Updated: Aug 22, 2020
A common cause of low back pain, and even knee pain, is a misalignment of the hips. What can cause that misalignment? Well, there are a few things actually. First, you could have a leg length difference. There are two types of leg length issues: anatomical and functional. An anatomical short leg cannot be changed. Your body just grew that way. Maybe you had an injury to a growth plate in your leg as a child or had a devastating injury as an adult like breaking your femur, or maybe your legs just grew in at different lengths. A functional short leg results from an unstable pelvis that continues to tip anterior or posterior (front or back). Most anatomical leg length issues can be corrected with the use of a heel lift or custom orthotic, while a functional short leg can be corrected with consistent chiropractic care. Here are some ways you can determine exactly what is causing your pain…
Step 1: Confirm that your hips are misaligned
Go see a chiropractor and have x-rays taken of your low back. These x-rays will show both an anatomical and a functional leg length discrepancy if one or both are present. This information will help the doctor narrow down what needs to be done to correct the problem.
Step 2: Assess your pain
Hip misalignment tends to cause pain in one or more of three areas:
- Hip joint: when the hips are misaligned, more stress can be added to the side that has dropped which can decrease the joint space of that hip causing pain. - Low back: misalignment of the hips or pelvis is often associated with hyperextension of the low back, tightness in the muscles of the low back, and weakness of the abdominal muscles. - Knee: stress is added to the knee when the hips or pelvis are misaligned causing the body weight to shift primarily to one side. When that happens, the added weight can cause strain on the medial (inside) knee and cause pain.
Step 3: Assess your posture