The spine’s natural curves make it stronger, more flexible, and able to absorb/distribute stress. Spine health and function are dependent on maintaining healthy curves and alignment. There are many spinal conditions that result in the loss of the spine’s healthy curves such as straightening of the lumbar lordosis. Learn more about Lumbar Lordosis, what is it, what symptoms to look for, and the treatments that will help you!
There are two types of normal curvature for the spine: kyphosis and lordosis. Kyphosis refers in part to an outward curve of the spine that occurs in the middle back. Lordosis, on the other hand, is an inward curve of the spine that occurs in the neck and lower back. Flatback syndrome can be caused by a straightening of lumbar Lordosis. This is when the spine loses its natural healthy curve in the lower back.
Let’s examine some of the basic anatomy and types of spinal curvature to better understand the effects that a straightening in the lumbar lordosis can have on the spine.
Healthy spines will look soft and slender from the sides but will appear straight from the front and back. This is due to the two types of natural curves the spine has: one that curves inward towards the center of the body and one that curves away from it.
There are three major sections to the spine: cervical (neck), middle/upper back, and lumbar. Each section has a different curvature type.
The neck and lumbar spine have lordotic curves that curve inward towards the body’s center, while the thoracic curve has a kyphotic curvature that curves outwards away from the body.
Maintaining a healthy and natural curvature of the spine can have a significant impact on the health and function, as well as biomechanics, of the entire spine.
The vertebrae, or bones of the spine, are rectangular in shape. They are stacked on top of one another in a straight line and separated by intervertebral disks. If the spine becomes misaligned it can be due to a number of spinal conditions.
Although this may seem confusing, doctors often use the term “lordosis” to refer to both the natural curvature type and the unnatural curvature type. This is usually associated with an underlying condition like discitis or kyphosis or osteoporosis.
A person diagnosed with straightening of their lumbar lordosis means that their lower back has lost some natural inward curvature. This can lead to flatback syndrome.
The spinal curves must be in balance to allow people to have a balanced posture and gait. This allows them to move at a more economical pace.
If the spinal curves and spine are aligned and balanced, the gravity line of a person naturally falls through their head, cervical spine (neck), and behind the pelvis. It also passes through the middle of the hips. This natural gravity line cannot be maintained if the spine’s curves are in place and balanced. If that balance is disturbed, the body’s center gravity shifts.
The spine can lose its natural lordosis in its lumbar spine and become unusually straight. This affects not only the lumbar area of the spine but all curvatures as well. It disrupts the overall biomechanics. Additionally, if the spine loses a healthy curve it can put in compensatory curves to correct it. This can further disrupt the spinal alignment.
Every case is unique and each patient has their own set of symptoms. However, there are some common signs of flatback syndrome and straightening of the lumbar lordosis.
While every case is unique, the symptoms are similar in that they tend to worsen throughout the day, as the body tries to compensate for an uneconomical gait and posture.
Flatback syndrome patients may flex their hips and knees to maintain an upright posture. This can be quite distressing.
People can also feel neck and upper back pain due to the unbalanced forces caused by the loss of lumbar lordosis.
These symptoms can be mild or severe. If a condition is severe enough, it can lead to flatback syndrome, which can make it difficult for you to manage your daily tasks and responsibilities.
Now that we have an understanding of the anatomy and the various curvatures, as well as the symptoms you can expect from a straightening lumbar lordosis – what are the options for treatment?
Clarendon chiropractor, my experience includes treating many spinal conditions including flatback syndrome and lordosis.
Through a functional and chiropractic-centered approach that integrates different treatment disciplines for the most customized and specific results, the first step on the road to treatment involves diagnosis and assessment.
As previously mentioned, straightening the lumbar spine can be associated with an underlying condition. This must first be identified and guided in the development of effective treatment plans.
A thorough physical exam would include a complete medical history including any spinal surgery or genetic predispositions. Also, monitor patients’ postures and take digital photographs of them using software to analyze their postures. All necessary X-rays will be taken. These images give important information about the effect of abnormal curves on overall spinal mechanics.
Although no treatment is perfect, I can tailor a treatment plan to address important characteristics of the patient or condition. I integrate precise and gentle chiropractic remodeling/adjustments, using a variety of techniques, in an effort to realign the spine, condition-specific exercises, and in-office rehabilitation to work towards the restoration of normal spinal mechanics.
The condition can be improved on a structural level by reducing unnatural spinal curves and restoring most of the healthy curves. This improves the spine’s overall biomechanics. Symptoms such as leg, back, hip, and leg pain can also be reduced.
Any treatment that improves the biomechanics of the spine is proactive. It helps to preserve the health and functionality of each part of the spine, which in turn prevents severe conditions from getting worse and improves overall spinal health.
Although relying only on one of the above treatment options may not be effective in restoring lumbar lordosis loss, an integrative approach can induce structural changes and stretch the lower back’s extensor muscle to keep the spine flexible and free. This makes it more responsive to treatment.
The loss of one or more natural and healthy curvatures in the spine can cause a disruption to the whole spine. To simplify the term and answer the question: What is straightening the lumbar? The lumbar is the lower back. A straightening of its lordosis is when there is a loss in that section’s natural C-shaped curve.
The curvatures of the cervical and lumbar spines are lordotic. However, the thoracic curve has a kyphotic curvature, which is an outward curve that forms a reverse “C” shape. There are normal and natural curvature-degree levels. However, problems can arise if the curvature is too or too severe.
Flatback syndrome is a condition where the lumbar spine loses its alignment and becomes unnaturally straight. It can lead to a variety of symptoms, including postural changes, pain, gait changes, balance problems, and changes in gait. The key to addressing the problem of loss of lumbar lordosis is proactive diagnosis and treatment.
Once you have identified the root cause, you can create a customized treatment plan that is effective. Clarendon Chiropractic evaluates and treats the entire spine to ensure its health and function throughout the treatment.
By combining different treatment modalities such as gentle and targeted chiropractic adjustments, condition-specific exercises, and in-office rehabilitation, we work towards restoring as much of the spine’s natural curves as possible, increasing abdominal and back-muscle strength so the spine is optimally supported, and keeping the spine and its surroundings as loose and flexible as possible.