Also known as: lumbar lordosis, swayback

What is lordosis?

The lumbar is the lower portion of the spine. When it curves inward, this state is known as lordosis. A little bit of lordosis is normal, but a more severe curve can be problematic. This condition is known as swayback.

What causes lordosis?

A vertebrae slipping out of position (spondylolisthesis) is a common cause of lordosis. Other medical conditions like muscular dystrophy can also cause it, as can certain activities like gymnastics.

What are the symptoms of lordosis?

Along with the curved spine, people with lordosis may experience:

  • back spasms
  • tightness of back
  • difficulty moving the neck or lower back
  • numbness
  • tingling sensation and/or pain
  • loss of bladder control

When should you see a doctor about lordosis?

If your child has the appearance of a curved spine, exaggerated posture or buttocks or stomach that stick out further than normal, see your doctor about the possibility of lordosis. If your child experiences numbness, tingling, weakness, pain or loss of bladder control, see your doctor as soon as possible.

How is lordosis diagnosed?

The following tests may be used to diagnose lordosis:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor will typically start with a physical exam to check posture and look for unnatural curvature.
  • X-ray. The next common step is an X-ray to check the degree of curvature.
  • MRI. An MRI scan may be used to produce more detailed images of the spine.
  • CT scan. A CT scan can also produce detailed cross-sectional images of the body.
  • Bone scan. A bone scan can get a closer look at the changes in joints or the source of pain and inflammation.
  • Blood tests. Blood tests are not common for lordosis diagnosis but may be used to check for associated conditions.

What are lordosis care options?

Lordosis can often be managed with medication, physical therapy and weight loss. Bracing can help correct the spinal curve, as well. Surgery is usually only reserved for severe cases of lordosis.

Reviewed by: Stephen Graham George Jr., MD

This page was last updated on: December 15, 2023 05:15 PM