Lordosis is a term that refers to an inward curving of the part of the spine that is just above the buttocks, called the lumbar spine. Many people have a small degree of lordosis, and this is considered normal. When the curving is more extreme, it’s called hyperlordosis. Hyperlordosis can lead to unpleasant sensations in the lower back and surrounding areas.
How is Lordosis Different from Hyperlordosis?
Lordosis refers to the natural inward curve of the spine. Hyperlordosis is used to describe an excessive C-shaped curve in the lumbar spine.
What Causes Lumbar Hyperlordosis?
Certain lifestyle habits, hereditary traits, and health conditions can increase the risk of developing lumbar hyperlordosis.
These are some of the most common causes of lumbar hyperlordosis:
Maintaining a poor form of posture can actually cause your spine to change its shape over time. Examples of incorrect posture are hunched shoulders, holding the neck too far forward, and an uneven pelvis. Each of these forms of posture can gradually lead to lordosis and other back pain issues.
Poor Form When Lifting Heavy Objects
Improperly lifting heavy objects places strain on the back muscles and spine. Over time, muscles will tighten to respond to the strain and may pull at your spine, affecting its structure.
Excessive weight can cause people to lean backward to compensate for balance. This shift in the center of gravity places stress on the spine and back muscles.
Osteoporosis is the process of bones losing their density as a person ages. When the spine bones become thin or brittle, it can cause the spine’s structure to become unstable. In time, this can cause lasting damage to the spine’s shape and structure.
Discitis is inflammation of the intervertebral discs of the spine. Discitis is often caused by an infection of the discs following surgery or trauma and can trigger the onset of irregular lordosis.
Similar to the effects obesity has on the spine, pregnancy shifts a person’s center of balance due to the extra weight in the abdomen. Usually, hyperlordosis caused by pregnancy resolves itself after the baby is born.
Symptoms of Lumbar Hyperlordosis
- A visible C-shape in the lower back accompanied by an outward protruding of the buttocks
- Lower back pain
- Tingling in the legs
- Lack of mobility with certain forms of movement
- Muscle spasms
- Issues with bladder control
Diagnosis of Lumbar Hyperlordosis
X-ray of Spine
Usually, an x-ray of the spine is all that is needed to confirm hyperlordosis in a patient. X-ray imaging is also often used to monitor lordosis as it changes over time.
Prevention of Lumbar Hyperlordosis
Maintaining a healthy diet, using proper form while lifting objects, and being conscious of your posture are all ways to prevent lumbar lordosis from developing an abnormal shape.
Certain exercises can help increase lumbar muscle strength which may relieve some lower back pain. These include:
- Superman lifts
- Arm and leg raises
- Reverse planks
- Forearm planks
- Side planks
Treatment of Irregular Lumbar Lordosis
If you have frequent lower back pain and have noticed a space between your lumbar spine and the floor when laying down, you probably are wondering how to fix lumbar lordosis. The following are some recommended treatments for lordosis pain.
OTC Pain Medications
Pain can usually be managed using over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This form of treatment is recommended when discomfort from lordosis is occasional rather than chronic.
Physical therapy is used to help strengthen the muscles around the lumbar spine which increases its flexibility and range of motion.
Better posture habits can help retrain the spine back to its natural shape. Using a standing desk will strengthen muscles in the lower back and thighs and should alleviate some pain.
Some back braces are developed specifically to help straighten a curved back. If you seek a back brace for your lumbar lordosis, choose one that supports both the thoracic and lumbar spine and limits the forward motion of the back. Back braces also encourage proper posture and should, in time, lessen back pain.
In extreme cases, minimally invasive corrections may be required to treat hyperlordosis. Laser spine surgery is used to stabilize the bones of the spine and to correct nerve problems associated with lordosis.
Before agreeing to surgical intervention, it may be worth considering a less invasive spinal stabilization technique known as spinal fusion. Spinal fusion allows the bones of the spine to heal together and restores stability.
Our physicians are experts at addressing lumbar pain using minimally-invasive techniques. We use spinal fusions to treat many conditions including degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and spinal cord compression.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can lumbar hyperlordosis be fixed with exercises?
The pain associated with lumbar lordosis may be alleviated by engaging in exercises that strengthen the muscles around the lumbar spine. Over time, hyperlordosis may resolve itself as your strength and balance improve.
How long does it take for lumbar hyperlordosis to be fixed?
Depending on the treatment you choose, fixing lumbar lordosis could take a while. For example, if your lordosis is caused by obesity, it will take time to lose the weight needed to realign your spine. Surgery and minimally-invasive treatments may have shorter timelines.
Is physical therapy essential for fixing lumbar lordosis?
Physical therapy is an essential way to relieve some pain from lumbar lordosis. Physical therapy will also help prevent lordosis from reoccurring.
Will I end up needing surgery to fix lumbar hyperlordosis?
Usually, lumbar lordosis can be resolved with less invasive techniques, but surgery may be required in more extreme cases.
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