Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Lordosis

 

Definition

Lordosis is an increased curving of the spine.

Alternative Names

Swayback

Common Causes
  • Achondroplasia
  • Benign juvenile lordosis (not medically significant)
  • Spondylolisthesis
Home Care

If the back is flexible, lordosis is usually not treated and will not progress or cause problems.

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if you notice that your child has an exaggerated posture or a curve in the back. The condition should be evaluated to determine if there is a medical problem.

What to expect at your health care provider's office

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. The child may be asked to bend forward, to the side, and to lie flat on a table so that the spine can be examined in a variety of positions.

Questions about the child's medical history will be asked, including:

  • Time pattern
    • When did you first notice the excessive curve?
    • Is it getting worse or more noticeable?
    • Is it ever better or worse than when examined by the health care provider?
  • Quality
    • How would you describe the curve?
    • Does the amount of curve seem to change?
  • Symptoms
    • What other symptoms are also present?

In some cases, particularly if the curve seems "fixed" (not bendable), the following or other diagnostic tests may be recommended:

.

Considerations

The spine has three types of curves:

  • Kyphotic curves refer to the outward curve of the thoracic spine (at the level of the ribs).
  • Lordotic curves refer to the inward curve of the lumbar spine (just above the buttocks).
  • Scoliotic curving is a sideways curvature of the spine and is always abnormal.

A small degree of both kyphotic and lordotic curvature is normal. Too much kyphotic curving causes round shoulders or hunched shoulders (Scheuermann's disease).

Too much lordotic curving is called swayback (lordosis). Lordosis tends to make the buttocks appear more prominent. Children with significant lordosis will have a significant space beneath their lower back when lying on their back on a hard surface.

If the lordotic curve is flexible (when the child bends forward the curve reverses itself), it is generally not a concern. If the curve does not move, medical evaluation and treatment are needed.

References

Spiegel DA, Hosalkar HS, Dormans JP. The spine. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 678.


Review Date: 1/29/2010
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
MAIMONIDES
MEDICAL CENTER


Home Page
Why Choose Us
Donations
Website Terms of Use
PATIENT
INFORMATION


Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us
KEY
INFORMATION


Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking
FOR HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS


Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access
Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000    |