Lordosis or swayback is defined as an excessive inward curve of the spine. It differs from the spine’s normal curves at the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions, which are, to a degree, either kyphotic (near the neck) or lordotic (closer to the low back).
They help your body:
• Absorb shock
• Support the weight of the head
• Align your head over your pelvis
• Stabilize and maintain its structure
• Move and bend flexibly
The most common symptom of lordosis is muscle pain. When your spine curves abnormally, your muscles get pulled in different directions, causing them to tighten or spasm.
You can check for lordosis by lying on a flat surface and checking if there’s a lot of space between the curve of your neck and back and the floor. You may have lordosis if you can easily slide your hand through the space.
Some more vigilant symptoms includes –
• electric shock pains
• weak bladder control
• difficulty maintaining muscle control
Lordosis in children
Often, lordosis appears in childhood without any known cause. This is called benign juvenile lordosis. It happens because the muscles around your child’s hips are weak or tightened up. Benign juvenile lordosis typically corrects itself as your children grow up.
Lordosis in pregnant women
Many pregnant women experience back pains and will show the signs of lordosis, a protruding belly and buttocks. Lordosis during pregnancy is actually your spine adjusting to realign your center of gravity.
Overall back pain may be due to altered blood flow in your body, and the pain will most likely go away after birth.
It can affect people of any age. Certain conditions and factors can increase your risk for lordosis. This includes:
• Traumatic lordosis: This is caused by an injury to the spine, such as a fracture. Osteoporosis, which weakens the bones, may increase the risk of these fractures.
• Congenital lordosis: This can stem from an inherited condition, such as achondroplasia, which affects cartilage growth. It can occur due to a problem with the development of the spine during childhood.
• Postural lordosis: This is caused by uneven posture. Having overweight or weakness in the abdominal muscles can increase the risk, as both factors strain the lower back.
• Postsurgical lordosis: This results from back surgery that makes the spine less stable, such as a laminectomy or selective dorsal rhizotomy.
• Secondary lordosis: This results from having another condition — possibly another type of spinal curve, such as kyphosis or scoliosis, or a condition that affects the hip joints.
• Obesity: Carrying excess weight can cause the bones and muscles to “lean backward” to improve balance.
• Osteoporosis: Age and other factors can cause bones to weaken and become brittle, which may lead to curvature of the spine.
• Spondylolisthesis: This causes one vertebra to slip forward, over another, and it can cause lordosis, usually in the lower back.
A doctor can usually identify lordosis with a physical examination.
They may also use an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. A scan can indicate the extent of the curve in the spine.
Most people with lordosis don’t require medical treatment unless it’s a severe case. Treatment will depend on how severe your curve is and the presence of other symptoms.
Treatment options include:
• Medication, to reduce pain and swelling
• Daily physical therapy, to strengthen muscles and range of motion
• Weight loss, to help posture
• Braces, in children and teens
• Surgery, in severe cases with neurological concerns
• Nutritional supplements such as vitamin D
Some beneficial exercises –
• Hip flexor stretch
While standing, bend your knee behind you and grab your leg by your ankle. Pull your leg back and tilt your hips forward. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Then repeat for the opposite leg.
• Lower back stretch
While lying down, pull your knees towards your chest and hold your legs with your arms. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
While lying down, place your hands behind your hand with your legs straight out in front of you. Lift your torso (try not to use your neck muscles) off the floor at around a 30-degree angle. Repeat this 10 times.
While lying down, place your feet on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your thighs together and lift your hips up as much as you can. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds then repeat.
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