobase website cited above does tell you how to find a reputable one. If you must use chiropractic, I'd suggest checking that out first.
WRT what Red2 said, this is not GD (even if I almost strayed into that territory in my first post) but I would question whether a real doctor and a chiropractor agreeing on what a problem is, automatically means that they would agree on either the causes of that problem or the correct treatment of it. In this case I suspect that they might disagree. If they did, I'd take the advice of a doctor over that of a chiropractor any day.
07-19-2002, 02:51 AM
good chiropracters are down right amazing, if you think I am wrong then give this a shot, next time you have a back injury of the chiropractic variety go in for an adjustment and don't tell him whats wrong, let him figure it out.
mine even figured out my aunts wheat allergy after 3 doctors misdiagnosed it.
but yeah a suck ass chiropacter is lame, of course so is a suck ass doctor.
07-19-2002, 04:28 AM
A suprisingly large number of people genuinely have one leg longer than the other - and I'm talking about bone length here, not just joint position and alignment. Depending on how big the difference is, and the person's posture, this can have variable effects. In my case, my right leg was longer than my left by 1-2cm, and it was affecting my back enough to give me scoliosis. Fortunately, this was caught while I was still growing. I had surgery to prevent my right femur from growing for a year or two (they inserted staples across the growth plate [epiphyseal plate] at the distal end of my femur), which allowed the left leg to catch up a bit, and now I'm almost straight. Treatment for an adult with a significant leg-length discrepancy would probably involve shoe inserts, and maybe some physiotherapy.
ralph, if your friend has doubts about his diagnosis and treatment, it is worth seeing a medical doctor, or possibly a podiatrist or physiotherapist. If he's still uncertain, try another doctor - there's nothing wrong with getting multiple opinions. I've known lots of great chiropractors, and I know that properly-trained chiropractors study the musculoskeletal system in more detail than many doctors. However, chiropractors aren't strictly regulated (as doctors are), and there are some dodgy ones around.
07-19-2002, 05:39 AM
My husband had one leg shorter than the other (a couple of inches or so) when he was a little boy. They did some sort of injections into his knee and the other leg grew.
JohnZahn, when my friend Arlene was 6, she had a leg significantly shorter than the other and it was healed through prayer. As in, one day she was hobbling, the next day she wasn't. So neener :p
07-19-2002, 12:36 PM
I once knew a girl who had one leg shorter than the other. Her name was Eileen.
Ahhh well, humor is much like the frog, funny at first glance, but unable to survive dissection.
07-19-2002, 07:24 PM
07-19-2002, 08:05 PM
Originally posted by tritone
However, chiropractors aren't strictly regulated (as doctors are), and there are some dodgy ones around.
It varies by state. In some states, chiropractors must be licensed. In others, not. In no case is a chiropractor authorized to prescribe vitamins. BTW, leg discrepancies of 1/4" or less are ususal inconsequential.
07-19-2002, 10:00 PM
My sister has a leg shorter than another, which contributes to the pain she's in. But then again, she also has severe juvenille arthritis (been on Vioxx for 4 years now - since she was 14 or so) and has TERRIBLE posture, so the leg thing is kind of secondary to all that. She does have inserts, though, which help her a bit.
I don't know about my legs, but if it comes to different sized body parts, my feet aren't the same size. I buy size 9 shoes, but my right foot is really loose in them - it's more comfortable in 8 or 8.5 size. But then my left foot is squished. I have yet to come across a store that will let me buy one of both :D
Boo Boo Foo
07-19-2002, 11:00 PM
G'day guys. Humble Aussie guy offers some personal insights now...
(1) I'm a former road racing cyclist at the international level (but in the amateur ranks - not the Pros) During my time, I attended our national Institute of Sport whereupon it was measured quite scientifically that my left leg was 0.75" longer than my right. It didn't affect my cycling performance oddly enough, or my running when I was track athlete.
(2) Being on a racing bike hunched over for up to 6 hours or more can naturally make your lower back stiff. As I got older, this stiffness used to manifest itself more and more often.
(3) Obviously, my left hip is kinda pushed up more than my right. Here's a test to do. Stand flat back against a wall, raise your right knee up to your chest and stretch your left hand up as high as you can go and get someone to note the highwater mark. Then do the same thing with your left knee raised and your right arm strecthed upwards. Within reason, what you're measuring here is how far either side of your body can stretch. If your high water marks are identical, lucky you! But most people are out by a quarter of an inch, and I'm out by 3/4 of an inch. Invariably, the higher hand indicates that that side of your body has a longer leg.
(4) What have I discovered now that I'm 40 years old? OK, first and foremost - be aware of something my friends. The lower back is an astonishingly intricate area of tendons, muscles and ligaments. It is way, way more complex that your ankle ligaments for example. One of the great traps that all of us humans fall into as we get older is that we get lazy, and we stretch less and less and less. Slowly but surely, all those lovely ligaments in your lower back get stiffer and stiffer and less flexible.
(5) Stretch guys! Do lots and lots of stretching. Of all the things you can do as a human being to aid in your quality of lifestyle as you get older - regardless of your body weight or how fit you are - is to just plain stretch - all the time. And you don't have to buy exercise tapes or go to yoga classes to learn how to do it. You only have to ask some questions of someone who knows anything about sport and they'll teach you some good practical poses. Please note something too: Contrary to popular myth, it's never too late to start.
(6) When I get a sore lower back nowadays, almost 100% of the time it's a slight muscle strain in my lower left side which reduces my ability to straighten my spine vertically and the left hip becomes more pronounced. I've found that precaution is better than the cure and a combination of regular stretching and movement patterns wards off such strains - but still I do silly things occasionally like not assuming the correct posture over the washing machine for example. When this happens, this is what I've found works really well for me - it might not for you but I reckon it would for most folks - I hop on my inversion machine. This is a machine which kinda locks you in by the feet and you then swivel back and slowly approach something like hanging upside down. I like to totally hang free and do some swivels and really stretch out my spine by using gravity to my advantage. Remember, most of us walk upright all the time so gravity tends to push DOWN on our spines - by hanging upside down by your feet, you get gravity to PULL on your spine and if you've never done this even once in your life, trust me when I say this - the first time you stand up after having all your vertebrae have a nice stretch out it'll be like someone gave you a new body - it is THAT rewarding.
(7) Posture - avoid chairs which make you slump. Even if you do my Point (6) above, within 4 hours a slumping posture inducing chair will have pulled your verrtebrae back out of line such is the nature of muscle strains in the lower back.
(8) In short, aim for the following - supplicity, lower back strength, good posture and precaution. Oh, and get an inversion machine - they're bliss!
Thanks guys. Best of luck.
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