A patient got off the table the other day after an adjustment and asked, “Why are you looking at my feet when you said the problem was in my neck?”
In our office we take great measures to explain the why behind the what, however, apparently I missed this one simple thing.
When your body is under stress it tries to cope with it in the most efficient manner. There are 3 categories of stress; physical, chemical, and emotional. Each impacts us on a regular basis, but in different amounts. It could be relationship stress with a spouse, chemicals from pesticides on our food, or sitting day in and out at our desk. When any or all of these stressors overload the nervous system, the body blows a fuse just like an electrical circuit. This stress over activates the nervous system housed within the spine because it is the main circuit board of the body.
This stress on your spine is always a combination of bone, muscle, disc, and nerve because the nerves control everything in the body. What we see is a misalignment in the spine that we call a subluxation. This small misalignment affects posture and balance in the body and can show up as one leg being shorter than the other when lying face down (this is via the vestibulospinal descending cortical tract). By adjusting the spine, we remove the stress and allow for proper communication between the brain and the body and balance to be restored. This is why we are looking at the feet because we are looking for them to balance.
What if my leg is anatomically shorter then the other? In an X-ray study of 1000 military personnel, average leg length difference was 7mm. Over 77% of the population had leg length inequalities that led to pelvic tilt and a functional scoliosis. This means that the scoliotic curve in some people’s spines is correctable using proper chiropractic adjustments! This is commonly known as a pelvic deficiency and the body can compensate and balance a leg length deficiency of up to 15mm.
The study also found that leg length inequalities greater than 5mm were associated with the greatest low back pain and disability. If you don’t believe in research or are just curious, have a family member lie down on their stomach and check to see if their heels line up. If they do not line up send them to their chiropractor ASAP!