kyphosis & lordosis

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LordosisLordosis, also known asswayback, is a condition in which the spine in the lower back has an excessive curvature. This can lead to excess pressure on the spine, causing pain.People with lordosis often have a visible arch in their lower backs. When looking at them from the side, their lower backs form a defined C shape. In addition, people with swayback appear to be sticking out their stomachs and buttocks.The easiest way to check for lordosis is to lie on your back on a hard surface. You should be able to slide your hand under your lower back, with little space to spare. If you have lordosis, you will have extra space between your hand and your low back.

Common Causes of LordosisOften, lordosis appears in childhood without any known cause. This is called benign juvenile lordosis. However, lordosis can affect people of any age.

Other potential causes of lordosis include:

poor postureobesityosteoporosis (weakening of the bones with age)discitis (a disorder of the disks between the spinal vertebrae)kyphosis (an excessive outward curvature at the mid-back)spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward or backward relative to the next vertabra)achondroplasia (a form of dwarfism)When to Seek Treatment for LordosisIf the lordotic curve corrects itself when you bend forward (i.e. the curve is flexible), you do not need to seek treatment. However, if you bend over and the lordotic curve remains (i.e. the curve is not flexible), you should seek treatment.

In addition, you should seek treatment if you experience any of the following:

painmuscle spasmstingling or numbnessbladder or bowel difficultiesMuch of our flexibility, mobility, and activity depend on the health of the spine. Getting treatment to help correct the curvature can help prevent complications later in life, such as arthritis and chronic back pain.Treating LordosisTreatment for lordosis will depend on the severity of the curvature and the presence of other symptoms.

Treatment options include:

medication to reduce pain and swellingphysical therapy (to help build strength in the core muscles)yoga (to increase body awareness, strength, flexibility, and range of motion)weight lossbraces (in children and teens)surgery (in severe cases)KYPHOSISThe thoracic spine (upper back) has a normal outward curvature that is medically referred to as kyphosis or the "kyphotic" curve by which the spine is bent forward.

What are the symptoms of kyphosis?poor posture with a hump appearance of the back or "hunchback." Symptoms may include :back pain,muscle fatiguestiffness in the back.

The kyphosis can progress, causing a more exaggerated hunchback. In rare cases, this can lead to: compression of the spinal cord with neurologic symptoms including weaknessloss of sensation, or loss of bowel and bladder control. chest pain or shortness of breath with eventual pulmonary and/or heart failure.

3 main types of KyphosisPostural kyphosis is the most common type of kyphosis. These patients can have symptoms of pain and muscle fatigue. This type of kyphosis does not lead to a severe curve, and there is little risk of neurologic, cardiac, or pulmonary problems.

Scheuermann's kyphosis (wedged-shaped vertebrae) This type of kyphosis is the result of a structural deformity of the vertebrae.

Congenital kyphosis is the least common type of abnormal kyphosis. This is caused by an abnormal development of the vertebrae during development prior to birthWhat tests is your physician likely to obtain?Your doctor will likely begin by obtaining your :medical history, including when you first noticed your symptoms, any history of family members with similar problems, and other history of back or neck problems. A physical examination will then be performed. This will assess the curve of your spine both standing upright and while bending forward. Your strength, sensation, reflexes, and flexibility in your arms and legs will also be tested.

X-rays of your spine. This can help differentiate postural kyphosis (normal shaped vertebrae) from Scheuermann's kyphosis (wedged-shaped vertebrae). If your doctor finds any evidence of neurologic injury, you may also obtain an MRI of your spine. This can identify any compression of the spinal cord or nerves. If you have any chest pain or shortness of breath, your physician may order additional tests to evaluate your heart and lungs.How is abnormal kyphosis treated?Postural kyphosis can usually be treated with: physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles of your back and correct your posture. Mild pain relievers and antiinflammatory medications can also help with symptoms.

Scheuermann's kyphosis is usually initially treated with: a combination of physical-therapy exercises and mild pain and antiinflammatory medications. Braces are often recommended for curves of at least 45 degrees and can be continued until the patient is no longer growing.

Treatment of congenital kyphosis often involves: surgery while the patient is an infant. This is because the kyphosis is caused by an abnormality in the developing vertebrae. Surgery earlier in life can help correct the kyphosis before it continues to worsen.What are the potential complications of surgery for kyphosis?The most common complications from surgery for kyphosis include: Infectionfailure of the bones to heal (failure of fusion, also known as pseudoarthrosis).

Other more serious complications are much less common, including :injury to the nerves or blood vesselscomplications related to anesthesia,blood clots in lower extremities or lungs.How can I prevent kyphosis?

Scheuermann's and congenital kyphosis are both the result of a structural problem with the vertebrae. As a result, there is nothing that can be done to prevent these types of kyphosis.

Bracings and exercises can help slow the progression of Scheuermann's kyphosis.

Postural kyphosis can be prevented or lessened by physical therapy and exercises to strengthen the back muscles.

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