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What Is Lordosis?


Lordosis is a term used to describe the normal curvature of the spine found in the lower (lumbar) region of the back. The spine has a natural lordotic curve with its concavity facing backward and its convexity facing forward. Mild lordosis is normal and asymptomatic. Severe lordosis may be truly debilitating. Colloquially, the condition is sometimes referred to as “swayback,” “saddleback,” or “hollowback.” “Kyphosis is an exaggerated abnormal curvature in the opposite direction, found in the upper (thoracic) back.

Causes of Lordosis

A variety of conditions can contribute to lordosis, including:

  • Obesity – Overweight individuals may engage in unhealthy posture by overarching their backs when they stand or sit.
  • Kyphosis – Persons with severe kyphosis may develop an exaggerated lordotic curve as compensation to maintain balance.
  • Spondylolisthesis – A condition in which one vertebra slips forward and over the adjacent vertebra, thus changing the shape of the spine.
  • Discitis – An intervertebral disc infection that causes large amounts of swelling; mostly prevalent in children.
  • Osteoporosis – A general loss of bone mass and bone strength, which causes the spinal column to lose its structural integrity.

Surgery and Lordosis

The most common operation that addresses lordosis is spinal fusion, in which two or more vertebrae are fused together with bone grafts and stabilizing hardware. The aim of this surgery is to immobilize and stabilize a section of the spine as well as to straighten abnormal curvature, and address neural compression resulting from spinal abnormalities. Fusion is a highly invasive surgery that may require a recovery period of up to a year. Never consent to any surgery until you learn all the facts and feel comfortable with the procedure.

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