Do your joints "click?" Do your feet flare out or in when you walk? Is one leg shorter than the other? Do you have leg, knee, buttock, hip or low back weakness or pain? Many people suffering from these disorders have turned to a different approach to health care: chiropractic. Chiropractic is a different approach because it is not a treatment for a specific disease or condition but a health care system whose goal is to unleash your natural healing ability by correcting a condition that many people suffer from: the vertebral subluxation complex. This common condition jams or locks your spinal joints, irritates, stretches or compresses ("pinches") your nerves, unbalances your posture, weakens your discs, ligaments, tendons and muscles, and interferes with your ability to adapt to your environment. As terrible as this condition sounds, it is often initially painless.

Your Hips and Pelvis
Each of your hip bones was originally three separate bones in infancy - the ileum, ischium and pubis - which fused at about puberty. Behind your hip bones is the sacrum and coccyx; in front the pubic bones join. Together your hips, sacrum and coccyx make up your pelvis. A woman's pelvis is wider than a man's, has a larger inlet for delivering babies and is more curved. A man's pelvis is more massive, narrower and has greater height.

Your Hip Joints
You have a few hip joints. One of them is a ball-and-socket joint where the head ("ball") of the thigh bone meets the acetabulum ("socket") of the hip. Another is the sacroiliac (SI) joint, formed where the sacrum and the ilium of the hip meet. And another is the symphysis pubis, where the pubic bones meet in the front. (They separate a little during childbirth so the pelvic cavity can enlarge.)

Lower Back, Buttock and Thigh Pain
Studies have implicated an unbalanced hip in most adults with low back pain. "Dysfunction in the hip joint may be a primary factor in the development of mechanical lower back pain," says one report. Another states, "...On confronting a patient in severe pain of sciatic (leg pain) distribution, the first thought should be "sacroiliac" not "disc"...(With) manipulation...surgical treatment is forgotten." The nerves originating from the spinal column in the lower back and hips travel to the bladder, kidneys, prostate, vagina and pelvic organs, uterus and lower intestines...it is very important to ensure that the nerves to these organs are free of any irritation, compression or stress.

Leg Length Inequality
When your hips are uneven, your legs become uneven; one appears longer than the other. This is most noticeable when you lie down and is often used as a chiropractic test. More pressure is placed on the long leg when you walk, the knees, hips, ankle and feet on that side of your body may show pain and pressure.

During pregnancy, there is increased flexibility and instability of the hip joints. For that reason, chiropractors have observed that chiropractic spinal care may be particularly helpful for pregnant women (as well as after pregnancy). A properly aligned SI joint, hip and spine will help ensure a more comfortable pregnancy, a safer and easier delivery and post-partum recovery.

Children's Hip Problems
Since childhood is a very physical time full of falls, accidents, cuts, scrapes and occasional serious injuries, children should have their spines checked, including their hips, their leg lengths and their SI or sacroiliac joints by a doctor of chiropractic to ensure they are free of subluxations. Chiropractors and body therapists have often observed that a stressful birth could damage a child's spine and could cause problems in adult life if not corrected.

A chiropractic spinal checkup should be part of everyone's health care regime, especially children and pregnant women, since sacroiliac and lower back problems may have their origins in childhood. The stress of pregnancy and trauma of childbirth can cause spinal problems.

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