for Patients

Lordosis

Overview

Lordosis is the abnormal inward curving of the spine that leads to a shape called "swayback." In children, the condition is sometimes called Benign Juvenile Lordosis, which means it's a temporary condition that fixes itself as the child grows.

Causes

Lordosis can be caused by achondroplasia, which is a disorder where bones do not grow properly; spondylolisthesis, which is a slippage of the vertebrae; or discitis, which is an inflammation of the disc space between bones of the spine that may be the result of an infection. Lordosis can also be the result of osteoporosis or obesity.

Lordosis can also result from kyphosis in an attempt to correct the bodies alignment.

Symptoms

  • Inward curve of the spine, which is most easily observed by lying down on a hard surface to see the gap between the low back and the surface
  • Pronounced buttocks
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Tenderness in the spine
  • Stiffness in the spine

Diagnosis

The first step is to observe and measure the curve of the spine. We may also recommend an x-ray or spinal MRI.

Treatment

  • Observation: In some cases, especially for children, we may want to check progress of spine growth every six months to determine if further treatment is necessary.
  • Bracing: In other cases where patients are still growing, a brace may be worn to prevent further curving.
  • Physical Therapy: In adults and adolescents who are finished growing, physical therapy can be used to strengthen core and back muscles, which will help alleviate pain associated with lordosis.
  • Surgery: For patients whose spine is curved more than 75 degrees, or those in severe pain, a surgery called spinal fusion can stabilize and correct the shape of the spine.