Lordosis of the Spine: Exaggerated Lumbar Curve Reasons

Definition

Lordosis is a medical term for the small curvature in lower back. A small curve inward in the lumbar spine is normal. Natural lordosis of the spine allows your head to stay in its correct position over your pelvis. When your spine is in the correct position, the curves of the back can absorb shock that occurs with movement. Mechanical stress is evenly distributed due to normal lordosis of the spine. Too much lordosis of the spine is sometimes called arched back or swayback.

People who have excessive lordosis of the spine often appear to have prominent buttocks, and children who have the condition, when lying face up, have a large gap between the floor and their low back.

Spinal lordosis can be caused by various conditions that may include:

  • Spondylolisthesis: This is when one spinal vertebra slips onto the vertebra beneath it
  • Achondroplasia: A bone growth disorder responsible for a type of dwarfism
  • Genetic disorders: Such as muscular dystrophies can cause lordosis of the spine

If lordosis of the spine does not cause spinal rigidity or make the back stiff, it usually does not require medical treatment. In these cases, it typically does not cause problems or progress. If the curve does not reverse itself or move when the person with lordosis of the spine bends forward from the waist, medical treatment may be needed.

If you notice that your posture or your child’s posture is abnormal or if there is an exaggerated curvature in the spine, call your medical provider.  The condition should be evaluated to check for a medical problem.

Lordosis symptoms

Lordosis symptoms depend on the extent of the severity of the condition. A gentle curve in lower spine is normal. Spinal curves help to evenly distribute stress and absorb the shock that occurs to the spine with the body moves. If the spinal curve in the lower back is only slightly exaggerated, there may be no symptoms of lordosis.

If the symptoms of lordosis become so severe that a person no longer finds their usual activities enjoyable, a physician who specializes in spine conditions should evaluate the condition, especially if the condition occurs in a child. Also, if lordosis symptoms include difficulty standing, walking, balance, or a problem with bowel or bladder control, medical treatment is needed right away, because this is may indicate a serious problem and is an emergency. Know more about Lordosis symptoms...

Lordosis diagnostics

A diagnosis of lordosis can be difficult at times, and the progression of the disease can be hard to measure or track. In some cases of lumbar lordosis, the vertebrae or backbones of the lower spine fuse or permanently join together. When this happens, the progression of the disease is more rapid. In order to accurately measure the progression of lordosis, physicians will sometimes assess specific bones of the lumbar spine that are involved the spine's normal posture or curvature. 

One symptom of lordosis, which is visually recognizable, is the exaggerated arching of the lower or lumbar portion of the spine. In addition to looking at the patient's symptoms and conducting a physical examination to determine a diagnosis of lordosis, a doctor will review the medical history of the patient for conditions that may be risk factors for lordosis. Know more about lordosis diagnostic procedures...

Lordosis treatment

Lordosis treatment varies, depending on the severity of the condition, and on how the symptoms it produces affects a person's life. In some cases of lumbar lordosis, treatment is not necessary because the curve is only mildly exaggerated and no pain or other symptoms are caused. In other people with cervical lordosis or lumbar lordosis, treatment is needed due to severe pain, problems with walking or balance, or problems with even simple movements that affect their daily life.

Unless a patient has severe symptoms of cervical lordosis or lumbar lordosis, treatments that physicians typically prefer to try first are conservative or non-surgical. Know more what lordosis treatments include...

Image drawing of lordosis of the spine and how it affects the body's posture.