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Spine and Back Health

Fused C2-C3 and one leg/hip 11mm longer

08/16/2010

Question:

My son just called to say he went to a chiropractor and had x-rays that showed his C2-C3 vertebrae were fused. What kind of physical therapy should he be doing? What would cause this?

Also, his right hip is 11 mm longer than the left. The doctor recommended a special shoe as a possible correction. Are these two things related? What kind of doctor should he be seeing? He is 26 yrs old and has no health insurance.

Answer:

David Hart, MD

Hello, thank you for your question. The two things would not be directly causally related (in other words, the fused C2-3 wouldn’t cause one leg to be longer than the other), but it’s possible both problems are caused by some underlying congenital problem. Having fused C2-3 vertebra doesn’t necessarily cause people any particular problems – we usually just find it by accident when someone has an x-ray done for some reason. In most cases the cause is unknown. You didn’t mention why he’s seeing a chiro in the first place, but if it’s neck pain it’s unlikely that this abnormality is the cause of the problem. As for the hip/leg issue, usually a physical therapist can evaluate that problem. If referral to a specialist is necessary, usually an orthopedist would be the best bet. Good luck.

NetWellness Staff:

The US Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Primary Health Care has a directory that will help you find a clinic that will give you medical, including dental care, even if you have no medical insurance or money.

Coverage For All.org also contains information about free medical care and programs in your area.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University