Humpty Dumpty Syndrome: Corrrecting Low Back Pain by Harry Oxenhandler, M.D.

This article is for anyone who suffers with chronic lower back pain or recurrent back pain that comes and goes several times a year. It is written for the millions of low back pain sufferers who have been to one health care professional after another, have tried many different kinds of treatment, have been given several diagnoses, have tried all kinds of medications, have spent several thousands of dollars and still have low back pain. If you are one of these people, you probably have “Humpty Dumpty Syndrome.” The good news is that there may be an honest-to goodness answer to your dilemma.

Two out of every three people who have Chronic/Recurrent Low Back Pain (C/RLBP) have a condition known as “Pelvic Tilt.” If you have C/RLBP, you probably have “Pelvic Tilt” and don’t even know it. Chances are that your health care professional has never even heard of “Pelvic Tilt” which is frequently overlooked and therefore often misdiagnosed by health professionals. So, the patient winds up going to one doctor after another, searching for relief, which may be just a simple screening test and an x ray away.

Pelvic Tilt is a condition in which either the right side of your pelvis is higher than the left side or the left side of your pelvis is higher than the right side. Why is this condition important? It’s important because a tilted pelvis has a greater tendency to “lock up” than a pelvis that is level or not tilted.
Try this simple experiment. Stand in front of a mirror so that you can see your shoulders, head and neck. Stand straight. Now, watching yourself in the mirror, Tilt your head to one side, so that you are bringing your ear closer to your shoulder. Try not to turn your head, just tilt it until it won’t tilt any farther. When you reach the point where you are unable to tilt your head any farther, you are experiencing a “locked” neck. The joints of your neck vertebrae have reached their limit of motion in that direction.
A similar thing happens in your lower back. The presence of a Pelvic Tilt can cause the joints of the lumbar spine, the sacrum and the pelvis to reach the point where they, too, can no longer move in a certain direction. A “locked” pelvis results. The symptoms of C/RLBP manifest depending upon three factors: the amount of Pelvic Tilt, the age of the patient and how stiff or inflexible the patient is with regard to his/her muscles.

Diagnosis is easy. A simple screening test is to have someone sit behind you (the examiner) while you are standing up straight in your bare feet. The examiner places his/her hands on the tops of the your hip (waist) bones. Then the examiner lowers his/her head so that the examiners eyes are level with his/her hands and the examiner looks to see if the hands are level. If one of the hands is higher than the other, a Pelvic Tilt may be present. The surest way to diagnose a Pelvic Tilt, however, is to take a standing x-ray of your pelvis, both front and side views, while the patient is barefooted. In this way, it is easy to tell whether a Pelvic Tilt is present and, if so, exactly how much. Notice that I didn’t say a thing about a “short leg.” Many people have been told that they have a “short leg” and that this is the cause of their lower back pain. Forget about whether one leg is shorter than the other. What is most important is whether or not a Pelvic Tilt is present.

What is the cause of Pelvic Tilt? Well, we just don’t know. Assume that you just grew that way. The body is not the same on both sides. An examination of your own body will show you that, perhaps, one hand or foot or eye or breast may not be the same size as the other. One profile of your face may look different from the other. The same applies to your pelvis. One side may be higher than the other. However, if you do discover that you have a Pelvic Tilt, how should it be treated? Simply put a heel lift in your shoe. You can have one made at your local shoe repair shop and, often, it can be purchased for less than $10.00. The heel lift is a wedge made of hard leather or hard rubber and it fits inside the heel portion of the shoe that corresponds with the lower side of your pelvis. The amount of Pelvic Tilt present on the x-ray determines how thick the heel lift should be. In addition to the heel lift, spinal manipulation and specific stretching exercises should be administered by a skilled health professional. After a few months of the above treatment regimen, say goodbye to low back pain!

Dr. Oxenhandler, author of “The Humpty Dumpty Syndrome,” is an M.D. with 36 years of experience. He specializes in the treatment of chronic pain utilizing western medicine, spinal manipulation, acupuncture. To order his book, visit your local bookstore or for more info.