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 the lordosis symptoms are temporary and will fix themselves as the child grows.
Lordosis symptoms can be caused by a variety of different issues. These include achondroplasia, a disorder where bones do not grow properly; spondylolisthesis, a slippage of the vertebrae; or discitis, an inflammation of the disc space between bones of the spine that may be the result of an infection.
Lordosis can also result from osteoporosis, obesity, or kyphosis, which is a forward rounding of the back (also called hunched back) to correct the body’s alignment.
- 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
- Back pain
- Loss of range-of-motion
- Tenderness and stiffness in the spine
The first step to diagnosing and providing lordosis treatment is to observe and measure the curve of the spine. We may also recommend an X-ray or MRI.
We focus on minimally invasive lordosis treatments, including:
- 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 fully matured adolescents, physical therapy can be used to strengthen core and back muscles, which helps to alleviate pain associated with lordosis.
- Surgery: For patients whose spine is curved more than 75 degrees or those in severe pain, a spine fusion surgery may be needed to stabilize and correct the shape of the spine.
Can Minimally Invasive Lordosis Treatment Be just as Effective as Surgery?
As often as possible, doctors try to treat Lordosis using non-surgical techniques. Modalities like physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles that support the spine and may improve range of motion to some degree. However, when the curvature of the spine has reached a certain degree, surgical correction is deemed the most effective approach.
If Physical Therapy is the Best Option, How Long Will I Likely Need PT?
The length of time that you may need physical therapy to improve the effects of lordosis will depend on the severity of your condition and other factors. Physical therapy can achieve remarkable results in 3 to 6 months. To promote efficient rehabilitation, it is imperative that you follow your physical therapist's instructions for performing exercises both during your sessions and in between them. Physical therapy does not cure lordosis but it can help manage pain and other symptoms.
What Happens if I Don't Receive Lordosis Treatment Soon Enough?
Some people with lordosis do not require treatment. If, when you bend forward, your spinal curvature does not straighten, your symptoms may worsen without proper care. Your physician can perform a thorough examination of your back to determine if clinical intervention or management is necessary. Depending on the severity of lordosis, internal organs may be affected.