Lordosis | Diagnosis & Treatments

How is lordosis diagnosed?

Your child’s doctor will conduct a full medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests to confirm lordosis. The medical history will include questions about any other close family members diagnosed with lordosis or other spine problems.

Diagnostic tests may include:

  • X-ray, a diagnostic test that uses electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs. Your child’s doctor will use the x-ray to determine the degree of your child’s spinal curvature.
  • CT or CAT scan (computerized tomography scan), a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body. CT scans show detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs and are more detailed than general x-rays.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
  • Bone scan, an imaging method used to determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation, evaluate changes in the joints, and detect bone diseases and tumors.
  • Blood tests are sometimes used to look for associated metabolic conditions. They are not a standard part of diagnosing lordosis, however.

How is lordosis treated?

In most cases, lordosis is not painful and does not cause mobility problems. Close monitoring, preferably by a spine specialist, will help detect and manage any progression of the curve. This is particularly important during growth spurts.

If your child’s lordosis is related to a condition such as spondylolysis, muscular dystrophy, or achondroplasia, their treatment may focus on the primary condition while also managing the symptoms of lordosis.

Depending on your child’s age, stage of growth, and the degree of their curve, their doctor may prescribe one or more of additional treatments.

  • Physical therapy, which uses exercise to reduce pain, improve physical function, and develop the muscles in the back so they can better support the spine.
  • Bracing, which can stabilize the back and prevent the spine from becoming more curved. Your child’s doctor may recommend bracing if their curve is growing or is greater than 30 degrees.
  • Spine surgery is only necessary for severe cases of lordosis.

What is the long-term outlook for children with lordosis?

With early detection, proper monitoring, and appropriate treatment, most children and adults with lordosis live full, active lives.