Lordosis

Lordosis

What is lordosis?

A normal spine, when viewed from behind appears straight. However, a spine affected by lordosis shows evidence of a curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the lower back area, giving the child a "swayback" appearance.

Illustration of a child with lordosis
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What causes lordosis?

The cause of lordosis has been linked to achondroplasia and spondylolisthesis. However, lordosis may be associated with poor posture, a congenital (present at birth) problem with the vertebrae, neuromuscular problems, back surgery, pelvis, or a hip problem.

What are the symptoms of lordosis?

Each child may experience symptoms differently. The major clinical feature of lordosis is a prominence of the buttocks. Symptoms will vary depending if lordosis occurs with other defects, such as muscular dystrophy, developmental dysplasia of the hip, or neuromuscular disorders.

Back pain, pain down the legs, and changes in bowel and bladder habits are not commonly associated with lordosis. A child experiencing these types of symptoms requires immediate medical evaluation by a physician.

The symptoms of lordosis may resemble other spinal conditions or deformities, or may be a result of an injury or infection. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How is lordosis diagnosed?

The physician makes the diagnosis of lordosis with a complete medical history of the child, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. Your child's physician obtains a complete prenatal and birth history of the child and asks if other family members are known to have lordosis.

Diagnostic procedures may include:

Early detection of lordosis is important for successful treatment. Pediatricians or family physicians, and even some school programs, routinely look for signs that lordosis may be present.

What is the treatment for lordosis?

Specific treatment for lordosis will be determined by your child's physician based on:

The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of the curve and minimize deformity. Management of lordosis will depend upon the cause of the lordosis. Simple exercises may be sufficient if lordosis is associated with poor posture. However, lordosis occurring as a result of a hip problem may be treated as a part of the hip problem.

What is the long-term outlook for a child with lordosis?

The management of lordosis is individualized for each child depending on his or her age, amount of curvature, and amount of skeletal growth remaining. Lordosis will require frequent examinations by your child's physician to monitor the curve as your child grows and develops. Early detection is important.

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