Hyperlordosis: Treatment, Prevention, and More

What’s hyperlordosis?

Human spines are naturally curved, but too much curve can cause problems. Hyperlordosis is when the inward curve of the spine in your lower back is exaggerated. This condition is also called swayback or saddleback.

Hyperlordosis can occur in all ages, but it’s rare in children. It’s a reversible condition.

Keep reading to learn about the symptoms and causes of hyperlordosis and how it’s treated.

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What are the symptoms of hyperlordosis?

If you have hyperlordosis, the exaggerated curve of your spine will cause your stomach to thrust forward and your bottom to push out. From the side, the inward curve of your spine will look arched, like the letter C. You can see the arched C if you look at your profile in a full-length mirror.

You may have lower back pain or neck pain, or restricted movement. There’s limited evidence connecting hyperlordosis to lower back pain, however.

Most hyperlordosis is mild, and your back remains flexible. If the arch in your back is stiff and doesn’t go away when you lean forward, there may be a more serious problem.

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What causes hyperlordosis?

Bad posture is the most frequent cause of hyperlordosis. Other factors that may contribute to hyperlordosis are:

  • obesity
  • wearing high-heeled shoes for extended periods
  • spinal injury
  • neuromuscular diseases
  • rickets
  • sitting or standing for extended periods
  • weak core muscles

For pregnant women, a 2007 study found that hyperlordosis is the way that the female spine has evolved to adjust to the additional weight of the baby.

You can check your posture with a simple test:

  • Stand up straight against a wall. Keep your legs shoulder-width apart and your heels about 2 inches from the wall.
  • Your head, shoulder blades, and bottom should touch the wall. There should be just enough space to slip your hand between the wall and the small of your back.
  • With hyperlordosis, there will be more than one hand space between the wall and your back.
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When do you see a doctor for hyperlordosis?

Most cases of hyperlordosis don’t require special medical care. You can correct your posture on your own. You’ll need to do some regular exercises and stretches to help keep up good posture.

If you have pain or your hyperlordosis is rigid, see a doctor to determine the cause. Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor may refer you to a back specialist or a physical therapist. Sometimes hyperlordosis can be a sign of a pinched nerve, loss of bone in the spine, or a damaged disk.

Your doctor will do a physical examination. They’ll ask you when your pain started and how it has affected your daily activities.

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Your doctor may also take X-rays or other imaging of your spine to aid in diagnosis. You may also have a neurological exam and other tests.

What kinds of treatment are available for hyperlordosis?

Your treatment plan will depend on your doctor’s diagnosis. In most cases, treatment will be conservative. In rare cases, surgery may be required.

Conservative treatment may include:

  • over-the-counter remedies for pain, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve)
  • a weight loss program
  • physical therapy

Children and teens with hyperlordosis may need to wear a brace to guide spinal growth.

Exercises to try

Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist. They may also give you a set of exercises to do on your own to help your posture.

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There are many kinds of exercises and stretches to choose from, depending on your age and your level of fitness. Yoga and chair yoga are good choices. The important thing is to develop an exercise routine that you can stick to. You should also be aware of keeping good posture when sitting, standing, or engaging in activities.

Here are some simple posture exercises that require no equipment:

  • Move your shoulders forward and up toward your ears and then back down, pushing out toward your back.
  • Stretch your arms out at your sides at shoulder height, and roll them in small circles.
  • Standing up, squat as though you were sitting in a chair.
  • Standing tall, place one hand over your ear. Rest the other hand and arm flat at your side. Lean in the direction opposite to the covered ear.
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What is the outlook for hyperlordosis?

Most hyperlordosis is the result of poor posture. Once you’ve corrected your posture, the condition should resolve itself.

The first step is to be aware of your posture during your normal daily routine. Once you know what it feels like to stand and sit properly, keep it up. You should see results right away, even if it seems awkward at first.

Develop an exercise and stretching routine that you do daily. Consult with your doctor if you’re not sure about the appropriate level of activity for you.

Post reminders to yourself to sit or stand straight. Ask your friends and family to tell you when they see you slouching or hunched over at your computer.

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Good posture takes vigilance until it becomes automatic.

What can you do to prevent hyperlordosis?

You can often prevent hyperlordosis by practicing correct posture. Keeping your spine correctly aligned will prevent stress on your neck, hips, and legs that could lead to problems later in life. Here are some more tips to help prevent this condition:

  • If you’re concerned with weight management, start a weight loss program. Talk to your doctor if you need help getting started.
  • If you sit a lot during the day, take small breaks to get up and stretch.
  • If you have to stand for a long time, periodically shift your weight from one foot to the other, or from your heels to your toes.
  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Use a pillow or rolled towel to support your lower back when sitting.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Stick to an exercise program of your choice.
READ:   Spine Health. PROCEDURE 4 — EXTENSION IN LYING WITH BELT FIXATION
The Derangement Syndrome Of all mechanical low back problems that are encountered in general medical practise, mechanical derangement of the intervertebral disc is potentially the most disabling. It is my belief that in the lumbar spine, if in no other area, disturbance of the intervertebral disc mechanism is responsible for the production of symptoms in as many as ninety-five percent of our patients. Twenty-five years of clinical observation and treatment of lumbar conditions have convinced me that certain phenomena and the various movements which affect them, can occur only because of the hydrostatic properties invested in the intervertebral disc. For thirty years Cyriax has attributed lumbar pain to internal derangement of the intervertebral disc mechanism. He has outlined the cause of lumbago, and proposed that pain of a slow onset is likely to be produced by a nuclear protrusion while that of a sudden onset is caused by a displaced annular fragment. Although at present we are unable to prove either of ...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 12 — ROTATION MANIPULATION IN FLEXION The sequence of procedure 11 must be followed completely to perform the required pre-manipulative testing. If the manipulation is indicated a sudden thrust of high velocity and small amplitude is performed, moving the spine into extreme side bending and rotation. Fig. Rotation manipulation in flexion. Effects: There are many techniques devised for rotation manipulation of the lumbar spine. When rotation of the lumbar spine is achieved by using the legs of the patient as a lever or fulcrum of movement, confusion arises as to the direction in which the lumbar spine rotates. This is judged by the movement of the upper vertebrae in relation to the lower — for example, if the patient is lying supine and the legs are taken to the right, then the lumbar spine rotates to the left. It has become widely accepted that rotation manipulation of the spine should be performed by rotation away from the painful side. This has applied to derangement as well as dysfunction, because hitherto n...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 5 — SUSTAINED EXTENSION To apply a sustained extension stress to the lumbar spine an adjustable couch, one end of which may be raised, is a necessary piece of equipment. The patient lies prone with his head at the adjustable end of the couch which is gradually raised, about one to two inches at the time over a five to ten minute period. Once the maximum possible degree of extension is reached, the position may be held for two to ten minutes, according to the patient’s tolerance. When lowering the patient the adjustable end of the couch should slowly be returned to the horizontal over a period of two to three minutes. This must not be done rapidly, for acute low back pain may result. Fig. Sustained extension. Effects: The procedure is predominantly used in the treatment of derangement. The effect is similar to that of the third procedure, but a time factor is added with the graduated increase and the sustained nature of the extension. In certain circumstances a sustained extension stress is preferable...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 11 — SUSTAINED ROTATION/MOBILISATION IN FLEXION The patient lies supine on the couch, and the therapist stands on the side to which the legs are to be drawn, facing the head end of the couch. The patient’s far shoulder is held firmly on the couch by the therapist’s near hand, providing fixation and stabilisation. With the other hand the therapist flexes the patient’s hips and knees to a rightangle and carries them towards himself, causing the lumbar spine to rotate. With the patient’s ankles resting on the therapist’s thigh the knees are allowed to sink as far as possible and the legs are permitted to rest in that extreme position. The lumbar spine is now hanging on its ligaments in a position which combines side bending and rotation. By pushing the knees further towards the floor the therapist applies overpressure to take up the remaining slack in the lumbar spine. Depending on the purpose for which the procedure is used, the position of extreme rotation is maintained for a shorter or longer period. Fig. Sustained rotation/mob...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 7 — EXTENSION MOBILISATION The patient lies prone as for procedure 1. The therapist stands to one side of the patient, crosses the arms and places the heels of the hands on the transverse processes of the appropriate lumbar segment. A gentle pressure is applied symmetrically and immediately released, but the hands must not lose contact. This is repeated rhythmically to the same segment about ten times. Each pressure is a little stronger than the previous one, depending on the patient’s tolerance and the behaviour of the pain. The procedure should be applied to the adjacent segments, one at a time, until all the areas affected have been mobilised. Fig. Positioning of hands prior to extension mobilisation. Extension mobilisation. Effects: In this procedure the external force applied by the therapist enhances the effects on derangement and dysfunction as described for the previous extension procedures. In general, symmetrical pressures are used on patients with central and bilateral symptoms. Therapist-...