Lordosis refers to the normal inward curvature of the lower spine (lumbar spine). Everyone has some amount of curvature specific to their body. As we get older, our lordosis can change. This creates health issues, such as pain, difficulty walking, bad posture and spinal deformity. The spine specialists at UVA can help you manage lordosis your pain and improve your ability to move.
Your spine's lordosis can change in two ways:
- Hyperlordosis – the lower spine becomes too curved
- Hypolordosis – the lower spine becomes too straight
Diagnosis & Treatment at UVA
Most providers can check for changes in your spine's curvature by looking at your posture. A spine surgeon will look at standing scoliosis radiographs from low-dose imaging. Other tests may be needed, such as X-rays, CT scanning or MRI. It’s important to have regular DEXA tests, a bone-imaging scan, to asses and treat osteoporosis.
Physical therapy, medications and core strength can improve pain and function. If other treatment options haven’t helped, surgery may help.
Physical therapy or water-based therapy is the most helpful for spine curvature. Water therapy is successful because the water helps lengthen the spine and allows for more spine flexiblity. Physical therapy will concentrate on core strength and mobility.
Medications such as anti-inflammatories or steroids can decrease inflammation.
Options for chronic pain from lordosis issues include:
- Targeted pain injection therapy
- Facet joint injections
- Radiofrequency ablation
A pain specialist can help determine the amount and kind of injection you need.
You may need surgery if the curve in your spine is severe and other treatments haven’t worked. The goal of surgery is to improve posture, alignment and reduce pain.
Since lordosis issues become more common as we age, create a prevention plan. This should include:
- Maintaining your core strength and active daily routines
- Checking bone health is especially important
- Try to avoid injuries, especially compression fractures
Your chances of having changes in lordosis are increased if you’ve had:
- Spondylosis – degenerative disc disease
- Spondylolisthesis —displaced vertebrae of the back
- Prior spine surgery
- Hip disorders
- Poor posture
- Vertebral body injuries, such as compression fractures
- Disc problems