Firstly, don’t necessarily think of lumbar Lordosis as a condition, rather as a description for a specific part of your spine anatomy.
Lumbar Lordosis explained
What I mean by this is your lumbar region is the region of the spine that starts from below the shoulder blades down to your abdomen (if you’re not sure where this is, see Spine Anatomy). Lordosis describes the curvature of the spine.
Look at the picture on this page. If you look at the back from the side, you will see that your spine naturally curves in a gentle S-shape - inwards at the neck, outwards in the middle back and inwards again at the lower back.
Each of us may have variations in the shape and size of these curves, and the term lumbar lordosis is used to categorise these variations - Specifically, the lower curve in the back can be flattened, in what is known as a flat back or sway back posture, or the curvature can be too deep, known as a lordotic posture.
As I mentioned, everyone will have slight variations and there are normal limits which our backs will exist. However, any deviation too far away from the normal can be a factor in the cause of back pain.
Lumbar Lordosis - some common causes.
Lordosis occasionally occurs in children and teenagers as their spine develops, but unless noticed at this stage by a Doctor or Chartered Physiotherapist, may not be noticeable until they reach their early adulthood. It can also occur in adults at any stage.
There are many potential causes of Lumbar Lordosis, but the most common one that I see in my clinic is generally due to holding a poor posture and muscle imbalances that develop over time. Other common causes include clinical conditions such as [Spondylolithesis] (/category/conditions/spondylolisthesis “Articles on Spondylolisthesis”), Kyphosis and Osteoporosis (where the vertebrae in your back weaken with age). Obesity is also known causes.
Treating Lumbar Lordosis
Treating an excessive or abnormal curvature of the spine will depend on the type and severity of the abnormality (too flat or too curved) along with whether there are any other symptoms present, such as severe lower back pain. Your doctor may prescribe back pain medication to relieve the symptoms, but remember this won’t treat the cause of the pain. For that we need to correct your lordotic posture.
Correcting a Lumbar Lordosis
For me, the most important thing in correcting a Lumbar Lordosis is making sure that your back is in the correct position for your body type. That means holding a proper posture when standing and sitting. When I teach Physio Pilates each week - the position of your lumbar lordosis is the first thing that I teach. Quite often, by teaching you where the correct position for your lumbar lordosis is, the rest of your spine will naturally follow it into a correct postural position.
Once you have been taught on the position your spine should be held, strengthening exercises are often used to help correct and hold the spine in that correct position. For most cases, it is through holding and maintaining a good posture that you can prevent problems occurring in the future.
I look at your pelvis as the keystone to your body and its position is vital to the overall alignment of your posture. Your lumbar lordosis is an integral part of your pelvic positioning.
Physiotherapy will look to treat any symptoms of your lumbar lordosis, such as lower back pain or hip pain.
To summarise, sometimes your lumbar lordosis may be out of alignment. However this does not always mean that you will have, or get back pain, but if you do it does require a chartered physiotherapist’s opinion in my view.
While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.
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