432313 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Lordosis

    (Swayback; Saddle Back)


    Lordosis is a curving of the lower back. A certain degree of normal lordosis occurs in the lumbar and cervical spine. This topic refers to abnormal lordosis of the lumbar spine. People with lordosis look like they are arching their lower back and sticking their buttocks out. It can occur in people of all ages.
    Excess Lordosis
    The shadowed spine to the left shows ideal lordosis.
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    The sooner lordosis is treated, the better the outcome. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor.


    The exact cause of lordosis is often unknown.

    Risk Factors

    These factors increase your chance of developing lordosis:


    Often times there are no symptoms with lordosis. Depending on the degree of abnormal curving, you may experience back pain.


    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. During the physical, your doctor may ask you to bend your back and move your back. You may also be asked to see a specialist in spine disorders.
    Your doctor may need images of your spine. This can be done with an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan.


    For mild cases of lordosis, treatment is often not necessary. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Options include the following:

    Physical Therapy

    Your doctor may refer you to a therapist to learn specific exercises. Exercises may be used to strengthen muscles and increase range of motion. You may also be taught how to maintain a correct posture.


    Medicines such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be given for discomfort or to decrease swelling.
    Medicines such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be given for discomfort or to decrease swelling.

    Back Brace

    Braces are sometimes used with children. The brace can make sure the curve doesn’t worsen as they grow.


    Surgery is reserved for severe cases. The spine is straightened by using a metal rod, hooks, or screws in the back bones. Surgeons also use a bone graft to promote new growth and stability.


    There are no known guidelines to prevent the development of lordosis.


    American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org/

    North American Spine Society http://www.spine.org


    Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org/

    Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org/


    Lordosis. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1095/mainpageS1095P0.html . Accessed January 2, 2013.

    Lordosis. Seattle Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://orthopedics.seattlechildrens.org/conditions%5Ftreated/lordosis.asp . Accessed January 2, 2013.

    Swayback (Lordosis). Cedars Sinai Health System website. Available at: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/5725.html . Accessed January 2, 2013.

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