727 Route 481

Monongahela, PA 15063



February 2011

Inside this Issue

#1 Cause of Low Back Pain

Short Leg


Chiropractic; A Wise Investment in Your Future

Office/Insurance News

Are You Experiencing the #1 Cause of Low Back Pain?

The most common condition I treat in the office, without question, is Sacroiliac Joint Syndrome .  It involves one or both of the joints near the dimples of the lower back which connect the hipbones to the tailbone.  These joints are supported by some of the strongest ligaments in our bodies because we use them constantly while walking, bending, twisting, and getting up and down.  Despite their strength, sooner or later, constant wear and tear leads to injury.

Sacroiliac injuries can be extremely painful and restricting.  Common symptoms of sacroiliac syndrome include pain while getting up after sitting or sleeping, difficulty in activities such as going up or down steps, getting into or out of the car, rolling over in bed, gardening, and twisting activities such as swinging a golf club or baseball bat.  Pain occurs primarily in the low back, though sciatic (pain in the leg) frequently accompanies it.

Common signs include a short leg, one hip higher than the other, muscle weakness, spasms, or imbalances in the low back, hip or knee.  Disc problems often develop because malfunctioning sacroiliac joints increase the stress on the discs, resulting in bulges or herniations.

Fortunately, sacroiliac problems are easy to identify and generally respond exceptionally well to chiropractic care.  They occur in both children and adults.  They are nearly as epidemic as cavities in teeth!

Sacroiliac syndrome is clearly the most common condition I see as a Chiropractor.  Keeping the sacroiliac joints functioning well with periodic chiropractic adjustments is essential to a healthy, active lifestyle.

“It is better to fall short of a high mark than to reach a low one.” – H.C. Payne

I Have a Short Leg?

Having one leg shorter than the other is a relatively common situation that can affect you in more ways than you think.  A short leg predisposes you to painful conditions such as:

  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Low back pain
  • Sciatica
  • “Restless leg” syndrome
  • “Growing pains” in children

Left untreated, a short leg can result, over time, in disc herniations or severely arthritic hips, as the body is pushed beyond its ability to compensate for the uneven stress.

Two causes of short legs

Short legs can be grouped into two types, anatomical and functional.  An anatomical short leg is a result of uneven bone lengths present at birth or arising form bone trauma during growth.  The second type, acquired functional short leg, is caused by muscle imbalances or misaligned joints in the legs or spine.  These can be corrected with chiropractic adjustments and exercises.

Your body can compensate for a short leg.  You may not realize you have one until your body can no longer adapt and you find yourself with one of the conditions listed above.

How to tell if you have one

You can, however, discover for yourself if you have a short leg by using the following procedure with the help of a friend.  Lay down on your stomach on a bed or bench.  The other person cups their hands around the heels of your shoes and pushes your feet toward your hips until the slack is out.  Comparing your heels will show whether or not a leg is short.

Another method is simply by comparing where your pant legs fall in a mirror.  Many people have found they have been hemming one leg higher than the other.

Chiropractic care is unique in its approach to correcting short legs.  Spinal and leg joint adjustments can correct the uneven leg lengths and help provide relief from associated symptoms.  Getting into the habit of checking your family for short legs can result in early detection and prevent more serious, painful leg and spinal conditions from developing.

Research facts on Short Legs

In one study, people with chronic low back pain were up to 5 times more likely to have a short leg.  People with uneven leg lengths tend to have hip pain and arthritis on the long leg side.  Chronic knee pain and arthritis occur commonly on the short leg side.

- Manual of Medicine

Uneven leg lengths may be a major contributing factor in the development of degenerative hip disease.

- “Studies in Osteoarthritis of the Hip”, Canadian Medical Association Journal

79% of patients going for back surgery due to herniated discs had a short leg.  The majority of them had sciatica pain radiating into the short leg.

- Spine Journal

Frequently Asked Question:

Why do my problems come back?

Q :        Yes, I feel much better when I get adjusted but why do my same problems seem to return again over time?

A :         This is a very common and reasonable question I hear in the office.  While there are several explanations for why your condition comes back, here are 3 of the most common:

1. Scar Tissue

Any “soft tissue” (ligaments, muscles, skin) injury heals with scar tissue.  It is a generic patch-up tissue the body uses.  While it helps repair damaged areas, it is not the same as the original tissue.  Scar tissue has 3 main disadvantages:

a. It is weaker

b. It is less flexible

c. It is more pain sensitive

Even with the best recovery possible, an area healed with scar tissue is more vulnerable to recurrences or flare-ups.

2. Decay/Degeneration

Some tissues of the body suffer permanent damage either from major trauma, repetitive stress, or long-term wear-and-tear. Tooth decay is probably the best understood example of this.  Disc degeneration in the spine is nearly as common.  Once the damage is done, the involved joint will tend to keep mis-aligning and locking up.

Chiropractic care is like dentures for the teeth.  It can make your spine work better and function closer to normal.  It can mean the difference between back surgery and a decline in your activity level or maintaining a nearly normal lifestyle.  Many of you have significant disc damage in your spine and still get excellent results from your care.  But like a higher mileage vehicle, your spine is “high maintenance”.

3. Lifestyle

Some problems are created over and over again by your everyday activities.  Prolonged sitting at a computer, mental/emotional stress, swinging a golf club or baseball bat, lots of  bending and  twisting at work, are just a few examples.  Chiropractic care helps keep things functioning and feeling better but it is an ongoing battle against daily wear and tear.

Chiropractic Care: A Wise Investment for Your Future

So even though many conditions require periodic check-ups and adjustments, the benefit is that you can feel your best and remain more active.  How long you choose to benefit from care is always up to you.  Making spinal care a regular part of your healthy lifestyle is a wise investment in your health now and for the years to come.

“I did a lot of things to stay in the game, but regular visits to my chiropractor were among the most important.” – Jerry Rice, NFL Hall of Fame

*You can read more about Jerry Rice’s chiropractic experience at www.yes2chiropractic.com*


As we have started a new year, we want to remind you of a few items:

  • If you have received a new insurance card  OR switched to a new insurance, please inform Colleen or Julie so that we have a current copy of your insurance information.
  • All co-payments are expected at the time of service.
  • You may be asked to sign a 2011 authorization form that gives us permissio to send claims into your insurance.  This is a standard form that most insurances require on a yearly basis.
  • We hope to switch to a new billing system within the next two months.  We are looking for one with a simpler, easier to understand format.  Please do not hesitate to call and discuss any billing questions and concerns.

Upcoming Dates of Office Hour Changes

Monday, February 14 th – Office Hours:  9am to 4pm

Saturday, February 26 th – Office CLOSED (Dr. away)

Monday, February 28 th – Office Hours:  3pm to 7pm

* * * * * * *

Thursday, March 3 rd – Office Hours: 2pm to 6pm

Who’s Who in the Office?

Still trying to figure out who’s who at the front desk?  Colleen works on Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays and Julie works Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  To help you remember, Colleen has short, light brown hair and Julie has long, dark brown hair.  They both are crazy animal-lovers; Colleen loves cats and Julie loves dogs, but unfortunately that won’t help to distinguish between them.  We hope this helps, and might prevent us from having to get name tags! J

Ringgold High School Musical

RHS presents “Guys and Dolls” on Thursday, March 3 rd thru Saturday, March 5 th .  Evening shows begin at 7:00pm with an afternoon show on Saturday at 2:00pm.  My son, Joseph, a senior this year, is in the show.  Some of you remember him as that little boy playing with toys in the treatment rooms.  I invite you to come out and see how he’s grown!  Hope to see you there.

Purchase tickets at www.ringgold.org.

Dr. Stephen J. Wohar

727 Route 481

Monongahela , PA  15063

www.drstevewohar.com [email protected]

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