Some simple tests to tell if you (or others) have spinal nerve stress.

Are the 26 bones of your spinal column properly aligned? Do you have good posture? Are there any easy ways to find out? Years of training and experience, combined with the use of x-rays, hands-on palpation and other tools, are the way your D.C. (chiropractor) detects spinal nerve stress, but there are some simple things you can do at home.

  • Dual Scales. Stand on two bathroom scales. The weight distribution should be about the same over each foot. If it is not, that's a good sign that your spine, hips or head are off-center.


  • Leg Length Inequality. One sign of postural imbalance is leg length inequality (LLI), or a short leg. Except in rare cases (an improperly healed broken bone or muscle or joint disease), both legs are the same length. But when your skeleton is out of alignment, you give the appearance of having a short leg.

    For this test you need an assistant. Keep your shoes on, lie face down. The tester stands behind you, looks down at your feet and gently pushes the soles towards your head and compares where the heels meet the shoes. One foot (it's often the right) may appear anywhere from 1/8" to 3/4" shorter than the other (D. Seeman,, "Bilateral weight differential and functional short leg: An analysis of pre- and post-data after reduction of an atlas subluxation." Chiropractic Research Journal, 2:3, 1993).


  • Foot Flare. This test is easy as long as you don't unconsciously correct yourself (in other words, no cheating). Merely look at your feet as you walk down the street. Do they both point forwards, or does one foot appear to be facing outwards, or inward? Do both? Foot flare may be a sign of a problem in the lower spine or hips, or could signify stress along the length of the entire spine beginning at the base of the brain (meningeal tension).


  • Unbalanced Shoulders or Hips. This is an easy test. Stand in front of a mirror, pick the same point on both hips and shoulders (against a bone is a good place), and place a mark on the mirror. Then stand back and compare the two points (connect the dots if you like). The points should be level.


  • Head unbalanced. Have a photo taken of yourself standing in front of a bare wall or other blank background. Using a ruler, draw a straight horizontal line between your hips, and draw a vertical line from the center of your hips up to your head. Does your head line-up evenly with the center of your hips, or is it off center? Do the same with a photo taken from the side; draw a vertical line from the center of your hips to your head. Is your head forwards or backwards? Show the photo to your chiropractor and discuss it.


  • Range of Motion. Can you tilt and rotate your head without any pain or restrictive feeling? How about your hips? Both sides should have the same range of motion and be pain free, without any joint-clicking noises.


  • Other super-easy ways to tell. If the answer to any of these questions is "yes" see your chiropractor: 
    • Do your heels wear out unevenly?
    • Does it look like your head is tilted??
    • Does one foot kick your other pants leg or foot when you walk?
    • Do you veer to one side when you walk?
    • Do you feel off-balance?

    Also, the next time you get clothes measured, ask your tailor if you have any shoulder, arm, or leg imbalances; the tailor compensates for these discrepancies all the time. (You'd be amazed how common spine and postural imbalances are.)

Why are these tests important?

Testing the health of your spine is important because spinal imbalances abnormally stress bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and discs, leading to unnatural wear and tear, fatigue, and pain. The abnormal stress irritates the nervous system, (which is literally your body's life line of information) and alters body function, causing dis-ease and, in time, over years, ultimately causes outright disease. Your movements become stiff and halting, you look older and suffer from premature aging. Your good health depends upon becoming more "spine-aware," to bring about maximum healing and wholeness.