Part 1 of the Short Leg blog published in January focused on many factors responsible for a short leg. The main functional factors in that article were addressed. They are:
– The feet;
– The eyes;
– The skin;
– The stomatognathic system.
In the context of Posturology, they are called the big 4 and they are the first factors are assessed and treated to achieve structural balance.
Yet this list is, I believe, incomplete.
I will add three factors to assess:
– Dental focal infections;
– Galvanic current;
– Inter-hemispheric connectivity.
Dental focal infections
A dental focal infection is a site characterized by a local site of infection that disseminates microorganisms or their toxins to distal locations. A second infection then initiates, sustains or worsens systemic diseases that are usually chronic.
Most crowns and bridges are performed on devitalized teeth. A devitalized tooth is one where the dentist removed nerves and blood vessels and that has been stoppered with an antiseptic paste. This technique allows the dentist to preserve a tooth, yet maybe that tooth should not be preserved if it is to cause ailments in the body.
A devitalized tooth is a dead organ. Normally, medicine does not tolerate dead organs in the body. An exception was made for devitalized teeth.
Dental decay, sites of tooth extractions and root canal therapy can be indicated as the initial site of infection.
The topic of dental focal infections, throughout history, has been controversial. In the early 1920’s, physicians had already interpreted pus within a bodily compartment as a systemic threat, yet pus from infected tooth roots often drained into the mouth and was thought to be inconsequential. It was understood at the time that the immune system response could prevent dissemination from the focus. Yet, when the immune system response was not sufficient, systemic disease, often neurological, was reported.
Then came along Weston A. Price, a dentist from Cleveland, Ohio. In 1925, he wrote an article for the Journal of the American Medical Association where he concluded that after root canal therapy, teeth routinely host bacteria producing potent toxins. Transplanting the teeth into healthy rabbits, Price and his researchers duplicated heart and arthritic diseases.
So if these dental focal infections could be present in your mouth, how would you know? Well, in 1911, dental X-rays were used to reveal them.
Between 1930 and 1950, the focal infection theory was severely questioned and criticized. Yet, the theory was never completely dismissed.
A revival and evolution of the theory was seen as of 1980 up until now. By 2010, the Human Microbiobe Project contributed to the dental infection theory. The Project helped provide crucial, mounting evidence that, within human bodies, microorganisms and bacteria contributed to diverse diseases.
So if devitalized teeth presenting with focal dental infections can possibly create systemic conditions or contribute to them, how are they to affect the analysis of the postural system and a possible short leg? The answer is the neurology of the tooth itself!
The trigeminal nerve (CN V), via its branches, innervates the teeth.
– Maxillary nerve (V2): carries sensory information from the lower eyelids and cheek, the upper teeth and gums, as well as the nasal mucosa, the palate and roof of the pharynx and sinuses.
– Mandibular nerve (V3): carries sensory information from the lower lip, the lower teeth and gums, the chin and the jaw.
Once this sensory information reaches the brainstem, it can project to the other nucleus of the brainstem via a specific pathway entitled the fasciculus longitudinalis medialis (FML). From there on, the nucleus of the eye musculature (CN III, IV, and VI) as well as the nucleus of the cranial nerve for key neck muscles (CN XI) can be affected by this abnormal sensory stream from CN V and consequences can be postural imbalances.
When assessing and treating a short leg, a dental focal infection can be a functional factor that can alter the position of the pelvis, for example, and not allow the practitioner to identify with precision a leg-length discrepancy, unless it is neutralized.
Most metals found in your mouth have the ability to create an electrical charge. This charge can be responsible for numerous side effects.
A galvanic current is a condition created by the presence of dissimilar metals in the oral cavity of the teeth and gums, with saliva acting as an electrolyte.
Galvanisms can create tooth sensitivity as well as a metallic or salty taste in the mouth. There can also be an increase in salivary secretion, and burning or tingling sensation of the tongue.
On a systemic level, complications can include headaches, chronic fatigue, memory loss, sleep deprivation and even irritability due to its effects on the central nervous system.
The brain operates on 7 to 9 nano-amps, which is 1000 times weaker than the currents resulting from non-precious metals found in the oral cavity. Since the teeth are less than 2 inches from the brain, it is a concern that adding this much excess electrical activity has the potential of creating mis-directed impulses in the brain.
A galvanic current can be measured, thankfully. A dentist utilizing a specific meter can do so. If the current is excessive, he can then test for heavy metal toxicity before removing one of these metals responsible for the current. My choice for such a dentist in Montreal is Dr. Daniel Laramée.
So how can a galvanic current interfere with the assessment and treatment of a leg-length discrepancy? If there is a possibility that brain activity is disturbed, it would make sense that the frontal lobe can be affected. In fact, the frontal lobe is the closest to the mouth and the frontal lobe is responsible for voluntary movement. That being said, muscle activity can be altered and that can change a reading for a potential short leg treatment.
There are a few structures in the brain that link both hemispheres into a functional unit. The main structure is the corpus callosum. It is a wide, flat bundle of neural fibers beneath the cortex. It connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres.
The corpus callosum is made up of different parts:
– The posterior part is the splenium. It communicates somatosensory information between the two halves of the parietal lobe and visual center at the occipital lobe.
– The anterior part is the genu. Axons in the genu connect the prefrontal cortex, responsible for projection to the frontal cortex, which produces movements.
– The middle part is the truncus. It connects the premotor and supplementary motor regions and motor cortex.
3. Body (truncus)
Essentially, the corpus callosum is involved in the many steps that allow us to produce movements.
On a global level, it is responsible for communication between brain hemispheres. It is also responsible for eye movement as well as maintaining balance.
The very network of fibers that links the two hemispheres, in its activation, is the result of our motor upbringing. Essentially, if we crawled before we walked, if we were spending more time at the park than in front of a television, there can be a chance that we have developed a good volume of connections between the two hemispheres via the corpus callosum, for example.
Clinical experience shows me that most adults who appear quite functional aren’t as connected as you would expect. That being said, their inter-hemispheric activity is often weak.
How can this affect the reading of a potential short leg, you may ask? If there is a lack of connectivity between the cerebral hemispheres, it will affect the capacity of the motor areas to connect to the musculature via the pyramidal tracts. This will alter the strategy of the involuntary motor system to keep you upright. In essence, it will create postural imbalances that are functional. To get a good glimpse at a structural factor, functional factors need to be out of the way. One fast and efficient way of managing this factor is to perform the Brain Exercises or any other exercise that works on inter-hemispheric connectivity.
So here you have it! A complete assessment of a possible leg-length discrepancy is a lot more that a frontal plane X-ray!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the topic that is the short leg!