A short leg, or leg length inequality, can and often does cause an imbalance in the lower back. A leg length deficiency most often is a contributing factor in the causation of lower back pain.
With leg length inequality there will usually be pelvic tilting. The side of the lower pelvis will almost always correspond to the short leg side. With a tilted pelvis the sacrum will tilt as well. Now there is no longer a level base for the spine to rest upon. Therefore, the lumbar spine will usually curve toward the short side. This will create what is commonly known as a scoliosis or curvature of the lumbar spine.
Your eyes are always trying to remain level with the ground. If the lumbar spine would not be able to curve when there is pelvic tilting then your eyes would not be level with the ground when attempting to stand erect.
If your lumbar spine did not have this ability to adapt to the imbalance then you would be standing and walking with an obvious lean to the short side. You would look like the leaning Tower of Pisa.
This curvature is possible only because nature developed your spine as a movable set of blocks known as your vertebrae, or spinal column, to allow for dynamic motion. If your spine was rigid and immobile, consisting of one long bone, then you would not be able to bend, twist or turn. You would be like a "stick man".
A short leg will set off a series of reactions that is your body's way of adapting to this imbalance-trying to maintain balance.
This series of reactions would look something like this:
short leg > pelvic tilt > muscle imbalance > lumbar scoliosis
The result would be joint arthritis, disc degeneration, facet arthritis, trigger points and pain.
Using the above example of a serial reaction to a short leg we would now have this scenario:
short leg > pelvic tilt (hip arthritis) > muscle imbalance (trigger points) > lumbar scoliosis (misalignment) > destructive reactions (DDD, facet arthritis/syndrome) = chronic lower back pain
So throughout your life you will suffer with chronic or recurrent chronic lower back pain. If the leg inequality would have been identified soon enough many, if not all, of these problems could have been averted.
This could have saved you years of pain and thousands of dollars. It would have also allowed for a more productive life and better overall health and well-being.
Instead, you have years or a lifetime of pain. Your health and well-being declines due to your inability to perform fitness exercises or simply stay active. You will have a less enjoyable life because you were unable to engage in an active lifestyle. Even the simple act of sitting or standing may be painful or uncomfortable.
Years of ingesting prescription and non-prescription drugs may cause you to develop kidney disease, ulcers, anemia, liver disease, more or accelerated arthritis due to cartilage degeneration, and possibly a shorter lifespan.
Yet, after thousands of dollars spent on healthcare, hours and hours wasted at the doctors office, pill after pill swallowed causing harm to your body, x-ray after x-ray, test after test in a futile attempt to find the cause you end up with a lifetime of pain and misery. Maybe as a last resort you elect to have surgery.
Your quality of life ends up less than what it could have been. When the answer may have simply been a ten dollar heel lift.
What a shame. Certainly not how you wanted to spend your life.
Pelvic Tilt - Short Left Leg
Level Pelvis With Heel Lift
But it's not too late. A heel lift can be tried anytime. Yes, the sooner the better. The sooner used, if needed, the better the long-term outcome will be.