Lordosis is an inward curve of the lumbar spine (just above the butt)- when the pelvis tilts too far forward. A small degree of lordosis is normal, but an excessive curve may cause problems over time. Too much curving is known as swayback and tends to make the butt appear bigger. One test for lordosis is lying on your back on a flat surface and seeing if there is a large gap or arch between your lower back and the flat surface.
Lordosis of the lower back can be associated with pain and can worsen over time if no treatment or exercises are done to help correct the curvature. Severe lordosis may also be associated with sciatica.
Now, it's possible to put yourself into a lordotic lumbar position for a temporary time for example sitting on a chair or standing and purposefully tilting your pelvis which can cause pain. This doesn’t mean that you have a structural issue but it is still important to keep good spinal health.
There are many causes and risk factors of lordosis here are the most common:
1- Traumatic lordosis which is caused by an injury to the spine (a fracture).
2- Postural lordosis which is caused by uneven posture- being overweight or weakness in the abdominal muscles.
3- Neuromuscular lordosis- caused by muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
4- Pregnancy - either during or after being pregnant. As the centre of gravity moves towards the abdomen whilst pregnant resulting in a posterior tilt of the sacrum and increases the lumbar curve.
5- Sitting for excessive amounts of time can lead to shortening of anterior muscles around the hip and surrounding musculature whilst posterior muscles lengthen.
While there aren’t guidelines of preventing lordosis, you can perform exercises to maintain good posture and spine health for lordosis of the back.
1. Cat Cow pose, keeping the elbows straight and contracting your core whilst in both positions. Perform 10 reps.
2. Standing or seated pelvic tilts. Perform 15-20 reps.
3. Glute bridge raises with a Kegel contraction, perform 15 reps.
4. Supine Toe taps. Either single or double leg, thinking of pulling the belly button into the floor. Keep your back pulling into the floor so no arch appears. Perform 6-10 reps each leg.
5. Hip flexor stretches- in a 90 degree lunge, tucking the pelvis under and squeezing the glutes and pushing the hips forward. Hold this for 20-30 seconds. Then reach the arms overhead and continue to contract the glutes and push forward not letting the pelvis tilt forwards. Hold this for a further 20-30 seconds. If this is easy you can go to a wall and perform the Couch Stretch for 20-30 seconds x 2 each side.
6. Rolling out the quadriceps and hip flexors with a roller for 2-3 minutes each leg.