Lordosis treatment is rarely necessary, except in cases of severely atypical and painful lordotic curves. Most lordotic changes are transient and do not generally require anything more than medical monitoring.
Atypical lordosis is an exaggerated or deficient inward curve in the spine. It is most common in the lumbar region, but can also occur in the cervical area. Normally, irregular lordosis does not cause any pain or neurological symptoms in its milder forms, but can certainly enact both when the curvature change becomes extreme.
It should be noted that a lordotic curve is completely normal and healthy for the lumbar and cervical regions of the spine. These curves help to distribute stress on the spine and act as shock absorbers.
Exaggeration of curvature or reduction of curvature are very subjective diagnostic criteria and may be symptomatic expressions of another spinal process rather than problematic conditions unto themselves.
This narrative provides a thorough overview of atypical lordosis and how it should be managed in the modern treatment sector.
A person with an atypically increased lumbar lordotic curvature might demonstrate an exaggerated posture. Their buttocks will likely protrude more than usual. The lower back will dip inwards more than normal. Patients with cervical hyperlordosis will usually also have a distinctive look to their posture. The neck will be curved sharply and the chin may protrude.
For hypolordotic conditions in the low back, the buttocks will be flat and little curvature will be seen in the lumbar region. In the cervical spine, the neck will be very straight and the adams apple may protrude exceptionally in men.
In most instances, none of these conditions should not produce pain. Occasionally, a person with lumbar curvature issues might have lower back discomfort and/or sciatica, especially if the curve is severe. Meanwhile, a cervical lordotic change might produce neck pain or nerve symptoms in the arms. More frequently, the normal range of motion might be reduced with either significantly atypical curvature.
Atypical and possibly symptomatic lordotic curves can be caused by several factors:
Abnormal kyphosis in the thoracic spine can create hyperlordosis or hypolordosis, especially in the neck.
Obesity can put uneven pressure on the spine, causing abnormal lumbar curvature. This usually occurs when the person demonstrates a large mass of fatty tissue around the midsection.
Achondroplasia is a bone growth disorder and a form of dwarfism. Unusual spinal curvatures are often seen in these patients.
Congenital spinal issues may lead to the development of lordotic irregularities. There is no such thing as a congenital lordotic abnormality, since the lordosis of the cervical and lumbar areas are not yet formed in a fetus or newborn.
Osteoporosis can compromise the integrity of the spinal column, causing abnormal and often degenerative curvature in the elderly.
Bad posture can cause excessive lordotic curvature in the neck or low back. Most of these conditions are easily rectified using posture therapy techniques.
Spondylolisthesis can directly cause abnormal lumbar curvature.
Significant lordotic curves are most often discovered by a physical exam. X-ray or spinal MRI imaging will usually be performed to determine the exact extent of the curvature.
MRI or CT scan will also show any possible evidence of neurological effects that the curve is producing.
The curvature is measured in degrees, the same as for an angle. The degree of the curvature, as well as the symptoms produced, will determine which type of lordosis therapy might be advisable.
Most atypical lordotic curves do not cause any discomfort or problematic health concerns. Therefore, most do not require any special treatment. Sometimes, the lordotic curvature is severe and may require conservative or drastic therapy. In these circumstances, the patient might experience nerve compression, also called a pinched nerve, limited range of motion, spinal stenosis or the overall loss of spinal integrity. If the curvature is obviously symptomatic or places the patient at risk for dire health effects, then treatment is prescribed.
Nonsurgical treatment is great when it is effective, but will almost never resolve any spinal issues which may be causing the lordosis to exist. However, these methods might provide relief from muscular spasms which may be the true underlying source of the increase curvature.
Some of the more commonly utilized conservative treatments include: pain management drugs, physical therapy and the use of a specialized back or neck brace.
Severe lordotic curves can cause serious health problems. Usually, the greater the lordotic change, the more symptoms the patient will experience, although this is surely not an absolute.
In extreme cases, surgery might be necessary to correct the abnormal curvature. There are several procedures used, with the determination made mostly by the causative condition enacting the exaggerated lordotic curve.
Spinal fusion is the most common form of corrective surgery indicated for extreme lordosis. In most lordosis-related fusions, fixative hardware is installed and left in place to resist further degeneration of the curvature over time. Obviously, these pieces of non-organic hardware are often the causes of many postoperative complications in fusion recipients.
Many mild and moderate lordotic curves are simply not at all symptomatic. They should always be be monitored by a doctor, just to be sure they do not progress to a dangerous degree. Many people have an abnormal lordotic curve and do not even know it. Unfortunately, some are diagnosed with this condition and then proceed to suffer symptoms. This is a classic example of the nocebo effect of the medical diagnosis.
Patients who have been diagnosed with lordosis should always learn the facts of the condition and completely understand the extent of their irregular curvatures. Each case must be evaluated individually since each case is unique in expression, treatment recommendation and prognosis.
Talk to your doctor about the severity of the curvature, as well as their recommendations for professional care. Once you know the facts, then you can make an informed decision on the best way to proceed forward with any lordosis treatment you may require.