Hyperlordosis

(Swayback; Saddle Back)

Definition

Lordosis is a normal inward curve in the lower back and neck. Hyperlordosis, or swayback, occurs when the angle of the inward curve is exaggerated. The sooner hyperlordosis is treated, the better the outcome.
Hyperlordosis
Lordosis
The shadowed spine to the left shows ideal lordosis.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The exact cause of hyperlordosis is often unknown.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of hyperlordosis include:
  • Achondroplasia —a genetic disorder that results in abnormal cartilage growth and dwarfism
  • Spondylolisthesis —displaced vertebrae of back
  • Neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy
  • Congenital abnormalities of the spine
  • Back surgery
  • Hip disorders
  • Poor posture
  • Abnormal vertebral bodies—more commonly found in children with hyperlordosis
  • Hyperkyphosis —an exaggerated outward curve of the thoracic spine
  • Osteoporosis
  • Disc problems
  • Obesity

Symptoms

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

Diagnosis

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 and move your back. Hyperlordosis can be seen during the exam. Some tests may be done to rule out or confirm other conditions that may be causing hyperlordosis.Your doctor may recommend imaging tests to see the spinal curve and the structures around it. These may include:

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