Chiropractors/No chronic pain, but I was given a 12 mm heel ift
At 50 years old, I recently made my first trip to a chiropractor after an out-of-state massage therapist suggested it. I have never been in an accident, nor had any injuries, and I have no chronic pain. Several evaluations were done, including xrays and I went back in two days for the report.
I knew I had a sway back, but the images also showed some scoliosis with the right side of my pelvis slightly lower and tipped towards the left. The xray indicated some injury had previously occurred in the left pelvic region, I had a spur on the left and right pelvis, and the beginnings of arthritis on the right side. I was given a 12mm heel lift and told to wear it all day except for a 4-hour window in the middle of the day when I was to wear it on the left. Some adjustments were made to my mid-back and my neck was popped/cracked, I was told I needed a whole body vibration machine, spent 12-minutes on the spinalator's highest setting and told to come back in a week.
I explained everything to my spouse and was surprised to hear that at his initial visit several years prior (with the same chiropractor), he had essentially been given the same recommendations (but a slightly lower heel lift) even though he has different problems: has been in a car accident, chronic knee pain, ribs that pop out of place. He was not told he had scoliosis, but was told he needed a whole body vibration machine and spent time on the spinalator.
The fact that we had both been given essentially the same recommendations concerned me, and as an online researcher, I discovered that there is a big debate of the use of heel lifts and the height they should be. It was mentioned that my right leg appeared slightly shorter than my left, but the chiropractor said he did not think there was an actual difference; this comment would lead me to believe I have FSL, not ALLI (as I have read about), but I was not specifically told that, nor did I ask.
I return next week, and have many questions for the chiropractor, but would like an expert opinion specifically on the use of the heel lift since I have no chronic pain now; I don't want the use of the lift to lead to chronic pain, and I do not understand the purpose of wearing it for 4 hours on the left, which is extremely awkward and affects my balance. I am also curious if I should actively pursue a second opinion.
I was really impressed with you knowing a functional short leg is. This may be a case where you really do know enough. I do not want to disparage your chiropractor since he examined you and I am going on limited information. Having said that here it goes.
You could benefit from chiropractic care in light of the arthritic changes you described. A good chiropractic adjustment will increase mobility. Arthritis is 3 things; lack of mobility, increased pain and wearing away of the joint. By increasing the joint's mobility you can slow down the progression of arthritis.
I am concerned that your wife got the same recommendation as you did. However if one of my patients were to write in they might be able to say the same thing about me since we all tend to use treatements we have found effective.. So lets be fair to your chiropractor.
I personally evaluated whole body vibration. The science behind it is solid. The Russian Space program used it to increase muscle mass for cosmonauts on long term missions. Are you being sold one? Tell him or her you are not interested or that you would use the one your spouse purchased several years back. I am not a fan of patients becoming retail clients.
As for the heel lifts, I am in your corner that you probably have a FSL. Trying to change your body now by using heel lifts may bring about more pain then you bargained for. But that is my opinion. I would probably send you to a Podiatrist for a foot evaluation. I can fit for orthotics which encompass more of the foot than just a heel lift.I prefer to get a another opinion from the Podiatrist. That is more of my thing though. When you are a hammer all you see is nails.
So when I see a patient I see certain things and after 25 years they can look familiar to the patient. I hope the main thing is that your chiro does a good job for you. I feel you need to see results after 4 weeks of treatment. If not you need to try some other course of care.
To answer your main concern,I am in agreement with you that since you do not have a chronic condition you should forgo the use of heel lifts. The balance issue you are experiencing may be temporary but what if it is not. You have a problem now that you did not have before. So I hope I did not throw your chiro under the bus. I also hoped this helped you.
Dr. Brian McKay
Darien Chiropractor Brian McKay