In this article I want to talk about an important topic regarding the world of back pain and its consequences. That so important to which I refer, is nothing other than the curve that we observe in the lower back , popularly known as curvature of the lower back or lumbar curvature and technically as lumbar lordosis. My objective, therefore, is to highlight the relationship that the loss of lumbar curvature has with the most important back problems today.
What is lumbar curvature or lumbar lordosis?
Our back, as we all know, is made up of a series of segments called vertebrae, these segments join together to form a single unit called the spinal column, but this important and famous bone structure is not rectilinear, it is made up of a series of curves (lordosis and kyphosis) that play a fundamental role in efficiently supporting daily body weight. With age, stress, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle. these curves tend to be lost or even inverted, generating lumbar rectification or loss of lumbar lordotic curvature, low lumbar hyperlordosis (also known as a “hollowback” or “swayback). in this case it is a compensation in the last vertebral segment in which is increased that physiological lordosis of the lumbar spine.
This generates a poor adaptation in weight distribution and efficiency when moving and supporting loads, which in the long run, as we will see in the article, will weaken and cause back problems (disc dehydration, disc protrusions, herniations, facet arthrosis… among others).
What types of curvatures do we have in the lumbar spine?
- Normal lordosis: as observed, the individual has normal physiological curves in the back (it should be noted that within normality there are also small asymptomatic deviations, which do not cause pain, so they cannot be described as potentially pathological).
- Hyper-lordosis: in this case the curves of the spine are increased. As shown in the infographic, the individual has more accentuated curves of the spine.
- Lumbar rectification: in this case there is a loss of normal curvature and the physiological curves are rectified.
- Inversion: it is an evolution of the rectification of the lumbar curve.
Why is lumbar lordosis so important to avoid back problems?
With a correct lumbar curvature or lordosis, the weight does not fall directly on the intervertebral discs. In this case, the lumbar paravertebral muscles are more toned and predisposed to assume a large part of the body’s weight. In addition, in this case, the weight is distributed more evenly over the vertebrae, keeping the intervertebral disc healthy and hydrated.
It is known, through different studies, that the discs support up to 4 times more pressure when there is not a correct lumbar lordosis. The so-called rectification of the lumbar curvature or loss of physiological lordosis occurs.
As you can imagine, when we lose the physiological curves of our back or lordosis, the weight falls vertically downwards, piling the pressure directly on the vertebrae and causing the latter to take responsibility for all the weight of the others (for this reason, the discs of the last lumbar vertebrae are the ones that give more pathology).
Therefore, it must be the obsession of all physiotherapists to maintain, promote, and recover, in case of loss, this lordosis as important as the lumbar curvature.
Why do we lose the lordosis or lordotic curvature of the back so easily?
The lordosis and kyphosis (curves of our back) are physiological (we are born with them) and are synonymous with dynamic health and flexibility. Throughout life as we age we have a natural tendency to lose those lordosis tending to reverse, so it is important to do daily work to maintain the good configuration of our blade.
There are several factors that make us lose the curves of our back. I will mention the most important:
- Sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical exercise and dynamism: the curves of our back are synonymous with dynamism, mobility, flexibility and ultimately health. Today’s society makes us sit too long. Since we are children, at school, with video games, on the computer to adults, at university, at work. we live in a society that is less and less dynamic and active since we do not have to walk long distances as to yesteryear. All this makes us lose the physiological curves of our body.
- The excess of stress and the accumulation of fatigue makes us lose curvature, especially lumbar: as you know, physical and especially mental stress, make us lose energy and vitality, this loss of energy directly affects our body posture, with the step weather.
- Emotional affectation such as sadness, feeling of failure, discouragement: these negative emotions make us hang our heads with a “defeated posture” that ultimately causes the body to acquire a posture of decay that ends up affecting the curvatures of our back.
- Therefore, dynamism, exercise and physical activity are synonymous with back health and maintenance of the curves of the back and, in turn, the affected intervertebral discs.
How to squat correctly, and what should be the position of the lumbar curve?
The squat or “squat” is a very common exercise if you go to the gym or do some training, but its execution requires the maintenance of the lumbar lordosis since, as mentioned above, the flattening of the lordosis is a posture that increases the pressure on the intervertebral discs, and even more so when the loads are increased in the gym, it is not suitable neither while remaining static, such as sitting, nor when performing a movement/exercise, that is to say dynamic, such as the squat or a life activity daily.
How to do a squat correctly?
In this video I explain how to do a squat correctly, how far to go down and how to maintain the lordosis:
What can we do to gain lumbar curvature or maintain lordosis?
There are multiple specific exercises, both stretching and strengthening, to maintain and gain lumbar curvature, without generating a hyperlordosis that is also not ideal for the health of our back, which can be very effective to recover and promote good joint mechanism. spinal. Physiotherapists can unblock the vertebrae and relax the spinal muscles to promote flexibility and progressive recovery of spinal curvatures, but without a doubt the most important and simple advice of all is to perform regular daily physical exercise.
Specific exercises to increase lumbar lordosis
In this video you can see an excellent exercise, as well as effective, which will serve to increase the curvature of the lumbar area of your back:
In conclusion, comment that lumbar rectification (loss of lumbar curvature) and hyperlordosis (increase in lumbar curvature) are, without a doubt, one of the most important factors in the deterioration of our spine, since a perfect dysfunctional mechanism is established so that over the years, if we do nothing to remedy this loss, they end up generating multiple lumbar problems such as protrusions, herniated discs and others. as well as hyperlordosis, which is why, if in doubt, consult a Physiotherapist.