Have you ever wondered about the curve of your lower back − what’s normal, or what role it plays in your health? Or maybe this is the first time you’ve given it any thought. In that case…
Place your hands over the small of your back. You’ll notice a hollow where it curves gently. This graceful curvature is created by the lumbar spine. The vertebrae and discs sit on top of one another; held together by ligaments, fascia, and muscles. This sweep is called the lumbar lordosis.
The lumbar lordosis is designed to help us remain upright, aligned and balanced. However, when this curve is excessive it’s called increased lumbar lordosis, which is commonly known as swayback.
Swayback can cause lower back pain. The greater the curve, the higher the risk of injury and discomfort. This happens because the compressive load forced through the facet joints and intervertebral discs increases too.
Long term, the physical strain associated with swayback can cause ongoing pain and reduced function. Treatment depends on how serious the curve is and how it happened.
The more common causes are:
weak core muscles
prolonged sitting and standing
obesity and pregnancy – the weight shift to the front causes a necessary adjustment of your spine to realign your centre of gravity.
Our chiropractors can provide expert assessment, advice, and tailored treatment. Specific exercises can strengthen your core, reduce pressure on the facet joints and improve your posture.
If you’re concerned about a possible increased lumbar lordosis, be sure to mention this to us. Early intervention can help prevent complications later.
The toe tap exercise helps to strengthen your abdominal muscles, while working your glutes, hips and legs.
1. Lie down on your back with your arms resting at your sides.
2. Bend your knees and lift your legs up one at a time until your shins are parallel to the floor. Keep your spine in a neutral position.
3. Tighten your abdominals. Slowly lower your right leg and tap your toe to the floor, keeping your knees bent and your left leg still. Ensure your back remains flat.
4. Return your right leg back to its starting position. Repeat with the left leg.
5. Start with one set of 8–12 taps on each side. Once you develop appropriate strength, progress to two sets.