What is the definition of Lordosis?

Lordosis is the inward curve of the lumbar spine (just above the buttocks). A small degree of lordosis is normal. Too much curving is called swayback.

What are the alternative names for Lordosis?

Swayback; Arched back; Lordosis - lumbar

What are the causes for Lordosis?

Lordosis tends to make the buttocks appear more prominent. Children with hyperlordosis will have a large space underneath the lower back when lying face up on a hard surface.

Some children have marked lordosis, but, most often fixes itself as the child grows. This is called benign juvenile lordosis.

Spondylolisthesis may cause lordosis. In this condition, a bone (vertebra) in the spine slips out of the proper position onto the bone below it. You may be born with this. It can develop after certain sports activities, such as gymnastics. It may develop along with arthritis in the spine.

Much less common causes in children include:

  • Achondroplasia, a disorder of bone growth that causes the most common type of dwarfism
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Other genetic conditions


Most of the time, lordosis is not treated if the back is flexible. It is not likely to progress or cause problems.

When should I contact a medical professional for Lordosis?

Call your health care provider if you notice that your child has an exaggerated posture or a curve in the back. Your provider must check to see if there is a medical problem.


The provider will do a physical exam. To examine the spine, your child may have to bend forward, to the side, and to lie flat on a table. If the lordotic curve is flexible (when the child bends forward the curve reverses itself), it is generally not a concern. If the curve does not move, medical evaluation and treatment are needed.

Other tests may be needed, particularly if the curve seems "fixed" (not bendable). These may include:

  • Lumbosacral spine x-ray
  • Other tests to rule out disorders that could be causing the condition
  • MRI of the spine
  • Laboratory tests
Skeletal spine


Mistovich RJ, Spiegel DA. The spine. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 699.

Warner WC, Sawyer JR. Scoliosis and kyphosis. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 44.

  • Condition: Elderly Degenerative Lumbar Scoliosis (DLS) with Spinal Stenosis
  • Journal: BMC musculoskeletal disorders
  • Treatment Used: Percutaneous Transforaminal Endoscopic Decompression (PTED) vs. Short-Segment Fusion
  • Number of Patients: 54
  • Published —
This study compared percutaneous transforaminal endoscopic decompression (PTED) versus short-segment fusion for the treatment of older adults with mild degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) combined with spinal stenosis.
  • Condition: Flat Back Syndrome
  • Journal: International journal of environmental research and public health
  • Treatment Used: Exercise
  • Number of Patients: 36
  • Published —
The study research the effect of different types of exercise on patients with flat back syndrome.
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Radiation
  • Participants: 60
  • Start Date: September 2016
Open Access Database of Standing Full Body Radiographs in Asymptomatic Volunteers
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Device
  • Participants: 98
  • Start Date: August 7, 2018
Prevention of Scoliosis in Patients With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Using Portable Seat Device Devised to Maintain Lumbar Lordosis : 5 Year Follow up Study