What is Lordosis (Cervical and Lumbar), symptoms and how to treat

What is lordosis?

Lordosis is a physiological curvature of the spine projected inward, which is present in the cervical and lumbar region. Such structures can vary between 20 to 40 degrees in the cervical and 40 to 60 degrees in the lumbar, these values ​​being considered normal. That is, all people have lordosis .

However, when there are changes in the lordotic curvature – hypolordosis (reduced curvature) or hyperlordosis (sharp curvature) -, spinal problems arise. These conditions can be related to several causes, especially genetic. Overweight, poor posture and muscle weakness are also important factors and must be considered.

Among the main symptoms are back pain, tingling in the spine, weakness in the belly muscles, stiffness and pain in the neck.

The most effective methods for treatment are physical therapy and, in some cases, even surgery. The good news is that regular visits to the doctor and improved posture are measures capable of preventing the problem.

It is worth noting that lordoses are secondary structures, as they only begin to appear after the person learns to keep his spine upright, usually when he begins to walk.

Lordosis, kyphosis and scoliosis: what is the difference?

Both lordosis and kyphosis are normal spinal curvatures. The difference is in the shape of the curve. In the first case, the deviation is inward (anterior), and in the second, the projection is outward (posterior).

It is also possible to differentiate these curvatures according to their location. The lordosis is located at the bottom of the spine, close to the abdomen, and in the neck region. Kyphosis, on the other hand, comprises the upper part, close to the chest, in addition to the coccyx region.

Unlike lordosis, which develops after birth, kyphosis appears in the embryonic period. In situations of alteration in this curvature, there is an abnormal increase in the posterior deviation, forming the famous “ hump ”.

Finally, scoliosis is characterized by an asymmetrical growth of the spine , in which there is a lateral deviation, forming a curve in the shape of “S” or “C”. It is a rotation of vertebrae that encompasses the entire part of the spine and that develops in children, during the growth phase.

Types

Changes in lordosis can be classified into two types: hypolordosis , which is reduced curvature, and hyperlordosis , characterized by excessive curvature.

Considering these terms, we can differentiate between:

Cervical lordosis

In a normal spine, cervical lordosis has a “C” shape, where the curve points to the back of the neck. When there is a change in this deviation, the curvature of the spine does not curve as it should, being able to move more to the right or left, or projecting excessively.

People who have excess kyphosis, that is, have an exaggerated curvature in the chest region, have a good chance of developing a decrease in cervical lordosis, causing the neck to be projected forward. This is due to the natural compensation that the body does to balance the spine.

In cervical hypolordosis, the patient has reduced mobility.

Lumbar lordosis

More common than cervical lordosis, changes in lumbar curvature most often represent an excess in deviation (hyperlordosis). These conditions provoke the projection of the abdomen and give the sensation of “upturned butt”, in addition to causing constant pain. The most common cases occur due to genetic factors, obesity and pregnancy.

There are also situations of hypolordosis, or decreased lordosis, in which abdominal retroversion occurs and the appearance of a “retracted butt”. They usually occur in elderly patients, with degenerative changes in the disks or ligaments.

Lordosis rectification: what does it mean?

The term lordosis rectification is widely used in the clinical environment. Therefore, it is common to find such expression when receiving the result of an exam. But after all, what does he mean?

The rectification of lordosis can be considered a synonym of hypolordosis . That is, it happens when there is a decrease in cervical or lumbar lordosis.

Causes: how is lordosis acquired?

Some conditions are capable of causing changes in the cervical and lumbar curvature. Are they:

  • Trauma at the bottom of the spine;
  • Poor posture when sitting or lifting too much weight;
  • Obesity;
  • Genetic alterations;
  • Inflammation between the vertebrae;
  • Osteoporosis or loss of bone density;
  • Spondylolisthesis (condition in which the vertebrae slides forward);
  • Chondroplasty (type of dwarfism);
  • Osteosarcoma (bone cancer);
  • Hyperkyphosis;
  • Muscle weakness, especially in the abdomen region.

In children

Changes in lordosis often appear in childhood, and are known as benign juvenile lordosis. The problem occurs because the muscle in the child’s hip area is weak or tight. In such cases, the deviation tends to be corrected during growth.

Rarely, other conditions that can affect children’s lordosis are related to the nervous system or muscle problems, such as:

  • Cerebral palsy;
  • Muscular dystrophy;
  • Spinal muscular atrophy;
  • Arthrogryposis;
  • Myelomeningocele.

Risk factors

Everyone can develop problems with lordosis, regardless of gender or age. However, women are more propitious due to the natural curvature of their spine.

Factors that can affect deviation include:

  • Have bad posture;
  • Have weak abdominal muscles;
  • Wear high heels;
  • Carrying heavy loads;
  • Walking or running for long periods;
  • Obesity;
  • Pregnancy.

Symptoms

Both hyperlordosis and hypolordosis can be quite painful. Generally, people who have the problem find it difficult to perform some movements and suffer from constant pain. Even without symptoms, it is possible to have the disease, as it often manifests itself when the condition is worse.

Complaints vary according to the region of the body in which they develop.

Lumbar lordosis

  • Back pains;
  • Weakness in the belly muscle;
  • Tingling in the body;
  • Cellulite in the buttocks;
  • Flabbiness in the belly;
  • Difficulty to bend down and pick up weight.

Cervical lordosis

  • Rigidity;
  • Neck pain;
  • Weakness in the muscles of the region;
  • Tingling.

In pregnant women

During pregnancy, it is quite common for women to complain of lower back pain. Thus, the problem can be easily confused with a picture of hyperlordosis. What usually occurs is a spine response to realign the center of gravity.

In addition, this pain can occur due to irregular blood flow, and will likely go away when the baby is born.

In such cases, hyperlordosis may develop if the woman has muscle weakness. That is why it is so important to keep your abdomen strong.

When should I see a doctor?

If the lordotic curvature is corrected by the time the person leans forward, there is no need to see a doctor. However, if the curve is not flexible and daily tasks start to become difficult, help is needed.

Other symptoms can indicate more serious problems and should not be ignored. Are they:

  • Numbness;
  • Tingling;
  • Weakness;
  • Difficulty in controlling the bladder;
  • Difficulty maintaining muscle control.

Diagnosis

Any problem in lordosis can be noticed by an orthopedist or even a general practitioner . In 80% of cases, the diagnosis is established through clinical evaluation. This consultation includes an analysis of the patient’s history, as well as a complete physical examination.

The doctor should take into account muscle weakness, especially in the abdominal region and low joint flexibility in the back and lower limbs.

Physical exam

The physical examination of the spine will consider the range of different movements made by the patient, as well as the appearance of pain, muscle spasm, stiffness and blockage.

This process may also include manipulation by touch, in order to identify possible abnormalities.

In addition to the physical examination, the doctor may request:

  • X-ray of the spine: analyzing the patient in the front and in a lateral position, the exam captures internal images in order to measure the curves of the spine.
  • Computed tomography: a technique that uses a combination of X-rays and computers to reproduce horizontal images of the body.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: produces detailed images of internal organs and structures of the body.
  • Bone exams: checks for degenerative and / or arthritic changes in the joints.

Does Lordosis have a cure? What is the treatment?

The change in the lordosis be cured and can be treated according to the severity of injury. It must be remembered that not all cases require care. However, when the curve is rigid, effective and well-targeted treatment is required – a more severe spinal curve may require the use of braces or even surgery.

In general, treatment for increased or decreased lordosis may include:

  • Medication (painkillers and anti-inflammatories) to relieve pain and swelling;
  • Exercises and physiotherapy;
  • Use of rear strap;
  • Weight loss;
  • Surgery.

It is worth mentioning that it is easier to correct the posture during puberty. Thus, adolescents with a more pronounced curvature than normal can undergo physical therapy and, quite possibly, have the problem treated only with a change in flexibility and posture.

Medicines for lordosis

There are no specific medications for the treatment of lordosis and, therefore, analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly indicated to treat symptoms. Some of these medications are:

  • Paracetamol ;
  • Aspirin ( acetylsalicylic acid );
  • Ibuprofen ;
  • Sodium dipyrone monohydrate ;
  • Sodium diclofenac .

Attention!

NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Exercises and physiotherapy for lordosis

To increase flexibility and muscle strength, there are some effective methods for treating lordosis and capable of ensuring an improvement in posture. The most used techniques are:

Global Postural Reeducation (RPG)

The Global Postural Reeducation technique is widely used in posture problems, since it seeks to treat the condition by focusing not only on the patient’s bones and joints, but also on the muscles and other tissues that influence movement and support.

Physiotherapy equipment

Various physical therapy equipment, such as the traction table and the flexion and dynamic decompensation table , are good helpers in the treatment of lordosis. This is because they seek to exercise, without harming, the muscles and joints of the region, in a way that alleviates the patient’s pain.

Orthoses

Orthoses are external equipment that help keep bones and joints in place. One of the most recommended orthoses in cases of lumbar lordosis are lumbar orthoses, which seek to immobilize the loin region, preventing the posture from favoring accentuated or non-existent curvatures.

Pilates

Pilates practice is beneficial for different parts of the body, but it can be especially effective in the treatment of lordosis with exercises focused on the pelvis (pelvis region).

Corrective exercises

There are also some remedial exercises that can be done at home. However, in these cases, the monitoring of a physiotherapist or doctor is essential.

The techniques include exercises that move, in particular, the hips and lower back. In addition, exercises to strengthen the buttocks and stretching in general are recommended.

However, when it comes to exercise, it is necessary that the patient be very careful. The recommendation is that there is always the supervision or monitoring of a professional qualified to practice these activities.

It is also important to remember that patients who try to gain strength very quickly or still perform the exercises inappropriately, can cause an overload on the spine and worsen the situation.

Surgery for lordosis

Surgical intervention is considered only when there is neurological involvement or if the curvature is very severe. The procedure and method used will be defined by the spine surgeon, taking into account the symptoms and type of problem.

Usually, surgery seeks to straighten the spine using a metal rod, screws or hooks. However, a bone graft (removal of part of the bone) can also be done so that growth is promoted in order to stabilize the spine.

In short, the surgery will stop the progression of the curve, correct the deformity and improve the aesthetic appearance of the spine.

Complications

Lordosis in general does not cause many complications when treated. However, the spine is responsible for much of our movement and flexibility. Therefore, not treating lordosis can increase the risk of problems with the spine, pelvic girdle, legs and even internal organs.

Other complications with the lack of treatment are herniated discs and psychological problems (due to constant pain).

How to prevent lordosis?

The spine can spend years suffering injuries without showing any pain or inflammation. Often, when the symptom appears, the spine can be severely damaged. Therefore, the main preventive measure is to go to the doctor regularly, even without pain, in order to do the routine exams.

Other tips include:

  • Maintain the correct posture;
  • Practice supervised physical exercises;
  • Have a balanced diet;
  • Control the weight;
  • Avoid self-medication.

Changes in lordosis are very common, but they do not always show symptoms. Therefore, routine exams are essential for prevention, in addition to physical exercises. If you suffer or know someone with the problem, see a doctor!

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