Lumbar lordosis or hyperlordosis occurs when the inward curvature of the lumbar spine is excessive. Depending on the severity, lordosis can be correcting with lifestyle changes and physical therapy, or surgery may be necessary.
Some cases of lumbar lordosis can be attributed to high amounts of abdominal fat. Much like the low back pain women may experience during pregnancy, the change in weight distribution of people who tend to put on weight in their abdomen can enhance the curvature of the lower back. Although the areas of your body where you tend to store fat are mostly genetic, engaging in a weight loss plan can reduce help you shed excess weight and reduce the stress on your spine. Changing your diet to be low-carbohydrate with moderate to high protein is especially popular for people with significant amounts of weight to lose and those with more visceral fat. Since increased abdominal fat is often associated with insulin-resistance, other tactics, such as intermittent fasting may also be helpful.
Physical therapy can take the form of a structured program by a physical therapist or engaging in exercises on your own to improve lordosis. Generally, the problem is weakened abdominal muscles that are offset by stronger back muscles. Other muscles, such as those in the thigh and hip can also factor into spine changes. Developing stronger abdominal muscles can help. Improving abdominal strength can involve doing abdominal crunches, but also engaging in better posture when standing or sitting. Make a point to contract your abdominal muscles when you are standing or sitting, which can counteract the pull of your back muscles. Exercises and yoga moves that are designed to stretch the lumbar spine, hips, and thighs can also be helpful in reversing lordosis.
Moderate to severe cases of lumbar lordosis, especially those caused by musculoskeletal problems, may require surgery to improve or eliminate excess spine curvature. The goal of surgery is to help you walk more normally, reduce pain, and prevent increased pressure on the lumbar spine, which could cause disc problems and nerve damage. Some surgeons can perform the procedure using minimally-invasive techniques, which typically results in a faster recovery. Your surgeon will likely use metal rods and/or cages to re-position the spine and hold it in its new shape, which also adds stability. Surgery may also involve replacement of damaged discs and bone grafting to support the added hardware.
Fortunately, some mild to moderate cases of lumbar lordosis can be improved with weight reduction and physical therapy. When the problem causes significant pain and limitations, surgery may be necessary to improve function and quality of life.