It’s perfectly normal and natural for the human spine to have certain curves: for instance, the thoracic section has a kyphotic curve in that it moves outward. Moving in the opposite direction both the lumbar and neck sections bend inward in what’s known as a lordotic curve. However, when the lordotic curve is to sharp or severe, a condition known as lordosis occurs.

Whereas lordosis is normally found in the lumbar section of the spine, it can manifest as well in the cervical (neck) section. Many diseases and condition can lead to an individual being diagnosed with lordosis, including discitis, osteoporosis, hip dysplasia and a host of neuromuscular disorders. In addition, have bad posture or being overweight or obese can contribute to the condition, which is found in people of all ages.

To tell if a person is suffering from lordosis, the first place to begin is with their physical appearance. Someone with the condition will exhibit a “swayback” look accented by larger than normal buttocks. When lying down, their lower back will tilt inwards, creating a great deal of space between their back and the surface on which they’re lying. And lordosis is sometimes painful, and often complicated by issues with flexibility and mobility.

If a diagnosis of lordosis is suspected, a physician will likely do a physical exam to ascertain the degree to which the spine curves and whether or not treatment is necessary. While the patient is bending to one side and forward, spine alignment is observed, as is their range of motion. Additionally, with lordosis the curve may present as either flexible or fixed: if flexible, the condition is not serious and often no treatment will be needed. However if the curve is fixed some form of treatment will likely be required, and a follow x-ray can determine the extent of the treatment.

Treatment is dependent on how severe the curvature of the spine is and whether or not it is likely to progress. Simple treatment plans will include medication to help with inflammation, physical therapy to improve strength and mobility and, in some cases, bracing. But if the nerves around the affected area are being negatively impacted or if the curve is too extreme for conservative treatment methods, surgery can be used to correct the curve.