What is excessive lordosis?

If you have a deeper than normal curve in your lower back (lumbar spine), it is called excessive lordosis. Also known as ‘lumbar hyperlordosis’ or ‘hollow back’.

Swayback is similar and is sometimes confused with excessive lordosis. However, the shoulders and chest lean backwards on a person with swayback. This causes their chin and pelvis to thrust forward, which makes the curve in their lumbar spine look deeper.

The images below show the natural curve of the lumbar spine compared to a spine with excessive lordosis.

Excessive lordosis
Normal spine vs excessive lordosis

What causes excessive lordosis?

Several conditions can lead to excessive lordosis. Some of these include:

  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Poor posture
  • Spinal damage or other spinal conditions
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis

Issues for someone with excessive lordosis

Someone with excessive lordosis is likely to have the following issues:

  • Compressed spinal disks in the lumbar region
  • A pelvis that tilts forwards, forcing the abdomen and buttocks to stick out
  • Fatigued back and core muscles
  • Foot, back and/or neck pain
  • Tight hip flexors and back muscles 
  • Weak hamstring and lower abdominal muscles

If there are no structural reasons for the deep lumbar curve in the spine, yoga can help correct muscular issues and relieve pain. However, not all yoga or exercise is good for someone with excessive lordosis. If they perform exercises that aggravate it they could be at risk of rupturing a disk. Read on to find out which yoga poses can help and which ones to avoid.

What to avoid

If you have excessive lordosis, avoid poses or exercises that require lifting your sit bones when doing standing forward bends.

It is also important to avoid deep back bends, as these will only increase the curve in the lower spine. Examples of back bends include:

  • Sphinx
  • Cobra
  • Camel
  • Cow (Bidalasana)
  • Locust (Salabhasana)

Yoga poses to help

If you have excessive lordosis, or any other medical issue, be sure you check with your health professional before doing any form of exercise, including yoga.

The type of yoga poses that can help reduce excessive lordosis and any associated pain include:

  • Circle of Joy yoga sequence
  • Lunges – keep the back leg a little bent so that your spine remains straight
  • Child’s pose
  • Cat (not cow pose)
  • Hero
  • Boat
  • Hamstring stretches

Please contact me if you would like a personal yoga practice tailored to  help correct your spinal issues.

Summary

Yoga may help if you have excessive lordosis provided you:

  • Have a medical diagnosis and clearance first
  • Practice with a qualified yoga teacher or yoga therapist
  • Inform your yoga teacher or yoga therapist of your spinal condition
  • Avoid back bends
  • Practice yoga correctly
  • Spend more time standing or walking than sitting down each day

For an overview of the other natural curves of the spine read my previous post How Does the Spine Work?

I hope you have found this useful 🙂

Until next time, take care.

Namaste. Jan

Can Yoga help with excessive Lordosis?
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