arched back

Arched Back (Hyperlordosis) – Causes & How To Fix It


Hyperlordosis is the medical term for an arched back. This happens when the lower back is curved too much, resulting in pain due to a herniated disc or other spinal injury. Hyperlordosis is a long-term result of poor posture, obesity, spinal conditions and lack of exercise.

What Causes Hyperlordosis (Arched Back)?

hyperlordosis
An image showing a normal spine compared to a hyperlordotic spine

When the spine arches, the muscles in the back and core are additionally strained. Your muscles get out of balance, become tense and weak. This can affect gait and balance. This in turn can contribute to back pain.


You can easily see hyperlordosis (arched back) when you stand with your back against a wall. Keep your legs shoulder-width apart and your heels about 2 cm from the wall. If there is more than a hand distance between the wall and the back, then you could possibly have hyperlordosis. It is characterised as an exaggerated curvature in the lower back, causing your stomach to be pushed forward and your buttocks is thrusted outwards. From your profile view, the lower back region may be a prominent ‘C’ shape.

In pregnant women, a study in 2007 showed that hyperlordosis is a way for the female spine to adjust to the extra weight of a baby. It is also associated with stress fractures of the vertebrae. Poor posture is also a common cause of this condition.

Other factors that may contribute to lordosis include:

  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • weak core muscles
  • wearing high heels for long periods of time
  • spinal injuries
  • intervertebral disc problems
  • diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis
  • neuromuscular diseases such as cerebral palsy
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • lack of exercise

Hyperlordosis (Arched Back) Diagnosis

If hyperlordosis is related to a structural problem of the spine, a referral to a physiotherapist or back specialist may be necessary. A doctor may begin by prescribing painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the painful symptoms of the condition. Long-term treatment depends on the cause of the arched back.

It can be difficult to diagnose hyperlordosis (arched back) because the natural curvature of the lower spine in the lumbar spine varies widely per person. X-rays can help measure the spine curvature, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT).

How To Fix An Arched Back

To fix an arched back, many different exercises are available depending on age and fitness. Your doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist. They can give you a series of exercises you can do on your own to improve your posture. Yoga or chair yoga can also be a good choice. The most important thing is to develop a training routine that you can stick to.

If obesity is a factor, doctors are likely to come up with a weight-loss plan. This can include physical therapy, exercises and stretching to strengthen the core muscles and improve posture.

Underneath you can find exercises to fix an arched back:

Exercise 1 For Arched Back | Sit-Ups

  • Lay on a flat surface with you back to the ground.
  • Bend your knees parallel to the floor.
  • Keep feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your arms on your chest and raise your upper body to your thighs.
  • Slowly lower your body to the ground.
  • Repeat this exercise to strengthen your abdominals and back.
exercise for arched back situp

Exercise 2 For Arched Back | The Superman

  • Lay flat on an even floor surface on your stomach.
  • Stretch your arms out in front of you.
  • At the same time, raise your legs, arms and chest off of the floor.
  • Hold this pose for a few seconds (increase with practice).
  • Release back to the ground.
  • Repeat this exercise to strengthen your back.
superman exercise

Exercise 3 For Arched Back | Opposite Arm And Leg Raises

  • Kneel on the floor on all fours with palms flat on the floor.
  • Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your hips above your knees.
  • At the same time, lift one arm with the opposite leg parallel to your spine and the floor.
  • Repeat the other side.
arm leg raise

Exercise 4 For Arched Back | Squats

  • Stand with your feet about a shoulder width apart.
  • Lower your body into a seating position, until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Avoid lowering your bottom lower than your knees (keep at a right angle).
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Raise your body and repeat.
squat

Exercise 5 For Arched Back | Reverse Plank

  • Raise your body at a 45 degree angle.
  • Hold for a few seconds.
  • Your arms can be extending with your palms facing inward, or you can raise yourself on your elbows.
  • Looking up to the sky, tighten your bottom muscles, back and abdominals to support yourself.
  • Gently lower yourself and repeat to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles.
reverse plank

Exercise 6 For Arched Back | Regular Plank

  • This can be done on your elbows or with your arms extended.
  • Keep your arms parallel with your shoulders.
  • Keep legs a shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Hold your plank for as long as you can, while tightening your abdominal, back and gluteal muscles.
plank

Exercise 7 For Arched Back | Bridge

  • Keeping your feet and knees a hip distance apart, lay on your back.
  • Stretch you arms out beside you with palms flat, and feet flat.
  • Tightening your gluteal and abdominal muscles, raise your hips.
  • Aim to keep your spine straight.
  • Hold the position for as long as you like, and gently lower to the ground.
  • This exercise is great for strengthening your lower back and gluteal muscles.
hip bridge

How To Prevent An Arched Back

You should also be aware of how to maintain a good posture when sitting, standing and doing activities. A simple postural exercise that does not require equipment is moving your shoulders away from your ears while pushing your back straight. You can also stretch your arms to the sides at shoulder height and roll them up in small circles. Speak to your physical therapist for more exercises within your abilities.

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