Lordosis & Spinal Deformities
What is Lordosis?
The “lordotic curve” is the natural curvature of your spine in your neck, upper, and lower back that helps your body absorb shock. In addition, your lordotic curve aligns, stabilizes, and maintains the body’s structure while allowing it to move and bend with ease. Lordosis, sometimes referred to as “swayback,” is a condition that occurs when the spine arches too far inward. Lordosis places pressure on the spine by creating an exaggerated posture, which affects the lower back and neck. If left untreated, it may result in pain, discomfort, and decreased mobility.
Lordosis can occur in the neck (cervical) or the lower spine (lumbar) area. The condition can affect individuals of any age. However, there are a number of factors and conditions that may increase risk, including: discitis (inflamed space between vertebrae), osteoporosis, obesity, kyphosis (forward spine curvature), spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebra), achondroplasia (a primary cause of dwarfism), and osteosarcoma (bone cancer).
How Do I Know if I Have the Symptoms of Lordosis?
Lordosis often presents in a seemingly benign way: muscle pain. Because of the extreme spinal curvature in the neck and back, this abnormality will often cause the muscles to overcorrect, throwing everything off balance. As the muscles struggle to overcompensate, they may begin to tighten and spasm. This will likely cause limited, painful movement in the neck, shoulders, and lower and upper back.
There are also a number of more serious lordosis symptoms, potentially involving a pinched nerve or slipped vertebra, that require immediate medical attention:
- Neurological Symptoms: Numbness or tingling; pain that resembles electrical shocks
- Incontinence: Change in bowel or bladder control
- Muscular Weakness: Weakness and/or difficulty maintaining muscle coordination
Luckily, not all forms of lordosis are serious. If you suspect lordosis is the cause of your spinal discomfort, you can check by lying against a flat surface and examining the amount of space and degree of curvature between the lower back and/or neck. If the curve is extreme and remains rigid when later bending forward, your lordosis may require treatment. However, there may be less concern if the curvature reverses itself when you bend forward. Proactivity is key to managing this condition. And, getting in touch with our team will help you take the first steps in this process.
How Dr. Lowenstein Can Help
To correctly diagnose lordosis, the Lowenstein team will offer a physical examination and review of the patient’s medical history. These evaluations will allow your surgeon to assess the severity of your pain and curvature, as well as their progression over time. Age, weight, and height are also factors that may be taken into consideration. Patients may also have their range of movement evaluated and an examination of their spinal alignment to check for abnormalities. In addition, your physician may recommend X-rays of the spine to determine the exact degree of curvature. These radiological imaging techniques will also reveal any spinal or cervical issues that did not present during the physical exam. If the patient has experienced any of the more severe symptoms noted above, a neurological consultation and examination may also be required.
Your surgeon may offer a variety of treatments to address lordosis. Dr. Jason Lowenstein, MD and his team of top-rated professionals can help you choose the best course of action. More conservative measures may include medical therapy through pain relievers or anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling, daily physical therapy to increase strength and range of motion, braces to control the growth of spinal curvature (more common in children and teenagers), and weight loss to improve posture. In the most severe cases, lordosis may require surgical treatments that may include spinal instrumentation, artificial disc replacement, or kyphoplasty. A healthy spine is key to a healthy life – don’t let a condition like lordosis affect the way you live. Call the Lowenstein team today to set up your first appointment.