Lordosis is one of the most common spinal conditions people face, affecting people of all age groups and backgrounds. Although everyone’s spine naturally curves at the neck, upper back, and lower back, individuals with lordosis have an inward curvature either at the low or upper back. If your spine arches forward in the low back region, you may have lumbar lordosis, whereas those with this curvature in the upper back have cervical lordosis.
Lumbar lordosis is also referred to as sway back, as the spine and pelvis are pushed forward, creating a large curve in the back. Not only can this cause mild to moderate pain and discomfort, but it can also affect how you move. Getting diagnosed and treated early on is imperative for those with lordosis, as ignoring your symptoms may cause more damage down the road.
What is Lordosis?
If you look at a normal spine from the back, you will notice it should appear straight and uniform. When looking at the spine from the side, there should be a normal curvature at the neck, midsection, and low back. People with lumbar lordosis have a much more pronounced curvature at the low back, often causing either the chest or pelvis to be pushed outward in an unnatural state.
What Causes Lordosis?
Generally, both lumbar lordosis and cervical lordosis are caused by muscular problems or structural changes that affect the discs and bones along the spine. Some of the most common conditions that can lead to lordosis include:
- Poor posture
- Osteoporosis (a bone disease common among older adults)
- Osteosarcoma (bone cancer that develops near the knee or in the upper arm)
- Spondylolisthesis (a spinal condition where the vertebras in the lower back slip forward)
- Achondroplasia (a common type of dwarfism)
- Discitis (a disorder of the discs within the spine)
- Kyphosis (an excessive outward curvature of the thoracic spine)
One of the most common reasons people have lordosis is because of imbalances in muscle strength and length. Athletes such as gymnasts have an increased risk of developing the spinal condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Lordosis?
If someone appears to have a sway back or major inward curvature in the spine, it is likely lordosis. Some of the other symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Pain that extends into the neck, shoulders, and upper back
- Limited movement in the neck or lower back
- Electric shock pains
- Muscle weakness
In some cases, people with lordosis may also have a trapped or pinched nerve, which can be extremely painful. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Atwater at Ortho Spine of America today.
Treatment for lordosis will depend on a host of factors, including what the root cause of your condition is and how significant the curve is. The main goal of lordosis treatment is to build strength and flexibility in order to increase range of motion and protect the spine. Exercises that strengthen the hip extensors and stretch the hip flexors are often quite effective. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms are have already been diagnosed with lordosis, please contact us today to schedule an appointment. In addition to stretching, weight loss to correct posture, braces (for children and teens), and nutritional supplements such as vitamin D may improve your condition and alleviate any symptoms you are experiencing.