Back pain is something that has become a daily fact of life for many of us.
Desk jobs often feel like they come with a guarantee of back pain, and in a work from home world it’s harder than ever to make sure that you’re getting enough exercise and movement.
When you wake up with a sore and achy lower back it can be tempting to just accept it as a new part of your life, but you don’t have to.
At Capitol Physical Therapy we have you covered with treatment for lower back pain in Washington DC.
One potential cause of chronic lower back pain is a condition called hyperlordosis.
In this article we’re going to talk a little bit about what hyperlordosis is, what causes it, and how it can be managed using physical therapy.
What Is Hyperlordosis?
Hyperlordosis is a condition in which the curvature of the lower back becomes an exaggerated beyond normal curvature.
This area of the spine, just above the buttocks, is also referred to as the lumbar spine.
It generally has a gentle curve to it, but in the case of hyperlordosis this becomes a more extreme c-shape.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperlordosis?
The increased spinal curvature caused by hyperlordosis puts pressure on the spine and soft tissues in the lower back.
This can cause pain, stiffness, and tightness in the lower back.
The pain may worsen with movement.
Studies have shown that not everyone with hyperlordosis has back pain as a symptom.
But, if left untreated, hyperlordosis can cause lasting damage to the area of the spine that is affected.
One thing that differentiates hyperlordosis from other potential causes of back pain is an unusual sign of poor posture – a noticeable curve in the lower back.
This curve can cause the lower abdomen and buttocks to appear more pronounced from a side view.
What Causes Hyperlordosis?
Like many other types of back pain, there are a variety of factors that can lead to hyperlordosis.
The most common cause is poor posture, especially when combined with spending extended amounts of time in a seated position.
While sitting, the muscles in your lumbar are responsible for supporting your spinal column, but without the help of strong core muscles, the muscles in your back can over tighten and gradually pull the spine out of alignment over time.
Excess fat in the abdomen and buttocks, often resulting from obesity, can put pressure on the spine that causes it to bend, and increases the risk of hyperlordosis.
While sports and running injuries don’t generally contribute to hyperlordosis, a lack of exercise can be a contributing factor to this and other kinds of back pain.
The core muscles around your abdomen and pelvis help to support your spine, and if they’re weak it can lead to an increased risk of back pain or back injury.
In some cases, hyperlordosis can occur without any of these factors as a result of an underlying spinal problem.
Potential Complications From Hyperlordosis
While the link between the two needs further investigation, the pressure caused by increased spinal curvature on the discs in the spine may be enough to cause long term damage.
There are some symptoms that can accompany hyperlordosis but may indicate a more serious underlying problem.
If you’re experiencing muscle spasms, numbness or tingling in the back, arms, or legs, or loss of bowel or bladder control you should see a medical professional to determine the source of the symptoms so that you can treat them appropriately.
Physical Therapy Exercises For Hyperlordosis
Hyperlordosis can be caused by a lack of exercise or a lack of necessary strength in the muscles that support the lower back.
Even professional athletes can develop this due to the demands of their sports.
You might also consider taking up low impact activities that will build your strength and flexibility to support your back.
From home, integrating certain movements into your regular routine can help strengthen the necessary muscles and reduce your symptoms.
Just make sure that you remember to warm up before you start exercising in order to reduce your risk of injury.
Now, here are a few great exercises to consider for hyperlordosis.
1. Dead Bug
This exercise is good for stretching out your lower back as well as strengthening your core.
It can also help you get lower back pain relief.
To do it, lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, with your legs at about a 90 degree angle.
Pull your shoulders down, and lift your arms straight up, fists facing each other.
Next, lift your legs up so your knees are above your hips.
Keep them bent though, so your body creates a sort of zigzag shape.
Exhale, and lower your left arm straight down above your head, and right leg straight down.
Bring them down so they’re just above the ground.
Inhale, bring them back to the starting position, and lower the other two limbs.
2. Arm And Leg Raises
Arm and leg raises, also sometimes called bird dogs, strengthen the core, hips, and back to improve stability and posture.
They can be especially helpful if you’re also experiencing hip pain.
To do them you begin on your hands and knees, holding a neutral spine position.
From there you raise an arm and the opposite leg at the same time until they are in line with the spine, and lower them back to the starting position.
Because these are a one sided exercise it’s important to repeat the movement an equal number of times on each side to get the most out of it.
Squats work your hamstrings, glutes, and quads and help with balance and mobility as well as strengthening.
Squatting properly and engaging your legs is also key for lifting heavy objects without injury.
To begin a squat, start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms by your sides.
From this position, sit back, as though into an imaginary chair, and extend your arms in front of you.
Keep your knees and toes in line, without letting your knees come forward over your toes, and continue lowering yourself until your thighs are as parallel as possible to the floor.
To return to the starting position, push through your heels and return to standing.
4. Curl Ups
Curl ups are a common physical therapy exercise targeting your abdominal area.
They’re sort of a lighter version of a sit up.
Because a sit up tends to put more pressure on the spine, we tend to recommend curl ups instead for people with hyperlordosis.
To do it, lie down flat on your back, legs bent at a 90 degree angle, arms crossed over your chest, as though you were getting ready to do a sit up.
Next, lift your upper body using your abdominal muscles.
You want to go about halfway up.
Any further and you get into sit up territory, which again puts more pressure on your spine than we want.
5. Planks And Side Planks
Plank exercises are different from the others on this list because they work the core muscles through the use of holds for an extended time period (generally thirty seconds to one minute) rather than many repetitions of a movement.
A low plank hold begins with elbows and knees on the floor and the body a straight line between them.
To move up into the hold, tuck your toes and lift your knees to bring your body into a straight line.
Then, use your core muscles to keep your body straight for the duration of the hold, and make sure to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine.
High plank is similar to low plank but is held with weight on your hands instead of forearms, like the position before starting a push up.
Side plank begins lying on one side with legs extended straight.
The hold is reached by pushing through the shoulder with one forearm on the ground until your body forms a straight line from head to toe.
Like arm and leg raises, this exercise needs to be repeated on both sides.
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
Back pain can be frustrating and takes a toll both physically and emotionally over time.
Recovering from back pain can take time and consistency, so it’s important to stick to your treatment plan.
Like any other health challenge, solving the problem is a journey.
Here and Capitol Physical Therapy, we provide physical therapy in DC and want to help you get back to being as comfortable and pain free as possible.
If you’re in the DC area, consult with one of our therapists to start on your journey to pain free movement.
Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC